Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
An elementary writing activity to supplement lessons on the weather. Students will learn how the folklore related to weather observation played a role in the growing of crops and raising animals many years ago.
Time to Complete
- Paper and pencils
The Farmers’ Almanac often includes bits of wisdom and folklore related to agricultural life. The current edition of the Farmers’ Almanac includes folklore with an agricultural theme. For example, “It’s a hot day on the farm when popcorn pops on the stalk.” Although printed more for humor these days, farmers often used their personal observations to predict the weather. Over time, technology took the place of these observations, but the folklore is still fun to revisit.
Here is a list of popular weather folklore:
- Dark clouds in the west, stay home and rest.
- When bees stay close to the hive, rain is close by.
- When teeth and bones and bunions ache, expect the clouds to fill the lake.
- Animals and people have quick tempers when a low pressure area is moving in.
- The higher the clouds the better the weather.
- Share the weather folklore with students. Inform them that farmers often used observations such as these to predict the weather. Share examples from the "Weather Folklore" website.
- Ask students to share every-day observations they have made related to weather.
- Then, have students make their own “Weather Folklore,” by writing down their every-day weather observations. Encourage students to use an agricultural-theme and create an illustration to go along with their sentence. Or, have students complete the following sentence starters: It’s a hot day on the farm when… It’s a cold day on the farm when… It’s going to rain on the farm when… It’s going to snow on the farm when…
- Have students share their observations and discuss whether or not other students made similar observations.
- Combine the students' work to make a "Weather Wisdoms" book for your classroom’s library or reading area.
Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom