Students will analyze how the rise of big business, the growth of industry, and how technological innovation influenced Minnesota's economy from 1860 to 1920. Students will watch a video and answer questions about the growth of the milling industry. Students will offer an opinion on why bigger mills were better.
This unit is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 7: Iron, Lumber, and Milling" where students will assess how new technology and new people influenced the development of Minnesota during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
220.127.116.11.1: Analyze how the rise of big business, the growth of industry, the use of natural resources, and technological innovation influenced Minnesota's economy from 1860 to 1920.
- Video: Phelps Mill: Otter Tail County, MN
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Minnesota’s Milling Industry handout
Tell students that they will be watching a video about flour milling in Minnesota. William Thomas built a flour mill along the Ottertail River to grind wheat into flour. A town developed around the flour mill. After several years of operation, the mill became obsolete due to the larger mills in Minneapolis and St Paul.
Distribute the Minnesota’s Milling Industry handout. Instruct students to fold the paper in half, so they don’t see the bottom portion while watching the video. Instruct students to take notes about details as they watch this video. Remind students note-taking means writing down short details, so there’s no need for complete sentences. Note-taking highlights important ideas and details and allows students to come back later for further study.
Play the video, Phelps Mill: Otter Tail County, MN [5:25]. After viewing the video, have students use their notes to answer the questions on the handout.
Roller milling [1:46]
60–75 barrels a day [1:50]
Provided jobs to run the mill. So many people came to grind their wheat that they had to stay overnight. Therefore, the town had to build a bunkhouse. We can assume that this provided jobs and money for the town. [2:00]
The Phelps Mill couldn’t compete with the bigger mills. [2:38]
Bigger mills can mill more flour faster.