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New York Agriculture in the Classroom


Grow-NY Youth Competition

Grow New York

Grow-NY PBL Milestones

Milestone 1: Entry Event

In partnership with Grow-NY, Cornell University, NYS 4-H, New York FFA, and New York Agriculture in the Classroom, are offering a youth opportunity to build businesses in New York State. Students should work individually or in teams to develop a business pitch for an agricultural or food related product.

The population of Earth is expected to reach 11 billion people by 2050. All people need access to clean water, safe places to live, and medicines. But most importantly, how are they all going to be fed? This growing population will require the equivalent of all the food grown in the last 500 years put together.1 That’s over 60 percent more than we grow today2 or 1 billion tons more cereal3 and 50 percent4 more freshwater every year. To meet this demand, we will need the students of today to become the leaders of tomorrow, creating innovations and new approaches to solve these major challenges. How can we start to solve problems within our own communities?

Driving Question (Teacher Guided, Student Constructed)

How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to food and agriculture?

Key Student Questions
  • How are products/businesses developed?
  • What are the elements of a good business plan and business pitch?
  • Paper-based or electronic team notebook, 1 per team
Day 1 Instructional Procedures
  1. Direct students to the Grow-NY website. Allow students to investigate past Grow-NY winners and their products.
  2. Ask the students to identify needs that were met by the Grow-NY winners and why these needs are relevant to today’s consumer or producer markets.
  3. Explain that there is a youth opportunity to create food and agriculture supporting businesses in New York State. Guide the students to construct a question similar to, "How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to agriculture?"
  4. After the question has been identified, inform students that they can work individually or in teams to develop a business idea and create a business pitch.
Milestone 2: Planning and Design
Driving Question (Teacher Guided, Student Constructed)

How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to agriculture?

Key Student Questions
  • Where in the agricultural industry is there a need I can address?
  • What tasks/steps will need to be accomplished to complete the project?
  • How long will each task take to complete?
  • What are the elements to a good business pitch?
Formative Assessments
  • Project Steps Graphic Organizer
  • Project Timeline Table
  • Team Notebooks
  • Rubric
Day 2 Instructional Procedures
  1. Students should brainstorm product, service, or business ideas that meet needs they see for food systems in their community.
  2. As they develop their list of ideas, they should work to narrow the list down and research their best ideas for feasibility, similar ideas already on the market, and marketability.
  3. The students should create a name for their product. Have them record this name and team member names on a "cover page" for the team notebook. Additional artwork or an image may be added later to improve the cover’s "eye appeal."
  4. Students should find a mentor within the business sector they are creating to interview about their idea. Students can use the suggested guide for this interview or develop their own questions.
Day 3 Instructional Procedures
  1. Ask the students to work with their team to complete the planning and design of their business or product. On the first page of their team notebook, the students should record/define their question/problem, "How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to agriculture?
  2. Share the product requirements with the students as noted on the Rubric.
  3. The teams should identify and record all the tasks/steps they think they will need to accomplish to complete the project (i.e., development, prototyping, manufacturing the product, marketing). The students should draw a flowchart, concept map, or some other type of graphic organizer documenting the steps to the final product.
  4. Each team member should choose the tasks he/she will complete related to the tasks identified in the graphic organizer. For each task, students should create a career title for their position (reflecting their responsibility) on the team (i.e., marketing specialist). Each student may fill more than one position. These roles will be added to a table in the team notebook.
  5. Have each team create a project timeline table in their notebooks that includes each task/step, the names of the individual(s) who are responsible for each task, and the date each task should be completed within the teacher specified timeline for the project.
Milestone 3: Prototype
Driving Question (Teacher Guided, Student Constructed)

How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to agriculture?

Key Student Questions
  • How are products manufactured?
  • How can we test the quality of our product or service?
  • How can our product or service be improved?
Formative Assessment
  • Peer Critique Protocol
Days 4-6 Instructional Procedures
  1. As students work to choose one idea for their business, they should consider creating a prototype (if applicable) or demonstrate the services their business provides to get real feedback from their targeted markets. A prototype is an original sample of a product made to test a concept or process.
  2. Allow time for each team to create their prototype or service. If their business idea includes services instead of products, allow time for planning and demonstration.
  3. Teams should share their prototype product with one other team to be critiqued. Taking turns, each team will present their prototype and answer clarifying questions. The audience will use the sentence starters, "I like…" to describe the strengths of the product, and "I have…" to offer any ideas that might improve the product. Remind the students that feedback should be kind, helpful, and specific.
  4. After reflecting on the feedback they received during the critique, the teams should refine and retest their prototype or service until they have their final product.
Milestone 4: Marketing Plan and Final Product Presentation
Driving Question (Teacher Guided, Student Constructed)

How can we create a feasible product or business idea that relates to agriculture?

Key Student Questions
  • Why do people buy products?
  • What are effective ways to market a product?
  • How can we best market our product to customers?
Formative Assessments
  • Marketing Plan
  • Promotional materials
Summative Assessment
  • Final Product Presentation
  • The 4 Ps of the Marketing Mix Simplified video
  • Marketing Mix Graphic Organizer
  • Team Notebook
  • Presentation Rubric
Days 7-9 Instructional Procedures
  1. Explain to the students that they will need to create a marketing plan for their product. Ask them, "What does it mean to market a product?" After listening to the students’ ideas, explain that marketing is the process of planning and executing the pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges between buyers and sellers.
  2. Show the video The 4 Ps of The Marketing Mix Simplified.
  3. After watching the video, provide each student with a Marketing Mix Graphic Organizer. Instruct the students to label the center circle "Target Market" and label the outer circles with the 4 Ps–Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. Then, ask the students to define each term. Definitions should be similar to the following:
    • Target Market: the customers who are most likely to buy the product
    • Product: the goods or services being sold
    • Price: how much the product costs
    • Place: where you sell the product
    • Promotion: how you tell the consumers about the product
  4. Clarify for the students that the goal is to get the right product to the right people at the right place at the right price using the right promotional strategies. This is known as "The Right Principle."
  5. Have the teams work together to create a marketing plan for their product by completing the Marketing Mix Graphic Organizer. In each section of the graphic organizer, they will describe the details of their plan. The final marketing plan should be placed in the team notebook.
  6. Allow time for the teams to create and refine their promotional materials. During this time, conference with each team to provide feedback on their marketing plan and promotional materials.
Day 10 Instructional Procedures
  1. Have the teams use their promotional materials to present their final products to the class.
  2. Use the Presentation Rubric to evaluate each team’s presentation.
  3. If possible, have the students sell their products at a local boutique, school store, or farmers market.
  4. Students should then be ready to submit their final pitch for the Grow-NY Youth Competition.

Inspiration for this lesson was taken from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix lessons "Mind your Beeswax" and "Journey 2050 Lesson 1: Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture". This lesson and more can be found at

Also provided for this lesson is an optional guide for students to follow to ensure they are meeting the key points of this project.

  2. Sustainable Development Network Solutions (2013). Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems