food: made from the raw products taken from the farm. Some products, like corn, may be consumed in their “raw” state or processed into an entirely different product like corn chips, soda, peanut butter, detergents, or medicines. Some of our farm “raw” food products need to be processed into a more palatable and digestible form before they can be eaten. Wheat, for example, is the most important grain in the U.S. We would have to eat hundreds of “raw” or whole-wheat seeds to get the same nutrition we can get more easily from processing the wheat into flour and then baking bread. Bread is a more palatable way to eat wheat. Flour, of course, is used in hundreds of other products: tortillas, pastas, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, cookies, pie crusts, and pretzels, just to name a few. The food industry is the processing and distribution of food.
forestry: many forests are cultivated. Agriculturally, many private forests are grown to provide paper and other wood products.
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
farming: the production of food and fiber derived from plants and animals. Farmers must understand economics, business, mathematics, and the science involved in getting their crops and animals to market. The science involved in agriculture includes the knowledge of ecosystems, soil, water, weather, chemistry, and plant and animal biology.
fabric: natural fibers are produced on the farm; the two most important fibers are wool and cotton. These fibers are made into thread or yarn and then knitted or woven into fabric or cloth, then finally made into gloves, socks, suits, coats, and other products including blankets, carpets, and curtains.
flowers: flower and nursery crop production are part of the “green industry” which includes turf. The primary use of these “crops” is for aesthetics or beauty.
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. The average American eats about 42 quarts.1
Bananas are most likely the first fruit ever to be grown on a farm.2
Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second!3
Americans are eating 900% more broccoli than we did 20 years ago.4
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
Ask the students, "What kinds of things do you use every day?” (You should get answers like food, clothes, books, paper, computers, balls, water, TV, etc.)
Discuss with the students that the items we use every day are either grown or mined (with a few exceptions, like the sun!). If the item is grown specifically for people, it is a product of agriculture.
Ask the students “Where do we get the things we use every day?"Most students will say, “at the grocery store!” Some might say, “a factory.” Tell the students that the store is a distribution center where we buy things and that the factory is a place where “raw” ingredients, grown for us (wheat for bread) or provided by nature (petroleum for fuel or plastic), are put together to make a product that ends up in the store.
Ask your students, "What is agriculture?" Have the students offer their answers and use the information found in the Background Agricultural Connections and the Vocabulary sections of the lesson to define the word "agriculture." Help the students identify their connection to agriculture by recognizing that food, fabric, flowers, and forestry (wood) comes from agriculture.
Print and cut out the Farm Web Graphics. The 30, four-inch color images can be laminated for this activity. You may decide to mount the pictures on colored card stock and keep the web grouping in the same color; this will make the activity easier for very young students. For example, mount the pictures of dairy cows, milk, ice cream, and cheese on one color. You may also purchase the My Farm Web Kit.
This activity may be conducted inside or outside; either way, you’ll need about 10 square feet of floor space. With very young students, it will be easier to place the yarn in the appropriate location and then have them identify where the picture will go. Older students might prefer placing a picture and then the connecting yarn.
Ask the students, "Where does agriculture begin?" (On a farm.)
Guide the students to understand that agriculture begins on a farm and there all kinds of farms. Cattle ranches for beef and leather; dairy farms for milk and all the products made from milk; orchards that grow apples to make juice and apple pies; pig farms for pepperoni, bacon, and ham; grain farms that grow corn for fuel or corn syrup for soda, and wheat for bread; cotton farms for blue jeans; and tree farms for paper and landscaping. In fact, there is a different kind of farm for nearly every type of product. Farms specialize in what they grow based upon their location (climate and soil), and farmers choose only a few crops because the type of equipment used to plant and harvest each crop is very specific and expensive.
Inform the students they are now going to create a “farm web” to help them understand agriculture and where the items they use every day come from.
Have students move to the area where they will build the farm web.
Place the farm picture in the center of the floor. Mix up the remaining pictures and either put them in a pile or pass a picture to each student.
Ask the students, “Which pictures will go closest to the farm picture?” (The pictures of plants or animals that are grown or raised on a farm go closest.)
Students with products made from ingredients produced on a farm should place their pictures onto the web after the farm-raised item is placed.
As each picture is placed, ask the students to use a linking phrase such as dairy cows make milk (the word make is the linking word) to describe how their items connect to the web. Discuss each new connection as the pictures are placed.
When all of the pictures have been correctly placed, review the linking phrases and ask students if they think other pictures could be added to the web.
As a conclusion to the activity, read aloud one or more of the recommended books and ask students where the products mentioned in the books would fit into their farm web.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
A farmer grows plants and raises animals that are used for our food, fuel, and fiber.
Many of the items we use everyday originate on a farm.
Agricultural products provide for our daily needs—food, clothing, and shelter.
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!
Leave the concept maps up on the board or on the wall, and encourage other groups to help add to each other’s maps. It’s important to add words showing the relationship between linked concepts if a step or stage is missing.
Distinguish between individual needs (conditions necessary to survive) and individual wants (conditions desired to be happy).
For example: Needs—to be fed, to be free from thirst, to be sheltered. Wants—to be entertained, to be famous, to be strong, to be helpful to others.
Identify goods and services that could satisfy a specific need or want.
For example: The need to be free from thirst could be satisfied by water, milk or orange juice. The desire (want) to be entertained could be satisfied by a toy, an amusement park ride or watching a movie.
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
Discuss what a farmer does (T5.K-2.a)
Explain why farming is important to communities (T5.K-2.b)
Identify plants and animals grown or raised locally that are used for food, clothing, shelter, and landscapes (T5.K-2.d)
Trace the sources of agricultural products (plant or animal) used daily (T5.K-2.f)
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
Recognize that agriculture provides our most basic necessities: food, fiber, energy and shelter (T3.K-2.b)
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
Identify animals involved in agricultural production and their uses (i.e., work, meat, dairy, eggs) (T2.K-2.b)
Identify the types of plants and animals found on farms and compare with plants and animals found in wild landscapes (T2.K-2.f)
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.