CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Comparing Industry Collapses

Business Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To examine and compare the collapse of two different industries
Using a variety of Web-based resources, students will compare the collapse of other industries to that of the asbestos industry.

Lesson Plan


The asbestos industry is not alone in its demise as the result of health concerns. Both the coal industry and the uranium mining industry faced similar situations. The pharmaceutical industry often faces issues of health concerns as years are required before the full effects of a new drug are known. For reasons other than health, the airline industry, fishing, and forestry have all faced crises and decline.

The Task

As a class, brainstorm industries that have collapsed. To elicit responses, encourage students first to brainstorm industries, then to discuss the relative health of that industry.

Have students work in small groups to outline the demise of the asbestos industry as a result of health concerns. They should use the topic Asbestos: Magic Mineral or Deadly Dust? on the CBC Digital Archives website to gather their information.

Using their outline as a template, students will choose another industry that has collapsed. Students will complete in-depth research using the Internet and any other relevant sources to gather their information. They will then outline the collapse of their chosen industry to parallel the outline they wrote for the asbestos industry. All presentations should conclude with information about what we can learn from the industry and recommendations for the future or for other industries.

The Process

Students will work in small groups. They will use their initial outline to create a template and modify their research about other industries to fit into that template. Students can use any tools they wish to create their final product -- computer presentation software, charts, diagrams, and so on. Some students may wish to share their information in the form of a report, detailing the history of the industry, what brought about its demise, and how major issues were handled.


Students can share their presentations orally or post them in the classroom. As a class, discuss and compare the industries and the way that issues were handled. Students should be prepared to offer and support an opinion on how well they think the issues affecting their industry were handled.

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