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Learning Through Places
Rural Town: Lebanon
A Country Town that Fed the Troops of the American Revolution
This lesson plan is about the development of a rural, farming town in eastern Connecticut and its continued community growth related to agriculture. It focuses on two historic places: the historic town green and the War Office. The War Office was Governor Trumbull’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War.
Recommended Student Reading
Where I Live: Connecticut, chapter 3, especially pages 24 – 25
“My Town: Lebanon,” https://whereilivect.org/lebanon/
Optional: for more about Mohegan Sachem Uncas:
Recommended Teacher Reading
See additional resources below. These resources will provide you with background on the topic of the lesson plan.
Components of the Lesson Plan
- Connections to the state’s social studies frameworks
- Introductory discussion guide
- Lesson Plan 3: Lebanon: A Country Town that Fed the Troops of the American Revolution
Partially adapted from Where I Live Connecticut, “My Town: Lebanon” (https://whereilivect.org/lebanon/).
Begin with a classroom discussion about how rural communities were founded, Lebanon’s role in supporting the American Revolution, and how Lebanon has continued to be a rural, farming community.
Questions to help guide the discussion:
- Why do people move to their towns or cities today? A: For a job, to live in the type of environment they like, easy to get to places, to be near family, etc.
- If you were moving from England to Connecticut in the colonial period, why would you want to come here to settle? A: A better life, to worship as you chose, to own land, maybe even for excitement.
- What would you build first? A: A fort, store, house, barn, church, or fences
- Where would you get your food? A: Buy from or barter with neighbors, grow your own, or shop at the general store
- Is it important to own land in the 18thcentury? A. In colonial Connecticut, land was the basis of financial security and wealth. Early settlers had property that included good farmland, a wood lot, pasture for animals, and often a water source like a creek.
- In the 19th century some towns grew when the railroad came through. The railroad did not come near Lebanon. What happened? A: Lebanon did not grow in the 19th century because it was not on a railroad line or a waterway. Did this help it to retain the open land for farming in Lebanon?
- What crops do farmers grow in Lebanon today? A. Dairy farms, egg farms and a big wholesale nursery business.
- Do you think good farmland should be protected for future generations? Why is this important or not important?A. By using new state and federal programs and laws, over 5,000 acres of farmland has been protected in perpetuity.
LINK TO STUDENT MATERIALS
Next, distribute the For Students Rural Town: Lebanon materials provided (it has a link to a printable PDF). Have students look closely and answer the questions provided in the lesson plan.
Learning Through Places – Rural Town: Lebanon
What do you see in the photograph?
Look at the first map.
Find the Town of Lebanon.
Is it near the ocean or a big river?
Look at the second map.
Does it have many roads or streets?
Is there room for a few farms or many farms?
Are there many more streets and roads than you saw on the first map?
Are there any large cities nearby?
Does it look like there are farms?
Choose an Activity
After the students read the story, have them choose an activity.
- Create a replica of the War Office using boxes and art supplies. The replica should reflect how the actual building looks, including its shape, details such as doors, windows, and chimneys. How is this different from a modern store or office building?
- How do places change? Make a venn diagram of activities that happened on the Lebanon green in the 18th century and the things people do on the green now. Which ones happen today that happened the 18th century?
- Find out more about why some people want to save farmland. Visit the website of Connecticut Farmland Trust at ctfarmland.org. You’ll find information about why farmland needs to be saved. Write down three reasons. You’ll also find a map of all of the farms they’ve saved here: http://ctfarmland.org/site/protected-farms/. Are any of the farms near where you live? On the site, you’ll find pictures and stories about farms including what they grow, raise, or make. Take a screenshot of pictures you like, save or print them out, and make a poster or Powerpoint about why this organization is working to save farms. Do you agree with their work? Share the Powerpoints or posters to see what your classmates think.
Connections to the State Frameworks
Change, Continuity, and Context
HIST 3.2 Compare life in specific historical periods to life today.
HIST 3.3. Generate questions about individuals who have shaped significant historical changes and continuities.
- In what ways has our town and Connecticut changed and/or stayed the same over time?
- How was life in colonial Connecticut similar/different to life now?
- Investigate historical Connecticut residents and their impact on Connecticut and national history.
- What types of events change the essential characteristics of a town or state?
HIST 3.4, 3.5. Supporting question:
- What has Connecticut’s contribution been during wartime?
Causation and Argumentation
HIST 3.11 Supporting question:
- What events occurred in our local community and how did they shape our community?
- What role have members of our community had in major events in Connecticut history?
ECO 3.1 Compare the benefits and costs of individual choices.
- How do we trade for goods and services?
- Why do we live where we live?
- How do we get the things we need to live (food, clothing, goods, etc.)?
Geographical Representations: Spatial Views of the World
GEO 3.1 Construct maps and other graphic representations of both familiar and unfamiliar places.
GEO 3.2 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their environmental characteristics.
GEO 3.3 Use maps of different scales to describe the locations of cultural and environmental characteristics.
- Why do we live where we live?
- Why is your town/city/state shaped the way it is?
- What economic or geographic features have caused people to move in (or move out) of your town?
Human-Environment Interaction: Places, Regions, and Culture
GEO 3.4Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
GEO 3.5Explain how the cultural and environmental characteristics of places change over time.
GEO 3.6 Describe how environmental and cultural characteristics influence population distribution in specific places or regions.
- How is the “identity” of a state or region created?
- What are some of Connecticut’s cultural and historical resources and how did they affect how people lived?
- Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movement
Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movement
GEO 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 Supporting questions:
- Who controls the use of land and resources?
- What attracts a person to a town or city today? How is that different from what may have attracted them there in 1800?
Additional Teacher Resources
The Lebanon Green Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
Nomination, National Register of Historic Places, Bruce Clouette, Ph.D, 1979
Lebanon Historical Society https://historyoflebanon.org/
“Connecticut’s Colonial Town Greens” by Amy Gagnon
“The Standing Order: Connecticut’s Ruling Aristocracy, 1639-1818” by David Corrigan
State of Connecticut Lebanon Town Green Trail Map
Connecticut Trust for Historic Places, Connecticut Town Green website
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