John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

To continue the study of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller’s influence on American culture.

Print2- 2 1/2 hours

Students will:

  • Learn about the life story of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and his family
  • Learn about the impact of his philanthropic giving for the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Understand the economic impact of monopolies
  • Understand the workings of The Rockefeller Foundation today and develop an appreciation for its contributions

Deane, Elizabeth (Writer, Director). (2000). The Rockefellers, part 1. [Television series episode]. In Samels, Mark (Executive Producer), American Experience.  Corporation for Public Broadcasting. []

The Rockefeller Foundation website []


Photo credit: "John D. Rockefeller, full-length portrait, standing with a bicycle" is licensed under LC-USZ62-137042 (Library of Congress).

  1. Watch American Experience "The Rockefellers, part 1" video.


  2. Group discussion: Divide class into two groups and assign each group a different point of view to present regarding Rockefeller’s philanthropy. Students discuss and debate whether they think Rockefeller was an effective philanthropist for his time.


Participation in the group discussion / debate.