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Colonial Williamsburg Resource Library: The Rare Breeds & More
SHEEP WEEK - Others have Shark Week... we have Sheep Week, to honor the fluffy, friendly, playful new lambs born each spring at Colonial Williamsburg!
The sheep, Leicester Longwools, are part of our Rare Breeds Program, which protects heritage breeds of cows, chickens, horses, sheep, and more so we can learn about them and enjoy them for years to come.
More Resources about Colonial Williamsburg's Rare Breeds Program
Spend a day with Colonial Williamsburg's coach and livestock staff.
Meet the animals in our Rare Breeds Program, including our Devon cows, Ossabaw Island pigs, and amazingly plumed chickens!
Read about our Rare Breeds Program.
View a slideshow of animals in the Historic Area.
Videos, Web Activities, and Lesson Plans
Learn how work animals were used in colonial Virginia and the importance of preserving rare breeds to recreate the life and times of early America.
Primary Source Analysis
This 1806 birth record includes a scene showing spectators gathered near the finish line of a horserace. A scene such as this would have been very familiar to colonial Virginians.
Teaching Tips: How to Use these Resources
- Use the web activity What Are Animals For? from The Rare Breeds to introduce younger students to the various uses of animals in the 18th century. You may wish to brainstorm uses for animals with students prior to the activity to access prior knowledge.
- Supplement the How People Depended on Animals Lesson plan from The Rare Breeds Teacher Guide, which contains primary source documents, with the Birth Record for Samuel Asay, a primary source image.
- For a lesson that uses the Birth Record for Samuel Asay primary source analysis, use or adapt the Classroom Challenge Horserace lesson plan.
Assess the maturity level of your students when using the lessons and web activities for The Rare Breeds, in that they do use historic terms for animals such as donkeys, and discuss in very general terms animal husbandry and breeding.
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