Learning Through Places: Native American Place
August 1, 2019
Learning Through Places: Neighborhood Subdivision
August 1, 2019

Return to Introduction & Lessons at a Glance

Rural Town: Lebanon Lesson Plan

Haying on the Lebanon town green. Lebanon Historical Society

Haying the Lebanon Green by Sally Rogers


This lesson plan is about the development of a rural, farming town in eastern Connecticut, specifically the town of Lebanon, Connecticut during the colonial era. 

Lesson Objective

By simulating agricultural life in a general store, students will identify the complexities of farming in the colonial era and its role in the colonial economy.

Grade Level

3 - 6

Introductory Discussion Questions

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: 

Q. Why do people move to their towns or cities today? 
A: For a job, to live in the type of environment they like, because it's easy to get to places, to be near family, etc.

Q. 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.

Q. What would you build first? 
A: A fort, store, house, barn, church, or fences

Q. Where would you get your food? 
A: Buy from or barter with neighbors, grow your own, hunting, fishing, or shop at the general store

Q. Is it important to own land in the 18th century? 
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.

Q. What products do farmers grow in Lebanon today
A. Dairy, egg, and a big wholesale nursery business.

Q. 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 forever.

Lesson Activity & Procedures

1. After the discussion about colonial farming using the questions above, invite students to investigate the town of Lebanon further using the story link below:
     Rural Town: Lebanon
Have students read the story and answer the following questions:

     * What role did the town green play in the lives of the citizens of Lebanon?

     * What role does a green play in a town near where you live today?

     * What did the people of Lebanon do for a living?

     * List all the products Lebanon’s citizens produced

     * How did Lebanon’s citizens help George Washington?
2. Have the students listen to "Haying the Lebanon Green," by Sally Rogers (link at the top of the post). This song was created by Sally and 4th grade students in Lebanon who were studying the green. A PDF of the lyrics is included. Used by permission

              "Haying the Lebanon Green" PDF of lyrics, provided by Sally Rogers

3. Now that the students have a sense of rural life they will perform a simulation. Students will play the role of a Lebanon citizen. They will meet at the general store on the town green. The teacher can be the store keeper. The kids each have a role and own separate farms. The farmers struggle with different farming problems: flooding/drought, insects, runaway animals, a sick family member, a barn raising, famous people problems/celebrations.

The following are ten roles. For larger classes, students can work in pairs but complete their exit slips independently. 

The citizens (students) will come into the store to buy products and get advice from their fellow citizens. On the student recording sheet they will: 
1. Write down their problem/cause 
2. Write and justify what purchase they want to make. 
3. Write what human assistance they could use from their fellow townspeople. 
4. After they visit the store, they write how they made progress toward a solution.
The teacher should set up a desk to serve as a counter and take orders for the items the kids request. Tell them when you expect the items to come in. Ask if they have the money for the items or if they need to barter. If they are going to barter, ask what they have to offer. Find a worksheet here:

Link to Simulation Worksheet
These are the roles:
Orchard Farmer 1
Problem: You own an orchard and your trees need trimming but you can’t reach the tops of the trees and your clippers are too small for the branches.

Livestock Farmer
Problem: Your cows keep breaking through the fence and running away, trampling your neighbors' crops. Your neighbors have been complaining. 

Vegetable Farmer 1
Problem: You have too many turnips and the wheel and axel of your cart is broken and you can't get them to market. Without action, your crops will spoil.

Vegetable Farmer 2
Problem: You have too many beets and you need to find a dry place to store them. You need to build a barn but it is too much work for one person.

Sheep Farmer
Problem: Your sheep keep getting soaked in the rain and tipping over from the weight of their wool. You need to keep them dry in the fields!

Vegetable Farmer 3
Problem: Your plants need water but your well has caved in and you need to dig a new one fast!

Hog Farmer
Problem: Your hogs have dug under the fence and are eating the neighbors' crops! Your neighbors are furious. 

Vegetable Farmer 4
Problem: You need to plow your fields to get seeds in the ground before it’s too late but your plow broke on glacial till! You will never get it done in time. 

Orchard Farmer 2
Problem: You have harvested your apples but you need to turn your apples into cider before they spoil!

Vegetable Farmer 5
Problem: Insects have invaded and are eating your crops! You need to either harvest them before they are eaten or figure out a way to repel the insects!

Each student will answer these questions:
What do you need from the general store and why?
What do you need from your fellow citizens and why?
What do you have to offer others for their help?

5. Exit slip

Living on a family farm in rural Connecticut was: ___________________
I think this because:___________________&____________________

Additional Resources

Where I Live: Connecticut, chapter 3, especially pages 24 – 25

"My Town Lebanon,"

Word Wall

Colonial, rural, provisions, American Revolution, barter, livestock

State Standards Alignement

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.
Compelling Question:
·  In what ways has our town and Connecticut changed and/or stayed the same over time?
Supporting Questions:
·  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?

Economic Decision-Making
ECO 3.1 Compare the benefits and costs of individual choices.
Compelling Question:
·  How do we trade for goods and services?
Supporting Questions:
·  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.
Compelling question:
·  Why do we live where we live?
Supporting questions:
·  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.
Supporting Questions:
·  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
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?