Farmer Boy, Chapter 12

Social Studies
Occupations (Tin Peddler)

A tin-peddler was someone who traveled around the country with a cart full of tin goods such as pails and baking pans. The tin-peddler made these items by hand during the winter. The items were purchased or traded. This was a necessary occupation since farms were often many miles from town and store bought goods were limited. Although not seen much now, in years past people made a living selling items such as vacuums and encyclopedias door to door.

Questions to think about (you don't have to write down the answers):
1. What were the benefits of trading goods versus purchasing?
2. Can you think of any occupations today that might be similar to a tin-peddler?
3. What are the pros and cons of being a tin-peddler?

Table Manners
When the tin-peddler has supper with the family, the story reports "Almanzo could not speak while the grown-ups were talking, of course. But he could listen."
Compare Almanzo's supper time with dinner at your house.


Science
Tin
The Tin Peddler brought lots of tin pans for the Wilder family to purchase. Tin is a metallic element that is ranked 27th in abundance among the elements of earth’s crust. The atomic number for tin is 50, the atomic weight is 118.7, and the symbol is Sn. There aren’t any workable deposits of tin in the United States. It has been imported into this country from England, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Bolivia, Nigeria, and Thailand. Tin was very useful for utensils and cookware. It was easy to form and manipulate. Tin was also used to cover sturdier metals such as iron or steel. The sheets of metal were dipped into molten tin, and then they were cleaned and worked. Today, tin is used for hundreds of different industrial purposes, and is mixed with other elements such as copper to make bronze, and lead to make solder.

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