Lesson Plan

Soldier Fare

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Colonial History, Health, Mathematics, Military and Wartime History, Nutrition, Revolutionary War, Social Studies
Duration:
20-25 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
NYS:
Gr. 4: Colonial/Rev Per., The Rev War in NYS
Gr. 5: US Hist
Gr. 7: Un. 2, Sec. 3, Cont. C; Un. 3, Sec. 4, Cont.C 1-6
NYSED Content:
1,2,5
US:
Gr. 4; St. 3 D,E
Gr. 5,7,8; Era 2 St. 1 B; 2 C; 3 B,C; Era 3 St.1 C; 2 C
Keywords:
Battle of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, Saratoga Battlefield, Revolutionary War, American Revolution, military history, history, social studies, mathematics, nutrition

Overview

Food is something everyone can relate to, in some form or another. For soldiers in the American Revolution, it was fairly simple: poor quality, and not much of it.  This activity looks at what soldiers ate and how armies fed their troops.

Objective(s)

 Students will be able to:

  1. list four foods generally eaten by American Revolutionary War soldiers
  2. calculate amounts of food and water needed to supply soldiers of that time period
  3. develop an understanding of the hardships of life for a Revolutionary War soldier


Background

Soldiers during the American Revolution received a daily ration of food.  This was usually of low quality, and many times in minimal amounts.  Accounts exist of soldiers sometimes having to go days with very little to no food at all.  

For the armies trying to supply the soldiers, even these meager amounts of food and water added up, creating a major logistical challenge.  How did they manage to take care of all those men?  In some cases, they didn't, at least not very well.  The infamous winter at Valley Forge was more a supply failure than a weather catastrophe.

Such challenges as supplying food and water for an entire army were just part of the total picture of life for soldiers in the American Revolution.  Then, as now, a soldier's life is very difficult.  Few of us will ever experience such extremes, but we can begin to develop an understanding of, and perhaps a respect for, what those soldiers endured.

Materials

 Downloadable PDF documents:

"Soldier Fare" student worksheet

Teacher's answer key

Procedure

Assessment

 Downloadable PDF answer key available.

Park Connections

Whether a class is able to visit the park in person or through a virtual tour, this activity gives students a better understanding of and empathy for the hardships of soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

Extensions

Have students plan a menu, using foods they enjoy, for different numbers of people.  

Have a school cafeteria manager talk with the class about how school menus are planned, supplies ordered, and meals prepared.

Additional Resources

Downloadable PDF document: Student Research Packet

Vocabulary

RATION --general term for the amount of food a soldier was given each day
PINT --unit of liquid measure, equal to 16 ounces, or twice the average school milk carton, or a little less than a 20-ounce bottled soft drink
SALT PORK --a portion of pork, usually of poor quality, preserved by immersion in raw salt or extremely salty water, usually for weeks or months at a time