We've now reached the point of our 19th Century American history studies where we are researching the full-fledged Industrial Revolution in the US, often referred to as the Gilded Age. We think we are living in a time of change, but between 1870 and 1900 (a mere 30 years), the United States went from a primarily rural and agrarian culture to a primarily urbanized and industrialized nation. I don't think that even computers have changed us that much in that short of a time.
The History Channel has a short video with a nice overview of this period:
Here is a short video showing the growth of the railroads (one of the largest factors in our rapid industrialization) in the US:
The History Channel also has an interesting video explaining the history and the significance of the development of the steam engine:
Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers (a GREAT site!) provided this document on running a "Captains of Industry" game for a class of students.
Finally, the Library of Congress has put together a website of other achievements and activities during that timeframe, such Edison's early "moving pictures" of a sneeze, Billy the Kid escaping from jail, the completion of the Washington Monument, or the date that the first icy-cold Coca-Cola was served. If you have children like mine, who likes random trivia, they will enjoy the tidbits this site offers. I think it is useful to pinpoint when some of these cultural phenomenon took place along with the major themes of this era.