Child Labor Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

In many countries, children are forced to work in harsh working conditions. A video lesson explains America's standards for child labor and an activity brings light to the realities of child labor throughout the world. Extensions and related lessons are provided to take instruction even further.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the mandates of Fair Labor Standards Act
  • analyze the existence and overall social and economic impact of child labor


1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


  • Begin by asking students to look at their shoes. Have each student write down the brand name of their shoe. If they can find a country of production, have them write that down as well. Finally, ask them to note the price they paid for the shoes.
  • Discuss the students shoes as a class. Can you identify any commonalities?
  • Now play the video lesson Minimum Wage & Child Labor: Purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act, pausing at 1:51.
  • Review each of the three mandates of the Fair Labor Standards Act that are displayed on the screen. What does each mandate mean? Discuss this as a class.
  • Now play the rest of the video lesson for the class.
  • How did the class discussion on the mandates fit in with the information provided in the video lesson? Fill in any missing information now.

Discussion Questions

  • How did the Fair Labor Standards Act change production in the United States?
  • Do other countries share a similar commitment to fair labor standards?
  • How do child labor laws effect students who wish to work?
  • How many of our shoes were likely manufactured by children?

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