Lesson Plans:
Cottage Industries

A lesson for Grade 8 Career and Technical Education.
Related subjects: Social Studies, Language Arts, Math

Learning outcomes:

  1. Students will identify the types of craft-related cottage industries that spawned in the rural western North Carolina mountains during the period 1895 – 1945.
  2. Students will evaluate the economic impact of cottage industries on the daily life of people in the rural western North Carolina mountains during those years.
  3. Students will compare cottage industries of the past with the present.
  4. Students will explore entrepreneurship possibilities for themselves as a future career or sideline.
  5. Throughout the lesson, students will use reading and writing skills, and math will be incorporated in price comparisons and the business plan.

Teacher Planning:

Time required for lesson:

  • This lesson can be completed in one week with a class session each day.
  • Teacher preparation time will include time to examine the Craft Revival website
    and gather information from other sources about Cottage Industries (Allanstand, Frances Goodrich).
  • The teacher may want to also gather information about community resources, such as local individuals who are involved in cottage industries.

Technology Resources:

Computer and internet access, preferably for the entire class, but at the minimum for the teacher to prepare the lesson. If the teacher does not have the computer, projector and internet in the classroom, a computer lab will suffice. If technology resources are not available, the teacher could do the preparation and share with the students via printed copies, some of which can be obtained from the Folk Art Center or the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.


General Information about Cottage Industries can be obtained through:

  • Books and encyclopedias (see bibliography)
  • Printed information from the Southern Highland Craft Guild
  • A guest speaker who has a cottage industry in the local community
  • An internet search - A Google search, for example, results in links to Wikipedia which contains definitions, explanations, and a brief history of Cottage Industries.  A student could also search through encyclopedias in the library or the classroom.
  • Student notebooks or journals, for the students to record information, questions and ideas throughout the lesson.

If available, samples of craft objects.


  1. Teacher establishes background information to set the context on the time period and the region of the Craft Revival movement in western North Carolina.
  2. Teacher asks children to talk to their families and community members about crafts that are being made today and that may have been done in the past.

Activities & Procedures:

Teacher will activate students’ prior knowledge:

  1. Have each child make his/her own chart and jot down answers to “What I know about cottage industries and crafts”
  2. Have a class discussion and fill in a class chart with student responses.
  3. Follow the same procedure for the second part of the chart: “What I want to know about cottage industries and crafts.”

Teacher will present information on:

  1. Explanation and class discussion of cottage industry and how it compares with a small business and current day entrepreneur.
  2. Two crafts that were part of the revival movement, for example, focusing on weaving and basketmaking, depending on what crafts are being made in the community.
  3. The economic impact of the craft revival movement and the types of cottage industries that were operating during the revival movement.

Student Products and Basis for Grade:

  1. Students will record information, ideas and questions in their notebook or journal. (30%)
  2. Students will compare prices for wool, cotton, and shipping from the Allanstand Cottage Industries booklet on the Craft Revival website to today’s prices. (20%)
  3. Students will write a plan for starting a cottage industry of their own. They may do this individually or in a group of two or three students. The plan should include possible rewards and risks of entering into such a business venture. (30%)
  4. Test (20%) (see below)


Student products (above) will be evaluated through self-assessment and teacher evaluation. A final test will be given to assess student knowledge and comprehension (Bloom’s taxonomy) about Cottage Industry and the craft revival movement.


Although this lesson is designed for 8th grade Career and Technical Education, it can be adapted to other subjects and grades. It can also be adapted by a senior high school student who has an interest in Cottage Industries for a senior project.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment:

This topic can be explored in the Career & Technical Education Curriculum in the course: Business/Entrepreneurship, Course Number: 6235

This course introduces students to the rewards and risks of owning or operating a business enterprise. Emphasis is placed on the mastery of skills needed to plan, organize, manage, and finance a small business. Skills in communication, technical writing, mathematics, research, and problem-solving are reinforced as each student prepares his/her own business plan. Work-based learning strategies appropriate for this course include cooperative education and paid/unpaid internships. Simulations, projects, teamwork, and FBLA leadership activities, meetings, conferences, and competitions provide opportunities for application of instructional competencies.

Writing Across the Curriculum

From the Social Studies Curriculum, 8th grade, North Carolina: Creation and Development of the State

  • Competency Goal 5: The learner will evaluate the impact of political, economic, social, and technological changes on life in North Carolina from 1870 to 1930.

5.01 Identify the role played by the agriculture, textile, tobacco, and furniture industries in North Carolina, and analyze their importance in the economic development of the state.
5.02 Examine the changing role of educational, religious, and social institutions in the state and analyze their impact.
5.03 Describe the social, economic, and political impact of migration on North Carolina.
5.04 Identify technological advances, and evaluate their influence on the quality of life in North Carolina.
5.05 Assess the influence of the political, legal, and social movements on the political system and life in North Carolina.
5.06 Describe North Carolina's reaction to the increasing United States involvement in world affairs including participation in World War I, and evaluate the impact on the state's economy.

  • Competency Goal 9: The learner will explore examples of and opportunities for active citizenship, past and present, at the local and state levels.

9.01 Describe contemporary political, economic, and social issues at the state and local levels and evaluate their impact on the community.


  • Caldwell, Katherine. From Mountain Hands: The Story of Allanstand Craft Shop’s First 100 Years, (Asheville, NC: Southern Highlands Craft Guild, 1995)
  • Goodrich, Francis Louisa, Mountain Homespun: A Facsimile of the Original, Published in 1931. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989)

- Submitted by Dr. Mary Jean Herzog, Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations, Western Carolina University.