farmer: a person who produces food, fiber, or plants, for others to use
fiber: a thread or filament that a textile is made from
wood: material that forms the main substance of a tree; used for building homes and other structures
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
Ask students to list three items you use every day.
Trace each of those items back to a plant by drawing a picture. Examples could include a house or building which is made using wood harvested from a tree, food items such as fruit, vegetables, and grains are plants that we eat. Animals and animal products such as meat and wool can be traced back to plants because the animals eat plants.
In this lesson students will learn the importance of plants and that people depend upon plants for food, fiber, shelter, fuel, and clean air.
Make space on the board or hang a piece of chart paper in front of the room. Ask students to help you make a list of things that people get from plants. List and discuss each item. Below is an example.
Food: vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, etc.
Oxygen: plants make this through photosynthesis
Clothing: cotton jeans, flax, and rayon fabric
Medicine: herbal teas, cancer treatment medicines developed from bark of the Yew tree, active ingredient in aspirin was developed from the bark of willow trees, etc.
Paper: from wood pulp
Furniture: lumber from trees
Cosmetics: plant dyes, plant oil fragrances, nut shell exfoliants in facial wash, etc.
Energy sources: biofuel, firewood, etc.
Shelter: lumber from trees and straw bales for homes.
Review the list with students and emphasize that plants make up the base of the food chain by gathering sunlight energy and turning it into food for themselves and other living organisms. Ask students if we could go a day without plants. Refer to the list to reinforce the importance of plants. Instruct students to use their "Plants Around the Classroom" worksheet to make a list of everything they see that comes from a plant.
Organize students into groups of three or four.
Without telling the students the purpose of the lesson, distribute the following plant products to each group. To make the lesson more interesting, vary the items in each group.
Granulated sugar packet
Perfumed vegetable soap
Have the groups discuss the origin of each product. For example, the piece of wood came from a tree. Have the students discuss where each item would fit on their People Need Plants worksheet, and fill out the appropriate spaces.
After groups are finished, ask one group where they placed the vegetable soap on the chart and ask them where they think the soap came from. Continue in this fashion until you have called on each group and have discussed the origin and category for each item. Conclusion: Humans depend on plants for survival. Variation: Instead of doing the worksheet in groups, fill it out as a class while the teacher holds up an example of each item on the list.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:
After completing these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
Agriculture provides our basic necessities such as plants to eat, wood for building homes and structures, and plants to feed animals that provide milk, meat, eggs, or fiber.
Farmers grow these plants.
Instead of doing the worksheet in groups, fill it out as a class while the teacher holds up an example of each item on the list.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Identify farmers in your community and have students write thank-you letters to them for providing the food that we eat. Ask the farmer to write back every month with a description of a few activities they are working on to produce their crops.
Make a collage of things that come from plants.
Have each student think of a plant from which we get at least three products, then share their information with a partner.