Document Based Question Worksheets produced for the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor

The Albany Institute is pleased to be able to offer these Document Based worksheets that help students read and interpret images and documents to help them learn about the Erie Canal. Produced with Albany Institute primary resources in conjunction with the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.

Click here to access the nine worksheets.


Students will examine the work that went into building the Erie Canal. They will also consider the political and physical barriers that were overcome to accomplish its construction. This lesson will highlight the importance of the canal in the development of trade, faster transportation, inventions, and technology, and consider its impact on the country.

New York State Standards:

Grades 4–8:

  • The Visual Arts:         
    • Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
    • Understanding the Cultural Dimensions of Art
  • Social Studies:                    
    • History of United States and New York
    • Geography
    • Economics
  • English Language Arts:
    • Reading: Informational Text
    • Writing: Informative/Explanatory Texts
    • Listening and Speaking


Students will:

  • Describe a canal, its uses and purpose (Knowledge)
  • Identify where the Erie Canal was/is located (Knowledge)
  • Discuss the impact that geography had on industrialization and expansion (Comprehension)
  • Analyze how human actions modify physical environments and affect economic growth (Analysis)
  • Compare and contrast the interdependence of rural people/areas with the interdependence of urban people/areas. (Analysis)