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Advancement in Agriculture

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 9th Grade Class U.S. History Length of Lesson 1 class period
Lesson Title Advancement in Agriculture
Unit Title
Unit Compelling Question How have influential Americans and inventors affected early American industry (civil war to WWII)?
Historical Context:

This photograph, in the collection of the Audubon County Historical Society, shows farmer Elmer G. Carlson of Audubon, Iowa. During the 1930s, Carlson participated in corn husking competitions across the Midwest. In each of these competitions, Carlson husked corn without a shirt on. In 1935, Carlson won the National Corn Husking Championship held in Attica, Indiana.

In addition to competing as a corn husker, Carlson founded the Carlson Hybrid Seed Corn Company. He named his brand of seed corn "Carlson's Champion Hybrid Corn." Later in life, Carlson founded the Farmers of Iowa Inaugural Committee. As part of this committee, Carlson rented the ballroom of the International Inn in Washington D.C. for three nights in January 1977 to celebrate the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter. Thousands of people attended the parties that he held on these nights.

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The years between the Civil War and WW II saw two great transformations of Midwestern agriculture.  The first was bringing the Industrial Revolution to the farm with the introduction of horse power to agricultural machinery.  Hay rakes, mowers, oat binders, planters, riding cultivators (weeders) all greatly expanded one farmer’s ability to manage much larger fields and to increase production.  Steam engines powered threshing machines that could run more oat bundles through in one day, separate the grain from the chaff, than a farm family could thresh and winnow on the barn floor in two weeks.  Farmers worked together to purchase and operate the steam engine and threshing day became an important annual event in the cycle of farm life.

 

Beginning in the first decade of the 20th C., gasoline-powered machinery began to make an appearance on the farm.  Sometimes small motors could run a water pump or power a small electrical system to bring electric lights to the farm house.  Tractors were a big innovation.  They did not need to rest as horses did, and because they used gasoline rather than oats, the farmer did not need to devote a field to fuel production.  As they became more powerful and versatile, tractors pulled larger and larger plows, planters, and cultivators.  They led to the development of corn pickers and combines that threshed grain in the field.  Again, assisted by ever-greater technology, a successful farmer could expand his land holdings.  The size of farms rose; the numbers of farms declined.  And with that decline came a decline in the rural population with many implications for the nation.

 

The Iowa legislature from earliest time was dominated by rural representatives because farming was far and away the largest industry.  When the urban population started to grow and rural areas decline, cities started to push for greater representation.  The biggest fights came after WW II but the seeds were planted with the introduction of improved farm technology.  Another shirt was in education.  Automobiles allowed rural students to attend town schools, including high school, and one-room schools saw a sharp decline.  Rural churches and the smallest towns also struggled to stay open.

 

However, for the farm family, technology brought some distinct advantages.  Telephones, rural free postal delivery, and radios reduced the isolation that farm families felt.  Better roads and road graders helped farm families avoid the isolation of deep springtime mud and winter drifts.  The Extension Service provided information about good farming and homemaking practices for adults and 4-H clubs to farm youth.

 

The eight decades between the Civil War and WW II saw a roller coaster in farm prices and radical changes in rural life.  There were advantages to the farm families that survived the shake-down, but there were also some losses that came with the labor-saving machinery because the labor that was saved was the livelihood of neighbors.

~ Dr. Tom Morain, Graceland University
Lesson Supporting Question
Lesson Overview


Students will analyze and evaluate how Iowa and its people helped to make advancements in agriculture, and how this could affect industries.
 

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed
File webquest.docx
Standard
Lesson Target
  • Students will understand how Iowa has been affected by new agricultural influences.
  • Students will understand how Iowans help to bring about new agricultural influences.
  • Students will know... Influential Iowans during the time period Students will learn new advancements in agricultural in Iowa Students will learn how Iowa benefited from these new advancements
Lesson Themes Science & Technology of Ag
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
1
Opening activity – show the photo and ask students about what comes to mind, what they think is going on in it, and who that man is -then explain to them what is actually going on in the photo. This will be a whole class discussion. This photograph shows farmer Elmer G. Carlson of Audubon, Iowa. During the 1930s, Carlson participated in corn husking competitions across the Midwest. In each of these
competitions, Carlson husked corn without a shirt on. In 1935, Carlson won the National Corn Husking Championship held in Attica, Indiana. In addition to competing as a corn husker, Carlson founded the Carlson Hybrid Seed Corn Company. He named his brand of seed corn "Carlson's Champion Hybrid Corn." Later in life, Carlson founded the Farmers of Iowa Inaugural Committee. As part of this committee, Carlson rented the ballroom of the International Inn in Washington D.C. for three nights in January 1977 to celebrate the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter. Thousands of people attended the parties that he held on these nights.
 
   
2
Students will be doing a web quest over different Iowans and agricultural advancements - First the opening activity as stated before, then they will be given a sheet with questions they need to fill out using the internet (http://www.iptv.org/iowapathways) they will be doing this individually. When they are done filling out the sheet they will get into groups of four, and then asked to discuss things they found interesting, and think what Iowa might be like if we did not have these people or inventions and how that might have affect
Iowa’s Industry.They will then share their ideas to the class about what the think Iowa would be like if did not have these people or inventions. Short answer quiz will be the next day.
 
   
Assessment
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • Students will have a short answer essay quiz.
  • Group discussion - will have time to share thoughts and discuss assignment in small groups, and then share to the teacher and class.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • Students will be given a handout and asked to use the internet to complete a web quest on agricultural advancement sand influential Iowans, students should go to http://www.iptv.org/iowapathways. Students should completely and fully answer all of the following questions on the handout. Once they have completed the hand out they will in groups of four, and share things 2 things they found interesting and discuss how Iowa might be different if we didn’t have these inventions, and how that would affect Iowa’s industry. Then each group will share their ideas of what they think Iowa would be like if we didn’t have these people or inventions to help us. They will have the majority of class to do the web quest and the last ten minutes will be saved for discussion.
Author Information
Author Anna Kahle Reviewer Dr. Lisa Millsaps, University of Northern Iowa Created 03/27/2019 Last Edited 08/22/2019
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2018

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