Teach PA History
Gather the Stones!
What to Know
Teaching Time
One 50-minute session
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Ecology and Environment
  • Economics
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
  • Science and Technology
Historical Period
  • Colonization and Settlement - 1601-1760
  • New Nation - 1761-1800
In this elementary level lesson, students will explore the purpose and importance of a gristmill to early Pennsylvanians. The procedures for creating flour will be reviewed and the importance of mills will be demonstrated through the order of General George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army, to remove grist millstones in proximity to the British troops. During the American Revolution steps had to be taken to deprive the enemy of potential supplies. Control of local resources by both the British and Continental armies was an economic battle within the larger military conflict.


1. Discuss the way bread is made. 2. Use documents and photographs to identify the ways in which gristmills impacted the lives and activities of rural communities. 3. Write an informative directive explaining to the community why the colonial forces are dismantling the gristmill.

Standards Alignment

  • Economics

    6.4.3. A. Define specialization and the concept of division of labor.
    6.4.3. B. Explain why people trade.

  • Environment and Ecology

    4.4.4. D. Identify technology and energy use associated with agriculture.

  • History

    8.2.3. B. Identify and describe primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history.
    8.2.3. C. Identify and describe how continuity and change have influenced Pennsylvania history.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.4.3. B. Write informational pieces.

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