The Amish

Contributor: Tara Ondra. Lesson ID: 13201

Can you imagine life in the 21st century without the luxury of electricity? Why would you choose to live this way? For the Amish, the unwritten rules of their culture guide them to this way of life.

categories

People and Their Environment

subject
Social Studies
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:
  • Who are the Amish?

We will explore their origins; look at life today on the farm, at school, and in the home; and learn about the coming of age ceremony Rumspringa.

To get started, watch Amish Life from Lindsey Hayes:

The Amish are a traditional Christian cultural and religious group with origins in Europe. The Amish movement was founded by a Swiss German Anabatist named Jacob Amman in the late 17th century. (Anabatist means one who baptizes again and refers to their practice of baptizing adults even if they were baptized as infants.)

In the early 18th century, the Amish began immigrating to the USA in search of religious freedom and eventually settled in Pennsylvania.

Today in the U.S., the largest Amish populations can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Lancaster, Pennsylvania is home to the largest community of Amish in the U.S. with over 36,000 people. Lancaster is also the best-known and most-visited Amish settlement in the world.

The Amish follow a set of unwritten rules, called the Ordnung, that guide their lives. These rules stem from the Bible and are important for upholding the community. The Amish believe that without these rules, anyone would enter and leave the community as they please. The Ordnung forbids the following:

  • public electric
  • suing in a court of law
  • owning certain technologies such as cars and televisions
  • running for political office
  • divorce

Based on this belief system, the Amish lifestyle is very simple and traditional. Instead of driving cars, the Amish get around in horse and buggy. In their homes, you will find kerosene lamps or battery-powered lamps rather than electric lights.

The Amish dress code is defined as practical and functional. Women usually wear a cape dress with an apron and a bonnet on their heads. Men wear a button-down collared shirt of a single color and rough trousers held up by suspenders. Children dress like their parents, with no brand logos, sequins, or sparkles.

Amish family

Most Amish live on farms, which provide the ideal setting for maintaining a simple lifestyle. In addition to farming, Amish women often make beautiful quilts, and men often go into furniture making.

Amish farm

Let's move on to the Got It? section to see inside an Amish house and school.

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