The Ayer Mills Clock as a Landmark to the Industrial Revolution

Home Education Landmark Lesson The Ayer Mills Clock as a Landmark to the Industrial Revolution

The Ayer Mills Clock as a Landmark to the Industrial Revolution

This lesson uses a local landmark, the clock tower, to help students use history as a lens for understanding national movements.  Not only does it expand student understanding of the Industrial Revolution but it connects the this history to civics curriculum as well.  


Lawrence , MA

Type of Landmark



Civil Rights

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to define a landmark through a series of activities by digging in deep to what the Ayer Mill Clock stood for and what it represents to the community today.
  • Students will successfully apply their prior knowledge about the Industrial Revolution and the US’ Founding documents to other historical events by learning about the significance of the Ayer Mill Clock and connect it to what they have learned in prior units.
  • Students will analyze primary and secondary resources and derive meaning from them by examining pictures, drawings, photographs, journals, articles, and an obituary.

Suggested Instructional Procedures

All of the instruction procedures, materials, and links to documents are contained within the worksheets linked below.

Ayer Mill Clock Landmark Pre-assessment Activity

Secondary Resources about the Ayer Mills Clock Tower

Ayer Mills Clock through the Years (including primary resources)

Making Sense of this Landmark

Supplemental Resources

Connection of the landmark and the Industrial Revlution to foundational principles embedded within the founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the US Constitution.


Industrial Revolution: A major change in society and economy brought on by the emergence of manufactory in the U.S. the late 1700s and 1800s.

Immigration: The act of moving from one country to another, with the intention of staying in the new country.

Mills: An early term to describe factories, usually those using water power.

Mill Girls: Women who worked in the early factories of Massachusetts.

Preamble: The introduction to a document.

US Constitution: The guiding document of the United States government.

Bill Of Rights: The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known for guaranteeing essential civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Amendment: A change in a document, usually considered a permanent change.

Landmark: A distinguishing feature within a landscape.

Industrialization: The process of a society moving from a predominantly agricultural economy to a predominantly industrial one.

Ancestors: People who were alive before the people of the current generation.

Primary vs. Secondary Resources: Primary sources are accounts of the event by people who experienced an event of the past, and secondary sources are people who did not experience the event in question, attempting to interpret its significance.

Lawrence and Lowell:  Mill cities in Massachusetts

Obituary: An notification that a local person who was a part of the community died.

Backstory: The experiences a person has that defines them and their character.

Historian: A person who interprets the past using primary source evidence to resolve research questions they may have.

Water Wheel: Turbine in the Harnessing of Water Power