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Interpreting the Evidence

Weighing Milk, c. 1940

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    The Great Depression and WW II (1929 - 1945)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Comprehension

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • 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 barn and 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.