George’s Farm Animals in the Classroom

TOPICS: Animals and Agriculture, Video

by Caitlin Conley, Research Assistant
April 24, 2015

We recently produced a series of short, educational videos called “George’s Farm Animals,” which directly feature GW’s documents. Even though the videos focused in turn on his cattle, sheep, hogs, and mules, the documents concerning these animals also show his daily life at Mount Vernon, the importance of agriculture in the United States, his network of foreign connections, and even a glimpse of his elusive personal side. We hoped that educators would find them useful in classrooms, and that kids would enjoy learning about George and his monumental achievements from the perspective of his daily home life.

Emily Marrs is a public educator who teaches second grade at Foothills Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She generously agreed to show “George Washington’s Black Cattle,” featuring George’s cows, to her second graders and to tell us if they found it interesting. Here are the comments they gave her:

AM class

What was your favorite part of the video?

  • Walking into the manure
  • Liked learning about George Washington
  • Everything about the manure!
  • Hearing the letters that he wrote
  • Seeing the animals
  • The music was nice and felt calm
  • That the girl had a coat like mine! (one of my girls has a coat like yours!)
  • That it was on a farm

What is something new that you learned from the video?

  • That he liked cattle
  • That he had a thousand animals on his farm
  • Manure was gold!
  • He had five farms
  • He liked animals
  • He was also a farmer and that he had so many different jobs!
  • He named his cattle
  • His farm was 8 thousand acres
  • He got food from his cattle
  • His cattle worked on the farm
  • That people now can read all the letters and diary pages that he wrote so long ago


PM class

What was your favorite part of the video?

  • The girl almost stepping in manure
  • Told us more about what George liked
  • That we got to see the hens!
  • How the girl talked about manure
  • They showed the actual letters that he wrote
  • It was fun seeing real animals and the real farm that he had
  • That a someone was reading his real letters out loud to us

What is something new that you learned from the video?

  • He hired farm hands to help him with the animals, so he must have had a lot!
  • That he was a farmer
  • That manure was so important
  • That he had three different jobs!
  • That manure was used for fertilizer
  • That he had five farms
  • That he had over a thousand animals
  • All the acres he had
  • That he would plow
  • That he liked experimenting
  • That he owned cattle
  • Surprising that his favorite job was farming


Emily herself says:

As a public educator I am always looking for new ways to engage my students in the classroom. That is why I was so excited when I discovered the “George’s Farm Animals” series. The short videos were both engaging and educational, and were integrated in effortlessly with our Famous Americans unit and our Presidents Day activities. My class really enjoyed learning about a different aspect of George Washington and his love for his animals, a topic that isn’t generally focused on in basic elementary text books and curriculum. I have shared the YouTube links with fellow educators who were also highly pleased with the quality and the content that the videos provide. I have shown three of the animal series videos to support several different lessons in my class, and I am eager to see what content they are producing next!

Thank you Emily—we’re excited, too!

If you have a story of how you have used the videos, please let us know!


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