Friday, September 7, 2012

Look At Labor Day Visually With Infographics

Source: Business Pundit
Most students think of Labor Day as the end of the summer vacation, even if some kids start school before the official holiday. It marks the end of the beach season for sure. Yet for many, the true meaning of the holiday gets lost in the celebration of a long weekend. Few realize that Labor Day is considered the "working man's holiday," or that the term "labor" by definition means exhausting, hard, physical work.

Source: Zazenlife
It was created to celebrate the vast majority of the American population who provided the fuel behind this country's success as an industrial nation. It was first celebrated in 1882, and in 1894 Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday. We've put together a collection of Labor Day infographics in this post that can be used to engage kids in a discussion during this opening week of school. They are loaded with information for lessons in multiple disciplines. Like other holiday infographics we've written about in the past, they connect with calendar events during the school year.

While we are sure some kids might say that school is hard, physical work, it pales in comparison to the occupations represented in the infographics on the Most Hazardous Jobs in America from Zazenlife or the Workplace Fatality Data from the Huffington Post. Both identify the different hazards of occupations with statistical information on gender and ethnicity. The data will surprise and enlighten students to the hard facts of what workers face.

Source: Fast Company
The Labor Day infographic from Fast Company compares the job sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services of the United States. In this visualization the data is compared to other industrialized countries for 1971 and 2010. It also provides the change in women's share of the labor force and unemployment for the same years.

The catchy design for Labor Day by the Numbers from Fixr uses a map of the United States to separate the different jobs and the number of people working in them. Check out the list of Top 10 Work Songs for the Labor Day BBQ or Top 10 Labor Day Movies and see if students know what they are. A little pop culture goes a long way in any lesson. Ask them to take a guess as to what they think most Americans spend their money on during the holiday weekend, too.
Source: Fixr
Source: Column Five
Just a few others to share with students include Vacation Time Goes Unused by Most Americans and How We Spend Our Labor Day. Interestingly enough, most Americans don't take all of their vacation. Many work on Labor Day, fewer than 25% use it to reflect on workers' rights, and still fewer think about the history of worker protection.

In a time of job uncertainty and difficult economic times, teaching students the hard facts about labor history and the financial impact on our country is important. It's fun to include the data on what we do to celebrate, but it is sobering to see how many people work in dangerous and life-threatening occupations.

Perhaps the most telling detail is how too few understand the true meaning behind it. These infographics give us an opportunity to talk to our students about the day as well as point out comparisons that are necessary for our students to know. As resources, they provide a wealth of data for lessons.


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