Unit 5: Wisconsin Industries: Agriculture And Lumber
Dr. Ava L. McCall and Thelma Ristow
Definition Of Topic
This unit will focus on two main industries in Wisconsin, agriculture and lumber, and their
historical and current importance in the Wisconsin economy. The unit will include how
agriculture changed from the initial significance of wheat to the importance of dairy and how the
lumber industry changed from primarily logging to paper production. The unit will also include
some of the experiences of people who worked in these industries.
Students need to understand the importance of the agriculture and lumber industries to the
history, economy, and people's everyday life in Wisconsin in order to appreciate these industries.
As more and more young people are no longer involved in either of these industries, they are less
likely to understand their significance to Wisconsin as well as their own lives and the challenges
people faced who worked in these industries. This unit will help students appreciate the work
involved in producing the dairy and paper products produced in Wisconsin which students use
1. Students will increase their understanding of wheat and dairy to the agriculture industry in
Wisconsin and the significance of agriculture to the Wisconsin economy.
2. Students will increase their understanding of logging and paper to the lumber industry in
Wisconsin and the significance of lumber to the Wisconsin economy.
3. Students will understand the experiences of people who worked in the agriculture and lumber
4. Students will appreciate the importance of the agriculture and lumber industries in Wisconsin.
5. Students will value the experiences of people who worked in the agriculture and lumber
industries in Wisconsin.
6. Students will develop literacy skills through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
7. Students will develop cooperative learning skills by working with others.
8. Students will develop artistic skills by expressing understandings through art.
National Social Studies Thematic Strands
This unit will include the production, distribution, and consumption thematic strand by
concentrating on how agricultural and lumber products are produced and distributed in
Wisconsin for consumption within the state and throughout the U.S. It will concentrate on the
importance of families and workers to these industries and how changes in the economy, such as
the price of wheat, contributed to the growth of dairy. This strand is significant for students to
understand how goods made within their state are produced and distributed and provide
opportunities for people to earn a living. Since few students are involved in either industry, they
need to understand the sources of some of the dairy and lumber/paper products they use
everyday. In addition, students need to understand without workers, no goods would be
produced. Despite the tendency to focus greater attention on industrial leaders with significant
capital, students need to know the power and influence of common workers on the economy.
This unit will include the people, places, and environments thematic strand by focusing
on how the physical environment influenced the development of the agriculture and lumber
industries and how changes in the physical environment led to changes in both industries. The
physical environment provided the natural resources for agriculture and lumber industries. As
nutrients in the soil needed to support wheat production declined and the amount of lumber
available for logging diminished, the agriculture industry changed to a greater emphasis on
dairying and the lumber industry moved toward paper production. This strand is important for
students to understand that people in Wisconsin did not freely choose their economic activities,
but the physical environment was crucial in providing opportunities for people to develop the
agriculture and lumber industries. People must work within the limitations and opportunities of
their physical environments to provide for their basic needs.
School District Social Studies Curriculum Objectives
1. 3a Students will describe some factors related to the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in
Wisconsin that helped influence the location of a particular town or city.
1. 3b Students will describe factors from the lumber/paper and agriculture industries that
influenced the growth and development of a city, manufacturing area, or transportation system in
1. 3d Students will analyze reasons for the locations of major economic activities of
lumber/paper and agriculture in Wisconsin.
2. 1d Students will use maps to locate major bodies and river systems in the state and their
relationship to the lumber/paper and agriculture industries.
2. 1i Students will describe physical characteristics of places from maps and photographs and
their relationship to the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
2. 1j Students will evaluate the effect of a city's physical location on its development as part of
the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
2. 1k Students will evaluate the effects of the climate on lumber/paper and agriculture industries
2. 2a Students will define the human characteristics or ways people changed the physical
environment for the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
2. 2e Students will compare characteristics of places used for lumbering, manufacturing paper,
and farming in Wisconsin.
2. 2g Students will evaluate the development of Wisconsin lumber/paper and agriculture
industries relative to its natural resources.
2. 3c Students will classify ways places in Wisconsin devoted to the lumber/paper and agriculture
industries changed over time.
3. 1a Students will define the resources necessary for the lumber/paper and agriculture industries
3. 1c Students will identify resources used in the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in
Wisconsin whose value changed over time as technology changed.
3. 1d Students will list ways the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin depended
on the environment, such as the climate and natural vegetation.
3. 2a Students will describe landforms from a map or photographs and relate them to ways
people used the land for the lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
3. 2b Students will map one agricultural product that is usually grown in an area of low
population density in Wisconsin and explain why.
3. 2c Students will identify on maps areas of high population densities due to the lumber or paper
industries in Wisconsin.
3. 2i Students will relate agricultural patterns to climate in Wisconsin.
3. 2k Students will explain changes in farming practices over time in Wisconsin.
3. 2l Students will evaluate alternative perspectives about the use of land and water for the
lumber, paper, and agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
3. 3b Students will identify environment issues related to the lumber, paper, and agriculture
industries in Wisconsin and their effects on Oshkosh and the state.
4. 2d Students will use maps to describe patterns of trade related to the lumber/paper and
agriculture industries in Wisconsin.
4. 2g Students will study different forms of communication and transportation related to the
lumber/paper and agriculture industries in Wisconsin and how they developed and changed.
4. 3a Students will analyze maps to locate patterns of movement of lumber, paper, and
agriculture products originating from Wisconsin.
4. 3e Students will analyze the methods of transportation used to move lumber, paper, and
agriculture products from Wisconsin and explain why those methods are used.
5. 1b Students will identify physical and human differences between places in Wisconsin due to
the economic activities of lumber/paper and agriculture industries.
5. 2a & b Students will describe characteristics of regions devoted to lumber, paper, and
agriculture industries in Wisconsin and explain why these areas are regions.
5. 2j Students will identify the regions of Wisconsin which are most likely to be the locations of
the economic activities related to the lumber, paper, and agriculture industries.
15. 4 Students will explain the importance of lumbering in Wisconsin's history.
15. 5 Students will describe the growth and change in the use of Wisconsin's forests during
lumbering and paper making.
15. 6 Students will explain the steps in the logging process.
15. 7 Students will identify several wood products made in Wisconsin and used today.
15. 8 Students will explain Wisconsin's contributions as America's dairyland.
15. 9 Students will identify aspects of Wisconsin dairy farming such as the cultivation of dairy
herds, production of food for the herds, and production of dairy products.
15. 10 Students will describe the importance of wheat farming and dairy farming in Wisconsin.
15. 11 Students will identify and locate where dairy farm products are produced in Wisconsin.
15. 12 Students will compare and contrast early wheat farming and current dairy farming in
15. 13 Students will understand how the climate of Wisconsin affects production on wheat and
15. 14 Students will explain the manufacturing of paper and wood products in Wisconsin.
15. 15 Students will compare and contrast early manufacturing of wood products to current
manufacturing of paper and paper products in Wisconsin.
School District Literacy Curriculum Objectives
Reading Band E
Students will use a dictionary to gain information when reading.
Students will use the index, table of contents, and glossary to gain information when reading
Students will use a variety of word analysis strategies to decode words.
Students will use a variety of comprehension strategies to gain meaning from more complex text.
Students will improvise in role play.
Students will prepare written responses to show meaning inferred from text.
Students will demonstrate understanding of a piece of literature.
Students will express and support an opinion on the author's purpose.
Students will analyze text to show understanding of character traits and actions.
Students will evaluate the behavior of characters from different cultural perspectives.
Students will paraphrase informational/expository text.
Students will read orally with expression.
Interest and Attitudes
Students will choose books of personal interest related to the curriculum unit.
Students will participate in SSR.
Students will independently choose books appropriate to their reading level.
Students will demonstrate effective listening and speaking habits.
Writing Band E
Students will construct more complex sentences.
Students will write passages with clear meaning, accuracy of spelling, and appropriate
punctuation and grammar.
Students will use a dictionary and/or thesaurus to check and extend vocabulary for writing.
Students will write statements, questions, commands, and exclamations.
Students will consistently use legible handwriting.
Students will use the editing mechanics of spelling, indentation, punctuation, grammar, and
Students will link paragraphs into a cohesive structure.
Students will write for different purposes.
Students will write from different perspectives.
Students will use the writing process to prepare for publication.
Students will incorporate feedback from adults and peers through revising and editing.
Students will write a summary of expository texts including the main topic, main ideas, and
Students will respond to text through logs or journals.
This unit will include the experiences and perspectives of female and male common workers
involved in agriculture and lumber industries and will encourage students to think critically about
and analyze these different perspectives. The unit will be more relevant to students' lives who
will more likely serve as workers rather than capitalists who own industries within the economy.
The unit will also include issues of fairness and justice in how workers in both industries have
been treated and encourage students to consider ways workers could have been treated more
fairly. Students will be encouraged to analyze workers' experiences for social action strategies
they used or were available to use to strive for better working conditions.
Wisconsin Industries: Agriculture And Lumber Background Knowledge
Why did the lumber industry grow in Wisconsin?
After 1836 when the Menominee were forced to cede lands north of the Fox River and
east of the Wolf River to the U.S. government, European Americans developed the lumber
industry in Wisconsin. The first sawmill was built in 1831 when Daniel Whitney sawed trees
taken from lands owned by the Menominee. This industry took advantage of the forest natural
resources in order to produce the lumber needed to build homes, barns, and fences and later the
churches, schools, and stores for people who moved into the Midwest and the Great Plains in the
1800s. Lumber was also used in building factories, ships, wagons, and barrels and as fuel to run
steamboats and locomotives. Lumber mills were built along the Wisconsin River and in
In the north woods of Wisconsin were thousands of acres of pine which could be cut by
loggers during the winter, hauled over roads loggers covered with ice for easier movement, then
piled next to lakes and rivers. When ice on the river thawed in the spring, the logs were floated
down the Wolf River to Lake Poygan. Loggers had to ride the logs downstream, using special
equipment to control the logs' movement. Logs were sorted into those owned by the different
logging companies, then rafted to float down the Fox River to Lake Winnebago. Finally, logs
were delivered to lumber mills between Lake Butte des Morts and Lake Winnebago.
The Menominee tribe also developed a significant logging business in the 19th century in
Wisconsin because of the forest land and the presence of the Wolf River in the heart of the
reservation. Logs could be cut on the reservation, then floated down the Wolf River to sawmills
in Oshkosh. The Menominee had a logging camp on the present reservation in which men stayed
all winter cutting timber. The logs were then hauled by sleigh and a team of horses to be stacked
on the river bank until the snow melted and river ice broke up. The Menominee also developed a
river drive on the Wolf River which runs through the reservation for moving the logs to lumber
mills in Oshkosh and New London. These river drives began in 1871 and ended in 1912 when
the Menominee finished the sawmill in Neopit. The Menominee built a railroad in 1910 to
transport logs to the Neopit Sawmill, eliminating the need for the river drives. A bateau, or huge
river boat, traveled before the logs and river drivers to set up camp along the river. The boatmen
carried river drivers to the logs that were hung up, all the supplies needed for the river drive, and
the camp cook who prepared all the food. The Menominee built dams on the Wolf River at
different points to build up water pressure and move the logs along faster. The dams were opened
as the logs moved down river and closed at night to allow the river drivers to make camp. The
river drives lasted several months until the river drivers brought the logs to Oshkosh.
During the late 1800s for European American lumber camps, logs were no longer
transported by water and were moved by railroad. This allowed loggers to work year round and
cut lumber which was too heavy to float such as hardwood trees (oak, basswood, and maple).
Lumber camps could be moved deeper into the woods rather than remain by water and loggers
had better tools such as large crosscut saws rather than axes to cut trees. Logging camps became
larger with several buildings such as the bunkhouse for loggers to sleep in, the kitchen and dining
hall, the company store, blacksmith, and carpentry shop.
Other wooden products were also produced from Wisconsin lumber including doors,
window sashes, furniture, plywood veneer, building beams, hardboard, and particleboard. John
Kaiser operated sawmills, storage yards for lumber, and a box factory in Eau Claire from 1905
until 1939. The box factory made wooden boxes from scrap and end timber which couldn't be
used for building materials. These boxes were purchased by meat-packing businesses and by
manufacturers of large home appliances such as washing machines and stoves for packing their
products for shipping to distributors.
How did the lumber industry affect the Wisconsin economy?
The lumber industry had a permanent effect on the state's economy as well as leading to
the growth of cities and towns where lumber mills developed and influenced where railroads
were built. During the 1870s and 1880s, about 200 million feet of lumber were cut each year, and
about eighty lumber camps existed on the upper Wolf. In 1880 lumbering was the state's second
most valuable industry and was the state's most important industry between 1890 and 1920.
Thousands of workers were employed in cutting trees, hauling logs to water, floating them to
mills, cutting logs into lumber, and shipping lumber to markets.
For the Menominee, their lumbering business was very important to their economic well-being. During the first year of the River Driving Enterprise, the Menominee moved 12 million
feet of white pine down the Wolf River. Five dollars for every thousand feet of timber went into
the Menominee Log Fund to develop the Menominee sawmill as an important source of jobs and
income for the Menominee.
As pine supplies diminished, lumber workers harvested hardwoods and hemlock, but
none of these woods would float, so railroads were needed to bring them from the lumber camps
to the sawmills.
One of the problems of the lumber industry was the contribution to the pollution of the
Fox River. As the trees were taken, their ability to protect soil erosion declined and soil washed
into rivers. When logs were floated down the rivers during the spring lumber drives, they added
litter and leaves to the river. Sawdust and bark from lumber mills were dumped into the river,
contributing to the growth of bacteria. The lumber industry later began replanting trees north of
the Wolf River which decreased soil erosion into the river.
What were the experiences of lumber industry workers?
Life as a worker in lumber camps and lumber drives was hard and dangerous. During the
late 1800s, lumberjacks often worked at farming, building the railroad, mining copper or iron, or
working at sawmills during the summer, then worked in logging camps during the winter to earn
money. Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, German and Irish immigrants also worked in logging
camps during the winter to earn needed income. Loggers lived in a log bunkhouse heated only by
one stove in the middle of the room; slept in their clothing on narrow bunks with straw for
mattresses; contended with bugs in their beds; shared a wash basin and drinking water barrel with
the other loggers; and had only wooden benches or their bunks for resting on in the bunkhouse.
They worked long hours six days a week at very physically demanding work. Most meals were
eaten in the dining hall and the rules must be followed if the lumberjacks wanted to eat. Rules
included: 1) No talking at table except to ask for food; 2) Sit at assigned place; 3) No changing
places without permission; and 4) No leaving until everyone is done. Food was plentiful to
provide the energy lumberjacks needed. The only entertainment was Saturday night singing,
dancing, letter writing, playing checkers or dominoes, or storytelling.
The work was dangerous as well as difficult. Lumber workers may have been hurt or
killed when trees fell after they had been cut, when workers tried to slow the sleds as they
traveled downhill, when they piled logs on the frozen river, and when they drove the logs down
the river. Lumber workers had many different jobs. Lumberjacks sawed trees down; trimmed off
branches; swampers sawed the trees into logs; skidders guided the logs as they were stacked on
the sled; hauled out the logs from the forest on sleds which traveled on ice covered roads;
deposited the logs on the river bank; topdeckers directed the placement of the logs on the frozen
river; river pigs or river rats herded the logs down the river to the sawmills.
For river drivers (or river pigs/hogs/rats), the work was dangerous and required great
skills. The waters were very cold and brisk. Men wore wool clothing which retained body heat
and cork-bottomed boots. Small spikes were pounded into the cork to provide more traction on
the logs they rode. Their only tools were cant or peavy poles used to maneuver logs.
Workers in sawmills and woodworking mills also worked very hard, long hours at a
dangerous job. The work at sawmills involved carrying logs into the mill; pushing logs through
saws; driving saws; cutting lumber into boards; and carrying boards to storage sheds. Finally,
lumber was taken to market and sold, either by shipping by water, by railroad, or by rafting
lumber down river to market cities. In woodworking mills in Oshkosh, workers made sash and
doors. Before 1880 the work day was 11 to 13 hours and workers might earn only $1 a day
despite the dangers of having an arm, leg, or fingers cut off; becoming injured by pieces of wood
thrown from saws; or dying from steam boiler explosions. By 1928, woodworkers in Oshkosh
making doors and sashes earned $.30 an hour and worked 10 hours a day six days a week and
another nine hours on Saturday. There was no overtime pay. The work remained dangerous and
workers could still lose fingers or arms or be killed using the dangerous saws. No doctors were
on duty at the mill. If a worker was injured in the mill, he was given first aid, then driven to a
doctor or hospital. Mill owners continued to place responsibility for safety on the mill workers,
although management was also concerned about safety.
Life for woodworkers' families in 1928 was also very challenging. Men worked in the
mills, but their economic survival depended on their wives' management of their finances. Men
usually turned their paychecks over to their wives to pay the bills. Women stretched the
paychecks by growing vegetables in their gardens; preserving food; buying the least expensive
foods at grocery stores; and baking plenty of rye bread which, along with coffee, formed the main
diet for the family. Homes were very small with little furniture. The family walked to work,
school, church, or to shop. A sign of success for the family was having enough money so their
children would not have to drop out of school to work in the woodworking mills.
There was resentment toward mill owners who lived lavishly in comparison to mill
workers and who often appeared to look down on the workers and remain unconcerned about the
workers' safety or quality of life. Mill owners often had expensive houses and cars, homes
decorated with furniture and art from around the world, and servants to attend to their needs.
Their children attended prep schools while mill workers' children struggled to be able to finish
high school to escape the cycle of another generation working for low wages in the woodworking
Why did the lumber industry change from logging to paper?
The first paper mill was built in Milwaukee in 1848. Later the paper industry grew along
the lower Fox River in the paper towns of Neenah, Menasha, De Pere, Little Chute, Kaukauna,
and Green Bay, the northern towns of Ashland, Niagara, Marinette, and Shawano, and along the
upper Wisconsin River towns of Brokaw, Wausau, Rothschild, Mosinee, Stevens Point, Biron,
Wisconsin Rapids, Port Edwards, and Nekoosa. The first mills along the lower Fox River were
originally flour mills processing the state's wheat harvests. As wheat production declined, in the
1860s people began creating small pulp mills (producing material to make paper) and paper mills
(producing paper) in the Fox Valley. About this time, newspapers around the country were
demanding more newsprint for publishing their newspapers, creating a market for paper.
Wisconsin's physical environment of the river provided plenty of water power for the industry as
well as the proximity to the wood from the North Woods for wood pulp also helped paper mills
along the Fox River to grow. Transportation was available for moving paper products out of the
state and nearby markets for paper products also contributed to the growth of this industry.
The paper industry became located along the Fox River from Oshkosh to Green Bay due
to the river's water power. Because the Fox River dropped 170 feet as it traveled north, the river
created eight natural rapids providing water power available for manufacturing. At these sites,
Neenah-Menasha, Appleton, Little Chute, Combined Locks, Kaukauna, Rapide Coche, Little
Kaukauna, and De Pere, people developed manufacturing. Human made locks and dams along
the river added power to the Fox River. Oshkosh was important in the link between the Fox and
Wolf Rivers and Green Bay had the best natural harbor in the state for shipping out goods
manufactured in the Fox Valley.
In 1872 four Neenah businessmen pooled their resources and began a new manufacturing
business, even though they had no experience with papermaking or lumbering. Their business
became Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which became Wisconsin's largest firm in terms of sales.
After this paper mill became successful, other paper mills were created.
At first the paper mills made paper from cotton rag and plant fiber, but that changed to
wood fiber due to the proximity to wood resources. Poplar and spruce were not taken through
earlier logging for wood products, so these woods were available for wood-fiber papers. Paper
mills began creating pulp machines for grinding pulp wood. At first about half of the Wisconsin
paper production was devoted to producing newsprint. Due to competition from the Canadian
paper industry in the early 1900s in making newsprint, the paper industry of the Fox Valley
modified their products to begin producing specialty papers such as tissue paper, glazed and
glassine wrapping paper, toilet tissue, facial tissue, crepe paper, insulating paper, and high grade
book and magazine paper. Paper boxes and cardboard were also produced.
How did the paper industry affect the Wisconsin economy?
Many people in the lower Fox Valley and the upper Wisconsin River Valley have worked
in paper mills. Wisconsin became one of the most important producers of paper among the
paper-producing states. In the 1970s, there were about 50 pulp and paper mills in Wisconsin. The
35 miles of the lower Fox River has had the highest concentration of paper mills in the world and
provided over 10% of the country's paper needs. This amount is considerable since the 1970s
each person in the U.S. has used an average of 600 pounds of paper each year. Little Chute,
Kaukauna, and Kimberly operate wood pulping mills, the first step in making wood fiber papers.
The major paper mills are located in Appleton, De Pere and Neenah-Menasha.
In 1997 Wisconsin is the country's leading paper manufacturing state and 52,000 women
and men in the state are employed in this industry. The Wisconsin Paper Council considers
papermaking to be the backbone of the state's economy since the paper and forest products
industry is the among the top three employers in 42 out of 72 counties in the state. Since the
1950s, Wisconsin has led the U.S. in making paper. More than 5.1 million tons of paper and
almost 1 million tons of paperboard are produced each year. Ten percent of people employed in
Wisconsin's manufacturing jobs are employed in pulp, paper, and allied companies. People who
work in the paper industry either making pulp and paper or in converting large paper rolls into a
variety of paper products earn above-average wages. Wages are 25 percent more than the average
wages for manufacturing in Wisconsin and 60 percent greater than the average for all Wisconsin
In the early 1980s the paper and pulp industry in the Fox Valley owned about one million
of Wisconsin's 15 million acres of forestland and had a replanting program to plant about 2 1/2
million trees each year to replace those which had been cut. This replanting program was not
only good for the physical environment, but also guaranteed the wood supply needed for paper
By 1997 every paper company that owned or managed forest land had pledged to practice
"sustainable forestry" such as planting, regenerating, managing, growing, and harvesting trees for
products with conservation of natural resources. During the past 30 years, forests grew larger
than 50 percent in Wisconsin due to planting and allowing trees to grow. Paper companies in
Wisconsin planted more than 8 million seedlings each year.
A negative impact of the paper industry in the Fox Valley was the pollution it contributed
to the Fox River. Paper mills dumped waste into the river creating sludge beds of paper waste
which destroyed the habitat of some organisms and increased bacteria growth. As bacteria
increased, oxygen in the river decreased which destroyed other life in the river. The Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources has insisted that the paper industry reduce the amount of waste
discharged into the Fox River. Another negative impact of the pulp industry on the environment
is air pollution through the creation of ash, smoke, and odor while pulp is made. According to the
Wisconsin Paper Council's 1997 report, wastes which pollute the air and water have been
Why was the wheat crop important in early agriculture in Wisconsin?
Wheat was the most important cash crop in Wisconsin from 1835 until 1880. Since a
number of the early "Yankee" settlers came from New York, New England, Ohio, and
Pennsylvania where wheat was prevalent, they brought this wheat-growing tradition with them.
Wheat required little care and capital and was in great demand in the U.S.
After the land was cleared, farmers plowed the land to break up the soil, then they
harrowed the land to smooth the land by breaking up large chunks of soil. Finally, they could
plant wheat. Farmers could raise two crops of wheat a year. One crop was planted in the early
fall, grew during the winter, and harvested in July. Another crop was planted in the summer after
harvesting the first crop and plowing the land. This crop was harvested before winter. Hand tools
were used to harvest wheat which meant four workers needed to work all day to harvest about
two acres. With the invention in 1843 of the first harvesting machines, it became easier to harvest
wheat. Other inventions improved on this machine including reapers, machines that tied stalks of
grain into bundles, and threshers which separated wheat grain from the stalks. At one time
Wisconsin was the country's leading wheat state.
As wheat was grown year after year, it depleted the soil of nutrients. By the 1850s the
soil was so damaged from the intensive wheat production, that weeds were replacing wheat
plants in fields. The amount of grain from each wheat plant also diminished. However, because
wheat was in such demand around the world, especially England, and the price was so high,
Wisconsin farmers continued producing wheat. The demand for wheat continued during the
1860s with the Civil War soldiers needing food. Unfortunately, wheat farmers contended with
wheat rust and smut infecting the crops during the 1870s and the chinch bug eating the grain in
the 1880s. As the milling industry was expanding in Minnesota, it provided competition for
Wisconsin, and investors became more interested in investing in the wheat industry in
Minnesota. Wheat farming eventually died out in Wisconsin in the 1880s.
How did wheat influence the Wisconsin economy?
Farmers could make money by raising wheat and provided a way for new immigrants in
Wisconsin to farm cheaply. Wheat provided a product many people needed. People living in
Wisconsin needed grain; new immigrants in the state who wanted to farm needed seed crops;
people all over the world needed wheat for bread. During the 40 years from 1840 until 1880
Wisconsin was considered "America's breadbasket" because about one-sixth of the wheat grown
in the U.S. was grown in Wisconsin. In 1860, Wisconsin wheat farmers produced about 30
million bushels of wheat. The early success of wheat farming helped agriculture in Wisconsin to
develop more rapidly than in other states.
What were the experiences of wheat farmers?
Farming was physically demanding work. Wheat farming had two cycles of plowing,
harrowing, planting, and harvesting each year. After the land was cleared, farmers plowed the
land to break up the soil, then they harrowed the land to smooth the land by breaking up large
chunks of soil. Finally, they could plant wheat by hand or by using a drill. Farmers could raise
two crops of wheat a year. One crop was planted in the early fall, grew during the winter, and
harvested in July. Another crop was planted in the summer after harvesting the first crop and
plowing the land. This crop was harvested before winter. Hand tools were used to harvest wheat
which meant the farmer and three additional workers needed to work all day to harvest about two
acres. With the invention in 1843 of the first harvesting machines, it became easier to harvest
wheat. Other inventions improved on this machine including reapers, machines that tied stalks of
grain into bundles, and threshers which separated wheat grain from the stalks. Farmers often
helped each other with plowing and harvesting.
Why did the dairy industry become more important in Wisconsin's agriculture?
During the 1870s as wheat production declined, farmers were willing to invest in
purchasing good dairy cows, in building fences and sheds for their cattle, and growing crops to
feed dairy cattle such as hay, oats, and corn silage. Wisconsin soil was suited for growing these
crops and farmers profited when they fed them to dairy cattle. Farmers could also take advantage
of land suitable for grazing cattle and the demand for milk, butter, and cheese among people
living in the towns of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Green Bay, and Madison.
After the late 1880s farmers began creating round or cylindrical silos for storing silage for
dairy cattle for feed during the winter. Prior to this time, there was no food for dairy cattle to eat
during the winter to keep them producing milk. When farmers grew corn, they could chop the
corn plants and create silage which was then stored in silos. Silage became proven to benefit milk
production. The corn itself could be ground and mixed with ground corn cobs, oats, and other
grains to make feed for part of the winter diet for the dairy herd. Farmers also stored haylage or
wet hay in silos for winter food for dairy cattle which, along with hay, silage, and feed provided
enough food for dairy cows during the winter. In the summer cows ate alfalfa and grass in
pastures. Farmers may also provide green chop or hay that is still green for cows during this time.
Dairy farming was not a viable industry without year-round milking. With this change, dairy
cows were acquired for over 90% of farms in Wisconsin and by 1900 dairying became a big
business in Wisconsin.
Dairy farmers used different breeds of dairy cattle to produce the milk they needed to be
successful. The Holstein dominates the dairy industry and are distinguished by their black and
white markings. Dairy cows weigh an average of 1500 pounds and are the largest breed of dairy
cattle. Holsteins typically yield over 15,000 pounds of milk per year, the greatest amount among
all the dairy cows. They also do well in cold climates, making them well-suited for Wisconsin.
This breed is the most popular with Wisconsin farmers for the amount of milk produced; the
healthy amount of butterfat in the milk (not as much as Jerseys and Guernseys); and the large size
when sold for beef.
Jerseys' coloring varies from light fawn to almost black with white, gray, brown, or black
spots on some individuals. One distinguishing physical characteristics of the Jerseys is the "dish"
or indentation between the eyes. Sometimes these cows have horns that curve forward and turn
in. Jersey cows are smaller than Guernseys, weighing about 1000 pounds. They also produce less
milk than other breeds of dairy cattle, but their milk has the highest butterfat content. Since cows
are easily managed, often families with only one cow will own a Jersey. Hot weather does not
bother this breed, so Jerseys are popular in southern states.
Guernseys have a yellowish, brownish, or reddish fawn coat with white markings. Some
Guernseys have horns which curve forward and are tapered at the end. Cows weigh about 1100
pounds and when mature yield large quantities of whole milk and cream with skim milk left over
to feed other livestock. However, they do not produce as much milk as Holsteins, but their milk
has more butterfat. Some believe Guernseys are the ideal family cow because of their milk
production. A number of Wisconsin farmers prefer smaller breeds of dairy cattle such as
Guernseys which require less food and less barn space. Some people prefer Guernsey or Jersey
The Brown Swiss have a brown coat which may vary from light brown to dark brown.
Their hoofs are usually black as well as the tips of their horns. Cows weigh about 1400 pounds,
about as large as the Holsteins. They are popular with farmers who have small farms because
they produce about 12,000 pounds of milk per year with little care.
Ayrshires have a red- or brown-and-white spotted coat and cows weigh about 1200
pounds. Although Ayrshires used to have distinguishing horns, most calves today have their
horns removed. Ayrshires and Brown Swiss are similar in amount of milk and butterfat
produced. They give more milk with less butterfat than Guernseys and Jerseys. Ayrshires are
often chosen as the cow for milk production for a family.
In 1851 cheese began to be made in factories and farmers created cooperative factories
for making cheese. After refrigerator railroad cars became available in 1871, cheese could be
shipped outside of Wisconsin to New York where the demand for cheese was great. Colby
cheese, a moist, mild, soft cheese, was originally developed in Wisconsin.
How has the dairy industry influenced the Wisconsin economy?
Wisconsin has been the most important state in producing dairy products and is among
the most important agricultural states in the country. The state is the leading producer of
American, Munster, Brick, Limburger, Italian, and Blue Mold cheeses. Condensed, powdered
milk, and malted milk powder are also important products of Wisconsin's dairy industry. In the
1970s each Wisconsin cow produced about 9,700 pounds of milk a year.
In 1993 California replaced Wisconsin as the leading producer of milk in the U.S.
Wisconsin had held first place in milk production since 1915. The number of dairy farms in
Wisconsin is decreasing, especially those farms of 50 to 500 acres farmed primarily by families
who farm full-time. The current trend is for dairy farms to be larger with more dairy cows in
order to survive economically. From 1987 until 1992 one-fifth of the dairy farms in Wisconsin
ceased to exist. In 1950 there were 143,000 dairy farms in Wisconsin with only 30,000 remaining
in 1994. The reasons for this decline include diminishing profits, very long work days, and a shift
in dairy production to California and other Sunbelt states. Dairy farms are especially diminishing
in southeastern Wisconsin due to increasing residential and commercial development which take
over productive agricultural land. As the number of dairy farms decrease, veterinarians,
implement dealers, and bankers are also affected, leading to the decline in the economy in rural
What have been the experiences of dairy farmers?
Dairy farming requires considerable investment in building a dairy herd; in building
barns, fences and silos; in developing good pasture land; and in acquiring land for growing crops
to feed the cattle. The work of dairying is demanding with milking cows; feeding animals;
working fields; planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops; cleaning the animals' areas; and
maintaining the farm. Women and men family farmers work together to complete all the
A typical day for a dairy farmer begins around 5:30 a.m. when farmers must milk the
cows and ends around 10:00 p.m. after farmers milk cows again. Farmers must also feed the
dairy cows three times a day in order to encourage milk production. Cows eat hay, groundfeed,
silage, and water. Farmers usually grow the oats, corn, and soybeans which are ground and mixed
with purchased salt and minerals to create groundfeed.
Each spring farmers must work the fields through plowing and disking to prepare for
spring planting. Dairy farmers may plant corn, oats, hay, peas, and wheat as food for the dairy
cattle. After the crops have been planted, usually farmers have to cultivate their fields to destroy
weeds and loosen the soil. Dairy farmers also harvest their crops. They may harvest hay green to
feed to dairy cows immediately during the spring, summer, or fall. Dried hay is also harvested in
the summer, but is allowed to dry in the fields before it is baled for storage in barns for feeding to
the herd during the winter. Farmers harvest corn by chopping the entire plant into silage and
storing in the silo or picking the cobs of corn and storing in corn cribs. In addition, farmers may
harvest peas and oats and feed to the dairy cattle immediately like green hay or chopped and
stored in the silo for winter use as silage is.
Farmers must also clean the animals' areas. The barnyard must be cleared of manure
which is then spread on the fields as fertilizer. Farmers clean calf pens, milking areas of the barn,
areas where cows wait to be milked, and where cows sleep during the winter. An important job is
pressure spraying the walls and floors where cows are milked and washing the milking
equipment. Clean hay must also be placed on the floor of the barn for the cows.
1. Prepare a display of lumber, paper, wheat, and dairy products and invite students to observe
what these objects have in common and what differences they have. Invite students to speculate
about how these objects are related to Wisconsin history. Students should first share their ideas in
small groups, then make a class list of commonalities, differences, and relationship to Wisconsin
2. Following this initial activity, encourage students to create individual K-W-L charts about
what they already know about the lumber and agriculture industries in Wisconsin and what they
would like to know about these industries. Follow up questions to stimulate more thinking might
be: What did loggers do? How did loggers take trees from Wisconsin forests? What was it like to
live in a lumber camp? How did logs get from the forests to the sawmills? What happened to the
wood in sawmills? What was it like to work in a sawmill? How is lumber related to the paper
industry today? How is paper made? What is it like to work in a paper plant? What were the first
farms like in Wisconsin? What crops might be grown? What tools might be used? What are
farms like today in Wisconsin? What do farmers do today on these farms?
3. An alternative to the K-W-L charts is the concept maps. In the middle of a piece of paper, have
students write "Lumbering in Wisconsin Then and Now" and include words or phrases in a web
design around the main concept which come to mind when students think of who worked in the
lumber industry in earlier times and currently; what was produced from lumber at different times;
and why this industry has been and continues to be so important in Wisconsin. Another concept
map should be created for "Farming in Wisconsin Then and Now" and students should include
words or phrases which come to mind when students think of what life was like on the first farms
and on current farms; what farms in earlier times produced and what is produced today; and what
tools were used at different times.
4. At intervals during the unit, students should add what they are learning to the L portion of their
K-W-L charts so that by the end of the unit, the chart provides a brief summary of what they have
5. Students may complete another concept map to illustrate their new understandings of
"Lumbering in Wisconsin Then and Now" and "Farming in Wisconsin Then and Now" at the end
of the unit.
6. Students might also keep a journal or learning log in which they regularly write what they are
learning about the lumber and paper industries and about wheat and dairy farming.
1. Ask students to imagine they are a Menominee family in the 1840s. In 1836 their tribe
negotiated a treaty with the U.S. Government in which they sold a great deal of the timber land in
northern Wisconsin (about four million acres) to the U.S. Government for $.16 to $.18 an acre.
After they sold the land, lumber companies began moving in and sawing down trees in northern
Wisconsin. Ask students how they might feel about their homelands being changed by the
lumber companies. Make a class list of possible reactions the students might have. Ask the
students to write a letter to the lumber companies describing their reactions as a Menominee
family to how the lumber companies are changing their homeland.
2. Ask students to compare and contrast the views of people from the lumber industry with
Native people in Wisconsin. Divide the class into two groups. One group will represent people
from the lumber industry in Wisconsin who want to cut trees, convert trees into lumber, and sell
the lumber for a profit to European American immigrants for building homes. One group will
represent Wisconsin Native people who want to use only the lumber they need to live from the
land for building their homes, canoes, and making tools and containers. Each group should
develop a list of what they want from the land and present their list to the other group. Next the
two groups should develop a plan of how they might accommodate each others' wants regarding
the lumber in Wisconsin. Another activity which could be used to bring out the conflicting values
and attitudes toward the environment and natural resources is "A Look at Lifestyles," pages 353-358 from Project Learning Tree: Environmental Education Pre K-8 Activity Guide.
3. Encourage students to find out if any members of their family were involved in the lumber
industry either through logging or through making wood products. Students might interview
these family members about what it was like to work in the lumber industry and share what they
learned with the class.
4. Provide maps of Wisconsin which show the natural resources for students to observe carefully
(see “Early Vegetation, 1840" map from Mapping Wisconsin History: Teacher’s Guide and
Student Materials). Encourage students to discuss in small groups where lumbering, the process
of taking lumber from forested areas, might have occurred in the state and explain their
reasoning. Build on students' ideas to explain where lumbering has occurred in Wisconsin and
where it continues to occur. Show students the map from the brochure "A Look at Wisconsin's
Forests" (from the packet Paper Makes Wisconsin Great: News About Paper for Teachers)
which illustrates the percentage of forest land in each Wisconsin county in 1996. Encourage
students to speculate where lumbering might still be an important industry in Wisconsin.
5. Ask students why wood was so important to people in Wisconsin in the 1800s. Encourage
them to work in small groups to make a list of uses for wood during this period. Then show
pictures from pages 8-17 of Early Loggers and the Sawmill which illustrate different needs for
wood (such as log cabins, plank houses, shingles for roofs, cabinets, musical instruments, barns,
yokes for oxen, furniture, barrels for storage, spinning wheels, and wagons).
6. Show students photocopies of photographs or drawings without captions of life in a lumber
camp; the process of cutting and removing trees from the forest; driving the trees down river;
moving logs into sawmills; and making products from wood. Sources of these photographs
include The Days of Lumbering (folder of photocopied photographs), 19th Century Skills and
Crafts (folder of photocopied photographs and drawings), Lumberjacks and Logging Coloring
Book, Early Loggers and the Sawmill, and Portrait of the Past: A Photographic Journey
Through Wisconsin. Students need to observe the photographs and drawings carefully, speculate,
use background knowledge and any other clues to respond to the questions such as:
What seems to be happening in the picture?
Who seems to be engaging in the activity?
Why are the people engaged in this activity?
What tools and materials are the people using?
What skills do the people need to complete the activity?
What does this picture tell you about the life of the people in the pictures?
7. Divide students into small groups to work together to place the photographs of lumbering in
order telling the sequence of events in lumbering from cutting the trees to making products from
the wood. In addition to explaining the steps in the lumbering process, encourage students to
elaborate on why they placed the photographs in the order they did.
8. Ask students to read Lumberjack which contains the author's experiences of working in a
lumber camp in Ontario in 1946 and 1951. The beautiful paintings contribute significantly to the
value of the text in portraying the author's experiences of eating, sleeping, washing, and relaxing
in the camp; the process of cutting and removing trees from the forests; and the movement of the
logs down river to Lake Superior.
Lead class discussions after students read a section of the text. Encourage students to summarize
what they are learning about life as a lumberjack from the text and illustrations; what the author's
purpose might have been in creating the text; and what they see as important meanings or ideas
from the text.
Students might also record the main ideas they are learning about life as a lumberjack and their
reactions to the text in a journal or learning log. Students may choose to add ideas to their K-W-L
charts or concept maps after they finish the text.
9. Read aloud the letter “He Didn’t Like It” published in 1882 written by an unknown lumber
camp worker who complained about aspects of lumber camp life. Ask students to summarize
what this lumber camp worker disliked about working in the “pinery.” This letter is available
10. Introduce the text Journey Back to Lumberjack Camp to encourage students to read
independently. The text is historical fiction dealing with a lumbering camp in the western Great
Lakes region in the late 1800s. The main character returns in time to work as a cook's helper in a
lumber camp and sleeps in the lumberjack's bunkhouse. Encourage students who complete the
text to share their meanings and reactions to the text with the class. Especially urge students to
distinguish between historical facts and fiction in the text and summarize what they learned about
lumbering from the text.
11. Provide copies of the section "Logging in the Northern Woods" and "The Sherry and Gerry
Logging Camps, Oconto County" on pages 62-66 in Digging and Discovery: Wisconsin
Archaeology for students to read and discuss. This section of the text deals with a brief
explanation of how logs were removed from forests and moved to mills, the different
components of a lumberjack camp, and an example of a camp which was researched through
records and archaeological excavations. Encourage students to summarize any new ideas they
learned about lumbering through the text. For an overview of lumbering in Wisconsin, teachers
should read pages 119-127 “The Logging Era” in Wisconsin: The Story of the Badger State.
12. Ask students to review what they have learned about lumber camps thus far and decide if the
lumber industry leaders used sustainable forestry practices. Ask students to list examples of
lumber workers cutting down some trees; allowing the forest to regenerate or grow trees; and
rotating cutting different age, heights, and species of trees to maintain all tree species in
Wisconsin forests. Encourage the students to explain why sustainable forest practices are
valuable or how maintaining diverse tree species helps the environment (reduces the spread of
disease among a species of trees, protects groundwater and soil, generates oxygen, and protects
animal habitats). For background information, see page 3 from It Started with Fire: The Origins
of Forestry in Wisconsin and pages 1-3 from the spring, 1996 issue of EE News: Environmental
Education in Wisconsin.
13. Lead a field trip to the State Historical Museum in Madison for students to participate in the
docent-led, hands-on program "Timber!" which deals with the seasonal routines of lumbering,
life in a lumber camp, life for families at home when the father was away at a lumber camp, and
the dangers of cutting tall trees and driving trees down river. Following the field trip, encourage
students to summarize what they learned from the program.
14. Assign students to small groups to learn more about lumbering to share with the class. One
group should investigate what lumber camps were like and the varied activities for lumberjacks
in the camps. This group might consult "A Home for the Winter: Lumberjacks in Camp" on
pages 6-17 in the November, 1975 issue of Badger History focusing on Lumbering and pages 32-40 and page 57 in Early Loggers and the Sawmill. Another group should research the process of
cutting down trees and removing them from the forest. This group might gather main ideas from
"Let's Cut 'Em Down and Haul 'Em to the Drink: Lumberjacks in the Forest" on pages 20-29 in
the November, 1975 issue of Badger History and pages 43-47 in Early Loggers and the Sawmill.
A third group should explore the process of moving logs down the river. This group could review
"White Water Men: The Log Drive" on pages 34-43 in the November, 1975 issue of Badger
History, pages 64-66 in Working with Water: Wisconsin Waterways, and pages 48-55 in Early
Loggers and the Sawmill. Each group should develop a visual aid which illustrates the main
ideas, then cooperatively teach what they learned to the rest of the class.
15. Show students the video History of Logging in Wisconsin: King of the Woods (40 minutes
long) which integrates an explanation of old photographs of logging camps in the 19th and early
20th centuries in Wisconsin with an interview with a lumberjack and cook during the 1930s;
historical actors showing the process of cutting and removing logs from the woods; and an old
video of logging on the Menominee Reservation on the Wolf River in 1924. The video especially
provides a clear portrayal of the process of cutting and removing lumber from the woods by
16. Introduce students to the Menominee's involvement in the lumber industry. Explain that the
Menominee also developed a logging business in the 19th century and in 1912, built a sawmill in
Neopit. During the 19th century, logs were cut on the reservation, then floated down the Wolf
River to sawmills in Oshkosh. After the Menominee built their own sawmill, this industry
became very important to their economic well-being. The Menominee also followed a
sustainable yield policy in harvesting lumber. They replanted as they harvested, unlike the
European American lumber companies which cut trees with no thought of future need for wood.
The Menominee's tree conservation policy came from their views of trees as living things and
their efforts to live within nature. Show the video Menominee: Indians of North America (30
minutes in length) which portrays the Menominee's logging activities or refer to The Menominee
by Patricia K. Ourada for background information.
17. Compare and contrast the Menominee's approach to lumbering with European American
lumbering practices. Ask students to list the benefits and problems for each approach. The
Menominee managed the forest on their reservation so they would have trees to cut for future
generations. Menominee loggers cut trees on one side of the reservation and slowly cut trees
while moving to the opposite side of the reservation. By the time loggers finished cutting trees on
one side of the reservation, trees were ready to be cut on the other side. Every 15 years,
Menominee loggers cut the most vulnerable trees and most numerous tree species on a section of
the reservation. The overall result of this approach is an increase in the number of trees and the
maintenance of all tree species native to the region. This approach is called ecosystem
management or sustained yield. In contrast the early European American lumber barons first
clear cut all the white pines and to an extent the red pines, then clear cut the hardwoods. They
had more of a short-term approach, to cut the most trees and produce the greatest income in the
shortest amount of time. For background information on Menominee logging, see "Wisconsin's
Emerald Isle," pages 4-5 in the Spring, 1996 issue of EE News: Environmental Education in
Wisconsin and for European American logging, see It Started with Fire: The Origins of Forestry
in Wisconsin. Another activity which reinforces the differences between selective cutting and
clear cutting is the Logger board game described in Activity 1: The Forest Cutters Versus the
Forest Keepers in (pages 72-77) from Learning from the Land: Wisconsin Land Use Teacher’s
Guide and Student Materials. The game emphasizes the different activities and consequences for
“forest cutters” and for “forest keepers.” Ask students to notice who wins and why.
18. Ask students to summarize what happened to Wisconsin's forests in the 19th century (at first
white pines were nearly wiped out, then the hemlocks, then the hardwoods). Explain that in the
1920s, Wisconsin foresters began to rebuild northern Wisconsin forests. Ask students to listen to
“Mr. Ware, You Were There” from the compact disk The River Rocks! and explain what
happened to the trees according to the song. Then encourage students to elaborate on one
person’s efforts to replant trees (the song discusses the removal of trees from Wisconsin’s forests
to meet immigrants’ need for lumber and the tree replanting work of Walter Ware). Invite
students to respond to the rap “Give It Up for the Trees” on The River Rocks! compact disk and
explain new ideas they gained from this song about the destruction and replanting of Wisconsin’s
forests. “Give It Up for the Trees” portrays the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work in replanting
trees in northern Wisconsin in the 1930s. Read aloud The Lorax and ask students to listen for the
author's purpose in writing this text. After reading the text, ask students why they thought the
author wrote this book and how it might be related to the history of lumbering in Wisconsin. Ask
students to work together in small groups to develop a plan for how the Once-ler family could
produce the Thneeds people needed and still maintain the Truffula trees. Encourage students to
write a different ending for the text in which the economic production of lumber products such as
Thneeds might be balanced with maintaining the Truffula tree population which provides
environmental benefits for people and wildlife. For a more complete description of this activity
see "Trees for Many Reasons" from Sustainable Forestry: Commitment to the Future, a
Teacher's Activity and Resource Guide and "Trees for Many Reasons" from Project Learning
Tree: Environmental Education Pre K-8 Activity Guide (4th edition).
19. Encourage students to speculate why European Americans in Wisconsin were not concerned
about clear cutting forests in the 19th century and what they hoped would happen to the land after
trees were removed. Summarize the European American sentiment at this time that the removal
of trees would lead to producing good farmland, which was more valued than forests. However,
people discovered that the land and climate were not suited for farming and more appropriate for
growing trees. Display different items such as toothpicks, newspaper, piece of wood, wooden
spoon, fruit from a tree, and a pack of chewing gum. Ask students to decide which products are
made from trees (all of them) and to summarize why trees are so important. Encourage students
to discuss what we can learn from historical efforts to convert forest lands to farm land. Why
didn't these strategies work? Why didn't people value trees at this time in history? For
background information on the efforts to convert forest land to farm land, see It Started with
Fire: The Origins of Forestry in Wisconsin and a more complete description of the activity on
tree products, see "We All Need Trees" from Project Learning Tree: Environmental Education
Pre K-8 Activity Guide (4th ed.).
20. Ask students to read chapter 6 “Timber!” from Learning from the Land: Wisconsin Land Use
for ways the lumber industry helped people in Wisconsin (provided income for families and
wood for building homes) and ways it harmed people (increased dangers of fire, polluted rivers,
destroyed old-growth forests). Encourage students to illustrate these benefits and problems and
dramatize what they might say to lumber industry leaders during the 19th century to encourage
them to correct the problems.
21. Show illustrations from pages 18-31 in Early Loggers and the Sawmill which portray
building a sawmill; the necessity of water power to run a sawmill; different kinds of saws used;
the process of moving logs into the mill; cutting the logs; and finishing the wood. Show students
the illustration of the different pieces of lumber which are cut from logs from the booklet "The
Life of the Forest" (contained within the packet Paper Makes Wisconsin Great: News About
Paper for Teachers). Ask students to work in small groups to dramatize some aspect of working
in a sawmill or lumber mill.
22. Distribute Wisconsin desk maps (from Graphic Learning) to students and have them work in
small groups to find as many of the sawmill towns as they can and circle these with transparency
temporary markers. These include: Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Marinette, Oconto, Peshtigo, Wausau,
Stevens Point, Black River Falls, La Crosse, Green Bay, and Chippewa Falls. Ask students to
notice any common characteristics of the physical locations of these towns (their location on
23. Summarize verbally or in writing Otto: The History of Oshkosh Woodworkers for students as
a way of describing what life was like in 1928 for woodworkers in Oshkosh. Encourage students
to summarize what woodworkers did; analyze this work for what was valuable and what were the
challenges; and offer suggestions for improvements in the working conditions in the mill.
24. Invite Clarence Jungwirth to speak to the class about life for lumber mill workers. Clarence
has extensive knowledge of the working conditions, income, and the effects on family life for
workers at the Paine Lumber Company in Oshkosh in the early 20th century. Prior to Clarence's
arrival, brainstorm with students questions they have about life for lumber mill workers which
they can ask during Clarence's talk. Following Clarence's visit, lead a class discussion on the
main characteristics of lumber mill workers' lives and encourage students to write thank you
notes to Clarence summarizing one or two main points they gained from his talk.
25. Introduce the article "Logs to Boxes" on pages 15-19 in the March, 1971 issue of Badger
History magazine focusing on Twentieth Century Industry which students might want to read
independently. The article describes the John Kaiser Lumber Company in Eau Claire which built
wooden boxes from scrap and end timber which could not be used for building materials. The
wooden boxes were purchased by meat-packing businesses and by manufacturers of large home
appliances for packing their products for shipping to distributors.
26. Play some of the songs that talk about lumbering for students to listen to and follow along
with printed copies of the lyrics. Encourage students to explain what the songs tell them about
life for lumberjacks, the mood of the songs, and their reaction to the music. Examples of such
songs include "Old Time Lumberjacks" on the Folktrails cassette recording; "The Pinery Boy,"
"Shantyman's Life," and "Little Brown Bulls" from Folk Music From Wisconsin cassette
recording and printed lyrics; "A-Lumbering We Will Go" and additional versions of "The
Shantyman's Life," "Old Time Lumberjacks" and "Little Brown Bulls" with lyrics, melody line,
and background information printed in Folk Songs Out of Wisconsin: An Illustrated Compendium
of Words and Music; and "The Shanty Boy on the Big Eau Claire," "The Little Eau Pleine,"
"Little Brown Bulls," and "Old-Time Lumberjacks" with lyrics, melody line, and brief
background information printed in the November, 1973 issue of Badger History dealing with
27. Lead a role play reviewing the development of the lumber industry and the beginning of the
paper industry in Wisconsin from 1840 through the early 20th century. Students role play lumber
barons, lumberjacks, furniture makers, carriage makers, door makers, papermakers, sawmill
operators, or paper manufacturers to illustrate the types of trees cut, different jobs in the industry,
transportation of logs and lumber, and where wood was processed in Wisconsin. See the script
“The Story of the Timber Industry in Wisconsin,” pages 102-108 from Mapping Wisconsin
History: Teacher’s Guide and Student Materials.
1. Encourage students to find out if any members of their family have been involved in the paper
industry either by working in pulp or paper mills. Students might interview these family
members about what it was like to work in producing pulp or paper and share what they learned
with the class.
2. Provide maps of Wisconsin which show the natural resources for students to observe carefully.
Encourage students to discuss in small groups where producing paper from wood might have
occurred in the state and explain their reasoning. Ask students to think about what was needed to
produce paper and where these resources exist in the state. Then build on students' ideas to show
that the main paper producing areas in Wisconsin are along important rivers such as, the Fox,
Wisconsin, Chippewa, Menominee, Peshtigo, Eau Claire, and Flambeau Rivers. Show a map of
the Lower Fox and have the students add the locations for the 18 paper and pulp mills along this
3. Show students the video Valley of Paper (30 minutes in length) which illustrates why the
paper industry is located in the Fox River Valley. The video portrays the use of the lower Fox
River's water power in flour mills in the 19th century and the transition to paper and pulp mills
by the end of the 19th century. The video provides the historical context for the development of
new paper products, the air and water pollution problems and the timber shortage of the 20th
century, and the significance of Wisconsin's paper making industry to the state of Wisconsin and
the country. It introduces Wisconsin paper industry's current concern of competition from
southern states in paper production. The first section of the video Paper Makes Wisconsin Great,
“The Magic of Paper”(14 minutes in length), also deals with the invention of paper and the
beginning of the paper industry in Wisconsin. The video is included in the Paper Makes
Wisconsin Great! curriculum. Students might also read “From Gristmills to Paper Mills” on
pages 66-68 in Working with Water: Wisconsin Waterways.
4. Ask students to read the "History of Papermaking" from the activity "Paper Civilizations"
taken from Project Learning Tree: Environmental Education Pre K-8 Activity Guide (4th ed.) to
discover how people learned to make paper. Divide the students into small groups to illustrate
with pictures and words a period in the history of papermaking. Ask the students to place their
pictures in sequence on a timeline or mural and display in the classroom. After students have
observed the completed timeline or mural, ask students to summarize what they learned about
papermaking from it. Other resources for this history are "A Brief History of Papermaking in
Wisconsin" from the packet Paper Makes Wisconsin Great: News About Paper for Teachers and
the lesson plan “From China to Wisconsin: Important Events in Papermaking History” from the
curriculum unit Paper Makes Wisconsin Great!. Show students the large chart "How Paper Came
to America" (from the packet Paper Makes Wisconsin Great: News About Paper for Teachers)
which portrays the movement of paper making from China to Africa to Europe to Mexico to the
United States. Ask students to compare and contrast their timeline or mural to this chart. What
similarities and differences do they notice?
5. For a general introduction to paper, its qualities, uses, production, and the importance of
recycling, read aloud the picture book Paper by Claire Llewellyn. Encourage students to
summarize any new ideas gained from the text.
6. Invite someone from the students' families or another member of the community to serve as a
guest speaker about what it is like to work in a paper or pulp mill. Encourage the speaker to bring
pictures or objects from their work to illustrate aspects of their job. Prior to the guest speaker's
arrival, brainstorm questions the students might ask the guest speaker about the paper industry
and let the guest speaker know in advance what the main questions are. Students might also refer
to the W (Want to Learn) portion of their K-W-L charts for questions. Additional information
about careers in papermaking can be found in the lesson plan “What Should I Be? What About a
Papermaker?” from the curriculum unit Paper Makes Wisconsin Great!
7. Invite Jeff Johnson, Director of Public Relations from Wisconsin Tissue in Menasha to speak
about the different jobs in the paper industry; the benefits and drawbacks of these jobs; and the
main products produced by the paper industry today. Prior to the guest speaker's arrival, have the
students brainstorm questions they might have about working in the paper industry and the kinds
of paper products made by the paper industry. Following Mr. Johnson's presentation, the students
could ask their questions.
8. Show students the video "Wisconsin Tissue Mills: Second Nature Plus" (9 minutes in length)
from Wisconsin Tissue on the environmental impact of the company's production of tissues,
towels, and napkins from recycled materials. Ask students to explain why making new products
from recycled materials is good for the environment. Investigate which paper mills in the Fox
Valley do not use recycled materials. Ask students to write letters to paper mills to persuade them
to use recycled materials.
9. Show students the video "Papermaking/Recycling" (12 minutes in length) which illustrates the
paper making process made from recycled paper at Wisconsin Tissue. Make a class chart
summarizing the steps in the paper making process. Students might depict each step in the
process. Encourage students to discuss the steps in making paper from wood as illustrated on the
chart “The Fine Art of Paper-Making” included in the Paper Makes Wisconsin Great! curriculum
unit. Students might dramatize how wood changes into paper.
10. Provide copies of "From Pulp to Paper" on pages 44-49 and "Paper Products" on page 9 in
the March, 1971 issue of Badger History which deals with Twentieth Century Industry. The
article deals with how the paper industry got started in Wisconsin, where paper and pulp mills are
located, the steps in paper making, and the types of paper products made. Show students the chart
"The Fine Art of Paper-Making" which illustrates the steps in making paper from the fall, 1996
issue of Paper News available from the Wisconsin Paper Council. Explain that this chart is
written in adult language, but we need to write it for other elementary students to read. Ask
students to work in small groups to rewrite the explanation for each step in simpler language.
11. Lead students through the papermaking process by either demonstrating it or having students
work in small groups at stations. Review the steps before beginning and what students learned
from the process at the end. Ask students what materials were needed to make paper, how
papermaking might harm the environment, and why recycling paper is important. Encourage
students to consider ways the papermaking industry might protect the environment during the
papermaking process. For a more complete description of this activity, see "Make Your Own
Paper" from Project Learning Tree: Environmental Education Pre K-8 Activity Guide (4th ed.).
12. Ask students to illustrate how the paper industry might damage the environment through
depletion of forests, pollution of the water and air, and production of waste for landfills. Then
review ways the paper industry has protected forests, reduced air and water pollution, and
minimized solid waste (see the lesson plan “Papermaking and the Environment–A Lesson in
Stewardship” from the Paper Makes Wisconsin Great! curriculum unit). Encourage students to
illustrate these efforts to protect the environment and compare with the first drawings.
13. Read the picture book A River Ran Wild aloud to the class or provide multiple copies for the
class to read the text together. Ask the students to notice the similarities and differences between
the Nashua River in Massachusetts and the Fox River in Wisconsin. Encourage the students to
describe the river when Native Americans lived next to it, when European Americans moved in,
then when paper and pulp mills were built on the river. Discuss the effects of the paper and pulp
mills on the river and how citizens helped clean the river. Invite students to complete some
research on paper industry’s pollution of the Fox River and what has been done to stop the
pollution and clean the river. A guest speaker from the Department of Natural Resources could
elaborate on the paper industry’s pollution of the Fox River and clean-up efforts.
1. Encourage students to discover if anyone in their family was ever involved in wheat farming.
Students might interview family members to find out more about family members' experiences of
wheat farming and share what they learned with the class.
2. Read aloud the poem Heartland which introduces the importance of agriculture in the
Midwest to the rest of the country. Invite students to respond to the poem's meanings or mood
and why the author might have written this poem.
3. Provide copies of The Kelley Farm Activity Book which portrays in a coloring book format
farming activities in the 1860s when farmers used horses for plowing, planting, cultivating, and
harvesting in comparison to the first farming activities used by immigrants in the early 1800s.
The book shows the change from using oxen to using horses, from planting by hand to planting
by horse-drawn "grain drill" and "corn planter" machines, from cultivating by hand to cultivating
with horses and plows, from harvesting wheat with hand tools to using horse-driven harvesting
machines, from threshing (separating the grain from the plant) by hand to threshing by horse-powered threshing machines. Encourage students to summarize what they learned about farming
in the 1860s when Wisconsin farmers were primarily growing wheat and analyze and evaluate
the challenges of farming during this period.
4. Provide copies for students to read of "Wheat is King!" on pages 4-11 from the March, 1977
issue of Badger History which deals with Wisconsin Agriculture. Encourage students to read to
find out why so many Wisconsin farmers planted wheat in the 1840s and 1850s and why farmers
stopped growing wheat in the 1880s. Make a class list of "Reasons to Grow Wheat" and
"Reasons to Stop Growing Wheat" to summarize what students learned from the reading. For
background on wheat farming, read pages 127-130 “Agricultural Revolution” in Wisconsin: The
Story of the Badger State.
5. Make photocopies from photographs contained within the text Portrait of the Past: A
Photographic Journey Through Wisconsin. The text depicts 19th century farming in Wisconsin,
including clearing the land, removing stumps, plowing, threshing grain, and taking wheat to the
mill. Ask students to observe the photographs carefully, speculate, use background knowledge
and any other clues to respond to the questions. Ask students to discuss:
What seems to be happening in the picture?
Who seems to be involved in the activity?
Why do you think they are involved in this activity?
What tools and materials are the people using?
What does this picture tell you about the lives of early Wisconsin farmers?
6. Show students the beautiful, detailed paintings of farm life from the text A Time to Harvest:
The Farm Paintings of Franklin Halverson. Examples might include watering horses (pages 32-33), a blacksmith shoeing horses (pages 52-53), taking wheat to a flour mill (pages 58-59),
threshing grain (pages 76-77), harvesting oats (similar to harvesting wheat, shown on pages 74-75), raising a barn (pages 70-71), and traveling by bobsled in winter (pages 102-103). Explain
that these paintings were done by a farmer and illustrate what life was like on a small family farm
in the early 1900s before farmers used tractors. Although the paintings reflect farming in Iowa,
many represent farming in Wisconsin during the same era. Ask students to observe each painting
carefully and offer ideas for these questions:
What does this painting show?
How do the people shown seem to feel about this activity?
Why was this activity important for early Wisconsin farmers?
7. Encourage students to review the text The Gristmill which contains photographs and drawings
of 18th and 19th century gristmills. The photographs and drawings provide valuable
embellishments of the text in illustrating the process of building a gristmill, the purpose of water
in running a gristmill, how wheat was ground into flour, and the miller’s activities. Obtain a
mortar and pestle and some wheat kernels for students to try grinding the wheat into flour.
Encourage students to speculate on the amount of time needed to grind enough flour to make a
loaf of bread.
8. Ask students to read “Milling” on page 66 in Working with Water: Wisconsin Waterways to
learn more about the importance of flour mills in the 19th century in Wisconsin.
1. Encourage students to discover if anyone in their family was ever involved in dairy farming.
Students should interview these family members to find out more about the experiences of dairy
farming and share what they learned with the class.
2. Invite someone from the students' families or another person currently involved in dairy
farming to serve as a guest speaker for the class. The guest speaker might show pictures or a
video of their farm, show objects used in dairy farming, and describe the main activities of dairy
farming. Prior to the guest speaker's arrival, brainstorm questions the students might ask the
guest speaker about dairy farming and let the guest speaker know in advance what the main
questions are. Students might also refer to the W (Want to Learn) portion of their K-W-L charts
3. Provide maps of Wisconsin which show the natural resources for students to observe carefully.
Encourage students to discuss in small groups where dairy farming might have occurred in the
state and explain their reasoning. Ask students to think about what kind of physical environment
(vegetation, terrain, and climate) is best for raising dairy cows and growing crops to feed these
cows. Show the maps illustrating the highlands and lowlands of Wisconsin, “Growing Seasons,”
“Early Vegetation, 1840," and “Dairyland, 1932" from Mapping Wisconsin History: Teacher’s
Guide and Student Materials to assist students as they complete their predictions.
4. Show students the video "America's Dairyland," program 8 of Exploring Wisconsin Our Home
(15 minutes in length) which deals with dairy farming today and how it has changed from earlier
dairy farming. The video explains current methods of milking, the amount of food cows need,
and how milk is made into cheese. Prior to showing the video, encourage students to watch for
what farmers must do to help their dairy cows produce milk and what they do with the milk after
it comes from the cow. After the video, have students first discuss in small groups what they
learned about dairy farming, then discuss as a whole class and list important ideas. As a follow-up to the video, read aloud Century Farm: One Hundred Years on a Family Farm which
illustrates the changes on a dairy farm during five generations the farm was owned by one family
in Wisconsin. Ask students to notice modifications in how crops are grown to feed the dairy
cattle, the number of dairy cows, and how they are milked each day. For background reading on
the transition from wheat to dairy farming and the growth of dairy farming, teachers should read
pages 130-134 “Agricultural Revolution” in Wisconsin: The Story of the Badger State.
5. Show students the video "Wisconsin Agriculture" which reviews the importance of wheat on
19th century farms in Wisconsin; machines that were invented to help wheat farmers; the change
to dairy farming; and life on a dairy farm today. Prior to showing the video, encourage students
to watch for what it was like to farm wheat in earlier times and what it is like to be a dairy farmer
today. After the video, have students share important ideas about wheat and dairy farming they
gained and make a class list.
6. Read aloud or obtain multiple copies of Back Roads: Dairy Country for students to read in
small groups. Encourage students to read or listen to discover (1) how, why, and when milking
cows came to Wisconsin; (2) where most dairy farms are located in Wisconsin and possible
reasons for this pattern; (3) the main activities on a dairy farm; (4) the different types of dairy
cows and characteristics of their milk production; and (5) challenges of dairy farming today. Ask
students to work in small groups to illustrate main ideas from each aspect of dairy farming on a
7. Make copies of the sections "Farms across Wisconsin (. . . Or You Can't Eat Lead and Pine
Trees)" and "The Two Pits Site: A Failed Farm in Douglas County" on pages 66-70 in Digging
and Discovery: Wisconsin Archaeology for the students to read and discuss. The section provides
a brief overview of farming in Wisconsin from the early wheat farms to later dairy farms and the
decline in farming today. It also deals with the site of a farm in northern Wisconsin which was
not successful and learned more about components of the farm through archaeological
excavations. Encourage students to contribute any new ideas they learned about farming in
8. Ask students to read chapter 7 “From Wheat to Milk and More” from Learning from the Land:
Wisconsin Land Use for reasons why wheat farming became prevalent, then declined, and why
dairy farming became so important as an industry in Wisconsin. Students may draw concept
maps to summarize influences on wheat farming (farmers’ familiarity with wheat growing, wheat
required little care and equipment, whet depleted soil, and chinch bugs ate wheat) and dairy
farming (silos stored winter food for dairy cattle, farmers’ familiarity with dairy farming, new
cheese factories were built to process milk, and improved roads to deliver milk).
9. Read aloud or invite students to read independently Farming Today Yesterday's Way which
illustrates the use of draft horses and other 19th century farming methods still used on a small
dairy farm in Wisconsin. Encourage students to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these
farming methods. As a contrast to 19th century farming methods, read aloud the picture book
Fantastic Farm Machines, which illustrate the advanced, efficient farm machines used on large
dairy farms in Wisconsin in the 21st century. Ask students to compare and contrast the use of
tractors and other farm machines to the use of horses in terms of their fuel consumption, effects
on the environment, ease of use, and productivity.
10. First share the beautiful paintings of Threshing Days: The Farm Paintings of Lavern
Kammerude with students which illustrate life on southwestern Wisconsin farms from the late
1910s through the mid 1940s. Invite students to express what they learned about dairy farming in
Wisconsin by carefully observing the paintings. Record all the observations. Elaborate on
students' observations with ideas from the text. The paintings and detailed explanations depict
planting crops in spring, taking milk to the cheese factory, making hay, milking, threshing, farm
women preparing and serving the big dinner for the threshing crew, and filling silos.
11. Another text which contain equally beautiful, detailed paintings of farm life is A Time to
Harvest: The Farm Paintings of Franklin Halverson. Explain that these paintings were done by a
farmer and illustrate what life was like on a small family farm in the early 1900s before farmers
used tractors. Although the paintings reflect farming in Iowa, many represent farming in
Wisconsin during the same era. Ask students to observe the paintings, add to the observations
made of the paintings in Threshing Days and compare students' observations with the narrative
from the text. The paintings illustrate picking corn (pages 81-83), shocking corn (page 84-85),
and milking cows (pages 34-35).
12. Invite students to read "A Farm Boy Remembers" on pages 20-29 in the March, 1977 issue of
Badger History which deals with Wisconsin Agriculture. The article is a first-person story of a
man's memories of growing up on a farm in Wisconsin in the 1870s. The author tells about the
kinds of work he did on the farm as a boy and the different tools used in growing wheat and
taking care of dairy cows. For those students who complete the reading, encourage them to
describe their favorite activities if they had lived on this farm in the 1870s.
13. Encourage students to read "Becoming America's Dairyland" on pages 34-44 in the March,
1977 issue of Badger History which deals with Wisconsin Agriculture or "America's Dairyland"
on pages 5-15 in the January, 1971 issue of Badger History concentrating on Dairying in
Wisconsin to find out why farmers turned to dairy farming rather than wheat farming. Both
articles explain why farmers changed from growing wheat to dairying and the early days of dairy
farming in Wisconsin. Have students work in small groups to list as many factors as they can find
which helped dairy farmers to be successful, then make a class list.
14. Introduce students to the article "Adda F. Howie and the 'Kindness Farm'" from the January,
1971 issue of Badger History which deals with Dairying in Wisconsin. The article provides a
description of Adda Howie and her ideas on taking exceptional care of dairy cows in order to
help them give milk. At the time Adda Howie was living, her ideas were seen as humorous.
Encourage students to discuss which ideas Ms. Howie had which are now seen as important for
farmers to do in order to encourage greater milk production and safer milk.
15. Ask students to speculate how dairy farmers in the late 1800s proved the milk they sold was
high quality and how customers at stores might have felt about poor quality milk. Then ask
students to read aloud the play “Mr. Babcock’s Invention” from the text Wisconsin History on
Stage: Scripts for Grades 4 Through 8 to find out what this invention was. Students might work
in small groups to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this invention for farmers and milk
16. Read aloud The Milk Makers which describes and illustrates clearly when dairy cows can
produce milk; the food dairy cows eat; how dairy cows' bodies produce milk; the process of
milking dairy cows; and how the milk is processed for sale in stores. Encourage students to
discuss what they learned about dairy farming from the text and what farmers must do to help
cows produce milk. Another text which depicts many of the same aspects of the dairy industry is
Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More, which focuses on a Holstein dairy cow living with
1200 other cows on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. The text also illustrates the many
products Clarabelle produces, including calves, milk, and manure to make clean bedding,
electricity, and fertilizer for the farm’s soil. A much simpler text with similar content in less
depth is Milk which students might enjoy browsing through.
17. Read aloud or invite students to read A Visit to the Dairy Farm which describes and
illustrates with photographs a class field trip to a dairy farm in Wisconsin. The students learn
about dairy cows, heifers, and calves; observe cows being milked, and the milk being taken away
in a milk truck. Students could explain what new knowledge they gained from this text in
comparison to The Milk Makers. Ask students to explore Internet sources which portray dairy
farming today, including a virtual field trip to the Condons dairy farm in Horicon, Wisconsin on
the web site “Agriculture in the Classroom.” Teachers will also find grade 4-6 lesson plans for
teaching “Wisconsin Farm and Food Connections” in the link “Wisconsin AG in the Classroom”
18. For students interested in dramatizing seasonal activities on farms, encourage them to read
Farming by Gail Gibbons. Although this text focuses on different kinds of farms, it provides a
simple explanation of characteristics of each season and inside and outside chores which need to
be done. The illustrations show a typical Wisconsin barn with a large silo and Holstein dairy
cattle. Another text which describes seasonal activities on a farm is Farm by Elisha Cooper. It
illustrates main farm buildings, equipment, animals, and people, and farming duties beginning
with spring planting and fertilizing, through summer growing and selling garden produce, to fall
harvesting and storing corn in silos. Encourage students to select the seasonal activities
associated with dairy farming to dramatize for the class.
19. Divide students into small groups to complete research on the different breeds of dairy cows
found in Wisconsin, including Holsteins, Jerseys, Guernseys, Brown Swiss, and Aryshires. Ask
students to discover how cows became so important in Wisconsin by reviewing pages 26 -31 in
the student booklet This Business Called Agriculture. Students should summarize and illustrate
the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each breed. A class book or bulletin board
might be created from the students' illustrations and summaries. Students could consult the text
Wonders of Dairy Cattle and the article "Dairy Cows" on pages 18-25 from the January, 1971
issue of Badger History which focuses on Dairying in Wisconsin.
20. Lead a field trip to the State Historical Museum in Madison to participate in the guided
program "Life on the Farm" which focuses on children's chores who lived on Wisconsin farms in
the mid 1800s; the importance of children's work on farms; and recreation and school in rural
Wisconsin. The program provides hands-on activities with objects and agricultural products to
enrich students' learning. Following the field trip, lead a class discussion in which students share
new knowledge they gained from the program.
21. Bring in samples of cheese for students to taste and compare and contrast. Students might
record the name of the cheese, color, texture (smoothness), and taste for each cheese. Provide
samples of Colby cheese since this type was invented in Wisconsin.
22. As students taste the cheese, ask them to watch the video “Wisconsin Cheese” (14 minutes)
to find out why people in Wisconsin began producing cheese after they settled in the state in the
19th century and how different kinds of cheese are made. Ask students to summarize main ideas
they learned from the video.
23. Ask students to speculate about how new immigrants to Wisconsin had enough milk to make
cheese if they had only a few cows. Then read aloud the play “Cheese for the Mousetrap: Anne
Pickett and Wisconsin’s Dairy Co-operatives” from the text Wisconsin History on Stage: Scripts
for Grades 4 Through 8 to find out how immigrants cooperated in making cheese.
24. For students interested in learning more about how cheese is made, encourage them to read
"Wisconsin is the Home of Colby Cheese" on pages 46-51 in the January, 1971 issue of Badger
History which focuses on Dairying in Wisconsin. They might share what they learned about
cheese production from the reading and additional research.
25. Encourage students to read about the process of making mozzarella cheese, beginning with
the milk from Annabelle, a Holstein cow living on a Wisconsin farm described in Extra Cheese,
Please! Mozzarella’s Journey from Cow to Pizza. After Annabelle has a calf, she produces
enough milk in one year to make 1,800 pizzas. The text describes the amount of food Annabelle
needs to maintain her milk production, the process of milking her, the transportation of her milk
to a cheese factory, and all the steps involved in making mozzarella cheese. Ask students to
compare the process of making mozzarella cheese to producing Colby cheese. Challenge students
to evaluate the dairy farmers’ decision to feed Annabelle seven tons of food a year in order to
produce 40,000 glasses of milk.
Family Involvement Activities
1. At the beginning of the unit, introduce the unit to families, explaining the main goals,
activities, and expectations for the students. Invite families to participate in the unit in any of
a. Allowing their child to interview them about family members' experiences in the logging or
b. Agreeing to be interviewed by their child about their experiences of working in a pulp or paper
c. Serving as a guest speaker for the class describing their work in a paper or pulp mill and
showing pictures or objects related to their work.
d. Allowing their child to interview them about family members' experiences with wheat
e. Agreeing to be interviewed by their child about their experiences of dairy farming.
f. Serving as a guest speaker for the class describing their work on a dairy farm and showing
pictures, a video, or objects related to their work.
Overall Assessment Strategies
1. Students' initial individual K-W-L charts about the lumber and agriculture industries in
Wisconsin could be saved and compared with K-W-L charts completed by the end of the unit to
show students' gains in knowledge during the unit. Analyze students' work for understanding of
main ideas regarding the lumber and paper industries and wheat farming and dairy farming.
2. Students' individual concept maps showing what they knew about "Lumbering in Wisconsin
Then and Now" and "Farming in Wisconsin Then and Now" completed at the beginning of the
unit could be saved and compared with concept maps completed at the end of the unit. Analyze
students' work for understanding of main ideas related to the lumber and paper industries and
wheat and dairy farming.
3. Students' journals or learning logs could be analyzed for understanding main ideas of lumber
and paper industries and wheat and dairy farming.
4. At the beginning of the unit, as a class, brainstorm what is important to learn from the unit,
different ways students might express this knowledge, and criteria for evaluating the final
product. For example, the students and teacher might agree everyone should learn at least two
main ideas about the lumber industry, about the paper industry, about wheat farming, and about
dairy farming. Students should express these ideas through writing, drawing, creating music, or
creating a display. The students as well as the teacher evaluate the final product using the agreed-upon criteria.
5. Students might save all samples of their work from the unit and select those which illustrate
significant ideas they learned for their portfolio.
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Midwest Videos, 800-848-4188)
Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and the Department of Public Instruction.
(Producers). (1995). Exploring Wisconsin our home [Video]. (Available from the
Department of Public Instruction, Madison, WI)
Wisconsin Tissue. (Producer). Papermaking/recycling [Video]. (Available from Jeff Johnson,
Wisconsin Tissue, Menasha, WI, 920-725-7031).
Brandt, Mary. Dairy Farmer. Hortonville, Wisconsin.
Johnson, Jeff. Director of Public Relations, Wisconsin Tissue. P. O. Box 489, Menasha,
Jungwirth, Clarence. Oshkosh historian. Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Menominee Logging Camp Museum, Keshena, Wisconsin, (715) 799-3757. (Call to arrange tour
and ask for group rate.)
State Historical Museum, 30 North Carroll Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703-2707, (608) 264-6555. (Museum docent-led programs must be scheduled one month in advance, are
available Wednesdays or Fridays from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., last one hour, and cost
$2.00 per child.)
He didn’t like it. (1882). Letter by an unknown contributor, printed in the Chippewa Herald,
1882. Microforms Section, State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library. Wisconsin
Stories: Documents & Teaching Tools.
Cullinan, K. (n.d.). Agriculture in the Classroom: Virtual Field Trips. Available from the
Agriculture in the Classroom Web site: http://www.agclassroom/teacher/trips.htm.
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. (2002). Wisconsin AG in the Classroom. Available:
Wisconsin History Units
Teaching Social Studies