Teach PA History
It's Just a Barn
What to Know
Teaching Time
Two 50-minute sessions
Grade Level
Middle School
  • Ecology and Environment
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Geography
  • History
  • Science and Technology
Historical Period
  • New Nation - 1761-1800
  • Expansion and Reform - 1801-1855
  • Civil War and Reconstruction - 1856-1876
  • Contemporary Pennsylvania - 1975 to Present
In this middle school level lesson, students will learn the importance of the Pennsylvania Barn to the development of agriculture through its diffusion to other farming regions. They will examine the architectural features of the Pennsylvania Barn, relate its structure to the physical features of the land, and study the evolution of agricultural practices due to mid-19th century emphases on increased agriculture education and experimentation.


Students will be able to: 1. Identify the recurring elements of a Pennsylvania Barn. 2. Explain why the Pennsylvania Barn was developed. 3. Correlate the diffusion of the Pennsylvania Barn with the physiographic regions where it is most prevalent. 4. Summarize the life of Frederick Watts and his impact on the field of agriculture.

Standards Alignment

  • Environment and Ecology

    4.4.7.D. Explain the improvement of agricultural production through technology.

  • Geography

    7.3.6. A. Describe the human characteristics of places and regions by their population characteristics.
    7.3.6.B. Describe the human characteristics of places and regions by their cultural characteristics.
    7.3.6.D. Describe the human characteristics of places and regions by their economic activities.

  • History

    8.2.6. B. Identify and explain primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history from Beginnings to 1824
    8.2.6. C. Identify how continuity and change have influenced settlement patterns (e.g. Development of towns)

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.1.8.G. Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text, including public documents.
    1.2.8.A. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
    1.5.8.B. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
    1.5.8.G. Present and/or defend written work for publication when appropriate.
    1.6.8. D. Contribute to discussions.
    1.8.8.B. Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.

  • Science and Technology

    3.1.7.C. Identify patterns as repeated processes or recurring elements in science and technology.

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