Colonial Life with George Washington

Fourth Graders travel back in time to the time before technology and other societal advancements... and develop an understanding for colonial life and its differences to modern day while focusing on our first president on his birthday!

Course Outcome
Students will understand what it was like to live during the colonial era and what made each region unique to the people that inhabited it, while celebrating our first president: George Washington.

TN State Standards:




TNSS- 4.03, 4.04, 4.05, 4.06, 4.09, 4.10, 4.15


By cooking up Washington’s favorite birthday dishes, I can collect information about Washington’s legacy. 

I can develop a logical argument to prove why we celebrate and remember the presidency of George Washington.

I can collect information and identify the different ways George Washington contributed to the U.S.

I can summarize and construct a well written explanation to explain why George Washington was a president with a legacy and how the country moved forward without him.

By intertwining classical and modern cooking techniques within our everyday lessons, students will develop a stronger understanding about the challenges living in the past had on the people compared to modern times. 

Notes: Washington's service to his country and high esteem among his countrymen prompted many to honor and celebrate his birthday while he was still alive. Some still chose to celebrate on the 11th, while others chose to celebrate on the 22nd. February 22 was observed as a federal public holiday until 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared a single holiday to be called Presidents' Day that would be observed on the third Monday in February in order to honor all past presidents.

Students will connect, compare, and contrast the foods eaten during the colonial celebrations during modern day celebrations. Students will identify and practice real-world skills that are required during the cooking process.

--> This would be an amazing end-of-unit celebration or "birthday" celebration in Feb. <--

Vocabulary Building:


  • contributions: the way a person or thing brings about a result or helping something move forward.
  • legacy: the stories, beliefs, and actions of a person that lives on past their time.
  • significant: something important and memorable

Launch: Overarching Question 

How Did George Washington Contribute to the Constitution of the United States?

Explore: Reading about George Washington

Text 1: Short Read Literacy

Text 2: Painting Analysis

When analyzing visual art, using a structured system helps while looking at all the details: facial expression, focal point, gesture, setting, clothing, and objects found in the artwork

Note: These booklets are an amazing resource. (Not sponsored in any way)

click "booklet" to see link above

Supplemental Texts to analyze:

"One Last Time" -- Hamilton (on Disney +) -- review the lyrics and make connections to his farewell address.

Post Reading Questions: 

  1. What were the reasons why Washington came out of retirement? 
  2. What is an important political practice/institution that developed while George Washington was president that he didn’t like? 
  3. What was wrong with the phrase “Your Highness” in Washington’s eyes?
  4. Why is George Washington known as the “Father of Our Country”?
  5. Why was the role of being the first president challenging? 
  6. What does it mean to be the President? 
  7. Compare Washington’s first term as president to his second term. 
  8. Why did Washington step down after two terms of being a president? 
  9. Explain 7 different things we associate Washington to. What does this make you think about him? 
  10. What would be two strong character traits you would use to describe Washington? Explain your reasoning why you chose them using information from the text.

Summarize: Video Link Why was Washington so great? --> Post-video on an index card: Write 2-4 things that made Washington great.

Note: The recipes are to put truth to the false stories that "George Washington cut down the cherry tree".... See the myth rewritten:

Recipe Ideas!

A Bit Nutty Boston Brown Bread

Hearty and dense, my homemade Boston Brown Bread features hazelnuts for a delightfully nutty taste. 

(Makes 2 loaves) 


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk and molasses. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins and nuts. Transfer to 2 greased 8x4-in. loaf pans.
  • 2. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Mini Cherry Pies

A delicious mini version of your favorite cherry pie! 
(Makes about 12 pies)

PREP TIME-  15 minutes COOK TIME-  30 minutes  TOTAL TIME- 45 minutes 


  • 2 packages refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 cans cherry pie filling 21 oz.
  • whipped topping


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 12 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Roll out a single pie crust on a flat surface. Using a round cookie cutter or small bowl, cut out circles of pie dough. Press the dough circle into the bottom of a muffin tin. Repeat with remaining dough to fill all 12 muffin tins.
  3. Fill each pie with about 1 Tablespoon of cherry pie filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden.
  4. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Then very carefully use a knife to loosen the edges of each pie and gently lift each pie out. Top with whipped topping and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Cherry Pie Bars

These simple cherry pie bars have all the flavor of cherry pie without all the hard work.
(Makes about 12 small bars) 

PREP TIME-  15 minutes COOK TIME-  35 minutes  TOTAL TIME- 50 minutes


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8x8 baking pan by greasing with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  3. Set aside
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  5. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  6. Spread two-thirds of the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan.
  7. Use your fingers to press the dough into the pan, making sure the dough is spread evenly.
  8. Top the crust with the cherry pie filling.
  9. Spoon the remaining crust dough over the top of the pie filling.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  11. While the bars are cooling, make the cream cheese glaze by beating together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and two tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add more milk if needed.
  12. When the bars are cooled completely, drizzle the glaze over the top and cut into even bars.

Other options (not affiliated or sponsored)

No Meat Chili (Vegetarian Chili) 

Molasses Cookies  

Salmon Cakes

-Hot Tea (Earl Grey) 

Pea Soup 

Tomato Soup

Corn Chowder

Chicken Soup

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