• How did farming change the land?
  • What was the role of barter in the village economy?
  • How did women’s work change?

Unit Frame

Here is a unit frame outlining an approach to teaching about village life in 19th-century Vermont and New Hampshire. For a similar unit frame about the founding and early settlement of these towns, see the Flow of History’s Early Settlement Toolkit

Topic/Title Village Life in Vermont and New Hampshire
Overview This unit investigates the formation and evolution of communities in Vermont and New Hampshire through the middle of the 19th century, with an emphasis on settlement patterns, landscape change, and economic development.
Enduring Understandings
  • All human activity has impacts on the land.
  • Settlement patterns and ways of making a living in our communities changed over time as people developed new ways of using natural resources.
Essential Question
  • What are the relationships between people, geography, and culture?
Focusing Questions
  • How did farming change the land?
  • What was the role of barter in the village economy?
  • How did women’s work change?
Background Information Freedom and Unity: Building Communities
Vermont History Explorer: Maps
Suggested Resources Children’s Books:

  • Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola
  • The Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall
  • Lyddie; Jip: His Story, by Katherine Paterson

Background Reading:

  • Dan Albers, Hands on the Land
  • David Foster, New England Forests through Time
  • The Debit Economy of 1830s New England
  • Richard Ewald, Proud to Live Here: In the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire

Primary Sources:

Content Grade Expectations for Vermont
H&SS3-4:8 Students connect the past with the present by…

  • Explaining differences between historic and present day objects in Vermont, and identifying how the use of the object and the object itself changed over time.
  • Describing ways that life in the community and Vermont has both changed and stayed the same over time
H&SS3-4:9 Students show understanding of how humans interpret history by…

  • Identifying and using various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
H&SS3-4:11 Students interpret geography and solve geographic problems by…

  • Observing, comparing, and analyzing patters of local and state land use to understand why particular locations are sued for certain human activities.
H&SS3-4:12 Students show understanding of human interaction with the environment over time by…

  • Describing how people have changed the environment in Vermont for specific purposes.
  • Recognizing patterns of voluntary and involuntary migration in Vermont.
Inquiry Grade Expectations for Vermont
Students initiate an inquiry by.
Asking relevant and focusing questions based on what they have seen, what they have read, what they have listened to, and/or what they have researched.
New Hampshire Curriculum Framework: Social Studies
SS:EC:4:2.1: Explain why needs and wants are unlimited while resources are limited. (Themes: C: People, Places and Environment, D: Material Wants and Needs)
SS:EC:4:3.1: Illustrate cycles of economic growth and decline, e.g., New Hampshire manufacturing or agriculture. (Themes: D: Material Wants and Needs, F: Global Transformation, G: Science, Technology, and Society)
SS:EC:4:4.1: Describe different methods people use to exchange goods and services, e.g., barter or the use of money. (Themes: D: Material Wants and Needs)
SS:GE:4:1.5: Recognize the causes and consequences of spatial interaction on Earth’s surface, e.g., the origin of consumer goods or transportation routes. (Themes: C: People, Places and Environment, D: Material Wants and Needs, F: Global Transformation)
SS:HI:4:4.3: Investigate the evolution of the United States economy, e.g., the transition from farms to factories or the trend from small local stores to shopping malls. (Themes: D: Material Wants and Needs, G: Science, Technology, and Society)
SS:HI:4:5.3: Trace the changes in the roles and lives of women and children and their impact on society, e.g., the family or the workplace. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, I: Patterns of Social and Political Interaction)