Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Agriculture and Me
Students categorize sources of basic agricultural products alphabetically.
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
agriculture: the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products
Did You Know? (Ag Facts)
- Products we use in our everyday lives come from plant and animal byproducts produced by America's farmers and ranchers.1
- Heart valves from hogs are used to replace damaged or diseased human heart valves.1
- Shampoo, cosmetics, lotions, finger nail polish, and toothpaste are made from agricultural commodities.1
- The crayons, textbooks, chalk, desks, pencils, and paper in your classroom comes from agricultural products. 1
- One bale of cotton can produce 1,217 men's t-shirts or 313,600 one-hundred dollar ($100) bills.1
Background Agricultural Connections
Agriculture is an important part of our lives, from what we wear to what we use in our classrooms and what we do after school. We may not always think of agricultural products as the physical source of the items or things we use everyday. However, most of these daily essentials can be tracked back to an agricultural source.
Production agriculture, or farming, is what most people think of when they hear the word agriculture. This is the actual production or growing of raw commodities. People typically categorized as farmers and ranchers are people who raise and harvest crops and livestock for consumption or purchase. It doesn't stop there. Production agriculture also includes a wide variety of specialties such as raising fish, timber, fur-bearing animals, herbs, and much more.
Many of the products we use every day come from agriculture. The sheets we sleep on and the pajamas we wear are made from cotton, just like cotton swabs for your ears. The feathers in pillows may come from chickens or ducks. The cereal and milk we eat for breakfast, the pencils, crayons, and paper we use at school, and the baseballs, bats and gloves we use after school all originate from raw agricultural products. We know that our food comes from agriculture, but we are also surrounded by and reliant upon many other inedible agricultural products that we use every day.
Interest Approach - Engagement
- Display six Agriculture Commodity Cards or pictures of six major farm animals or crops.
- Ask the students:
- What do all of these have in common?
- What are some differences?
- Are there any similarities among the animals and the plants?
- Do any of these plants and animals produce food that you eat?
- What products do these plants and animals provide for humans to use?
- Where would you find these plants and animals?
Activity 1: Matching Products to Sources
- Discuss the information contained in the Background Agricultural Connections, then pass out the Matching Product to Source activity sheet. Students should match the product with its agricultural source.
- Answer Key:
- Timber: paper, pencils, potpourri, houses
- Dairy Cattle: cheese, ice cream, yogurt
- Cotton: blue jeans, paper, shirts
- Flowers: perfume, potpourri
- Wheat: spaghetti, tortillas, cereal
- Answer Key:
- Read Farming by Gail Gibbons aloud to the class and highlight the sources of the agricultural products mentioned in the book. Point out the different plant and animal habitats found on the farm and compare their survival needs.
Activity 2: Alphabetizing Agriculture
- Discuss with the students other products that come from agriculture.
- Hand out the Alphabetizing Agriculture activity sheet. Discuss the bold-faced heading words to ensure the students' understanding.
- Discuss the vocabulary words to make sure students are familiar with each agricultural product.
- Review the skill of alphabetizing. Have students write the vocabulary words in alphabetical order on the lines under each heading. (This could be a homework exercise with parental input). Answer key:
- After students complete the alphabetizing exercise, they should complete the Word Find.
- Review terms found in the Word Find and ask the students to either identify what agriculture commodity the item comes from or to identify what items the commodity produces. For example, butter comes from dairy cattle and sheep produce wool that is woven into socks or sweaters.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Agriculture provides the basic necessities of life; the food we eat and the items we use every day.
- Animals produce milk, meat, and eggs for our diet.
- Plants produce fruits, vegetables, and grains for our diet.
Adopt an Agriculturalist. Many teachers find it educational to have someone involved in production agriculture "adopt" their class. The students correspond regularly with the farmer or rancher's family to practice writing skills and learn about the day-to-day operation of the farm or ranch. The family may send photographs or videos, grain or feed samples, and other items from the farm or ranch. In turn, the students can write to the family to ask questions or react to what they have learned. Before students are involved, the teacher and family should set goals for the program. Establish a regular correspondence schedule to keep students interested. Invite the farm family to visit the classroom or schedule a field trip to the farm.
Using a wall map of the United States, ask students to think about agricultural products grown or raised in certain parts of the country (examples: Florida and California-oranges, Gulf of Mexico-seafood). Ask the students to consider why the products are produced in these locations? Have groups draw the products or cut pictures out from magazines to attach to the classroom map.
Have the students make mosaic pictures about agriculture using seeds (wheat, corn, soybeans, etc.). These seeds can be obtained from a farmer, local grain elevator or some hobby and craft supply stores. Help the students identify each seed before starting the art project. Ask students to draw a simple agricultural scene on poster board. Spread glue in just one section of the picture and add seeds. Continue to spread glue in sections one at a time, and add seeds until the picture is complete. Let the picture dry thoroughly before moving it. Allow time for the students to share their mosaics with the class and explain how their picture represents agriculture.
Download the Farm To Cart game from American Farm Bureau. Divide the class into two groups to play the game.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Farm Pop-Ups
- From Farm to You Coloring Sheet
- A Day in the Life of a Farmer
- Eating the Alphabet
- Farms Feed the World
- From Start to Finish Series
- How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?
- Illustrated Alphabet of Farms
- Milk Comes From a Cow?
- On the Farm, at the Market
- Where Does Food Come From?
- Who Grew My Soup?
- Food and Farm Facts Junior Booklet
- About Farm Animals Mini Kit
- My Farm Web
- What Is Agriculture?
- Learning by Leaps: Agriculture and You
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