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Interpreting the Evidence

Weighing Milk

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Weighing Milk, c. 1940 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Department of Agriculture milk inspector weighs milk in a barnand a farmer milks a cow, circa 1940.
Historical Context
New York is the nation's third-largest producer of dairy products, and milk is New York's leading agricultural product. Dairy farms can be found all across the state. The dairy industry accounts for one-half of the state's agricultural receipts. In 2004, New York produced 11.7 billion pounds of dairy products, worth $1.95 billion.
Essential Question
How does industrialization change a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of industrialization on these workers and their local community.


Historical Challenges
New York is the nation's third largest dairy producer. What other states are in the top ten? Graph the top ten by production and make a key.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: A cow on Farmer Brown’s dairy farm can produce 1 pint a day of milk. How many cows would be needed to produce 1 gallon of milk?
Science: What kind of scale is being used in this picture? How does this scale work? Who invented it?
English Language Arts: Write a daily schedule for a dairy worker.