1. Introduce the lesson by asking students if they have ever been in a hardware store. (Home Depot and Lowe's probably count, but a small town hardware store would be better!)
2. Assign students to read the article listed on the website below, and, in whole class discussion, ask the following questions:
- in what ways has the hardware store had "a central place in history"?
- what is the origin of the saying, "getting down to brass tacks"?
- what tool is called "the grandfather of tools"?
- where and when did nails originate?
- why did Thomas Jefferson turn to nail production when his crops were bad?
3. Arrange for students to visit a local hardware store; ask them to take notes on interesting things they find there.
4. Have students report back, and select the MOST interesting thing found.
This lesson might be extended by having students build a miniature hardware store, complete with stock (finding tiny items to represent real stock is fun, and encourages creativity!)
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.