Baa! Baa! Sheep on the White House Lawn

Baa! Baa! Sheep on the White House Lawn
Edith Wilson: First Ladies' Lives

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: One to two class periods


   During World Wars I and II, there were many programs whose purpose was to raise money or resources for the war effort.  During World War I, Edith Wilson kept sheep on the White House lawn to help both the production of wool and the conservation of manpower.  She experienced World War II and was involved in that war's efforts as well.


   The purpose of the lesson is to acquaint students with the economies American citizens made in order to enhance the war effort during World Wars I and II.  Few of us have experienced such scarcity or have been called upon to make such sacrifices.    

Materials Required:

Curriculum biography of Edith Wilson Access to the Internet Access to print reference materials


1.  Ask students what resources, products, etc., would be in short supply here at home during a major war?  Make a list of these on the board. 

2.  Have students research, preparing to compare and contrast the programs of the two World Wars and to speculate about the reasons for  their differences.  Areas of research could include:

  • Rationing of food and the use of rationing coupons
  • Manpower
  • Changes in industry as a result of the wars
  • Gasoline rationing
  • Victory gardens
  • Other

Extending the Lesson:

Some comparison with the present is probably inevitable.  Be sure to explain the differences between a global war and a regional conflict.

Sources & Resources: