By Teachers, For Teachers

Citrus Labels and the History of California


Citrus Labels and California History

In this lesson, students will analyze California citrus labels from 1885 through 1950 and will note how the labels depict language, people, and nature. Students will make inferences about what the state of California was like at that time.

Time: 1 hour

Grades: 3rd-5th

Lesson Author: Melissa Cervantes (Teacher Advisory Panel)

Resources needed:

  • Collections in Context

  • Sourcebook

  • Student Material

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will know:

  • California’s citrus industry contributed to California’s economic growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Advertisers used California’s history and geographical features to help sell citrus fruits.

  • Artwork from the past can teach us about the history and culture of that time.

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Make inferences by analyzing an image.

  • Analyze primary sources to gain insights into California’s history and natural landscape.

  • Discuss the impact of the citrus industry on Southern California.

Supported Standards

National Core Arts Standards

  • VA:Cn11.1.4 Through observation, infer information about time, place, and culture in which a work of art was created.

California History–Social Science Framework

  • CA HSS Framework 4.4. Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.
  • CA HSS Framework 4.4.6. Describe the development and locations of new industries since the 19th century, such as the aerospace industry, electronics industry, large-scale commercial agriculture and irrigation projects, the oil and automobile industries, communications and defense industries, and important trade links with the Pacific Basin.