National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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Growing a Nation: Into a New Millennium
9 - 12
Students will understand the significant events throughout American agricultural history that have changed American society. Students will recognize the importance of labor in agriculture and see how the implementation of technology in agriculture increased agricultural production.
- Growing a Nation multimedia program and necessary projection equipment or computer lab
- Embedded Resource Cards
- Farm Facts booklets
- New Millenium Activity Sheets
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
sustainable agriculture: a system that can indefinitely sustain itself without degrading the land, the environment or the people
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- It takes 3.3 acre feet of water to grow enough food for an average family for a year.
- An acre foot of water is about 326,000 gallons.
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Have a class discussion using the following questions. Use this discussion to assess the prior knowledge of your students and to introduce them to the lesson.
- Does America need to farm in the 21st Century?
- Who supports the 2% who grow products on farms and then ensure a finished product arrives as food, clothes, shelter, or energy? (Another 9% of the population in the role of scientists, specialists, processors, business professionals, etc.)
- Who will be the next generation of farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural educators?
- What is sovereignty as it relates to America's food and energy supplies?
- Using a classroom projector or a computer lab, review the Growing a Nation multimedia presentation. (Into a New Millennium section)
- After students view selected slides, assign each student or group of students an Embedded Resource Card and ask them to be prepared to answer the Embedded Resource questions either by direct response or by using one of the Teaching and Learning Strategies. You may want to assign a particular strategy or cut the strategies into strips and ask each student to pick one or two. If the student or group of students is allowed to pick two, ask them to choose the learning strategy they prefer and put the other one back. The embedded resources that pop up on each Growing a Nation screen are designed to be adaptable to a variety of teaching strategies and flexible for diverse learning styles. Each slide contains five or six embedded resources that detail events in American history that can be explored for a greater understanding of the time period or historical cause and effect relationships. Each embedded resource asks higher order questions to not only increase student knowledge but to increase their comprehension to the level of application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation (Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives).
- The Teaching and Learning Strategies can be applied to nearly all the embedded resources in addition to students answering the embedded resource questions.
Activity 2: Should this Product be Banned?
Relate the following to the class:
A high school freshman doing a science project asked 50 people if they would sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide” because it:
- can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
- is a major component of acid rain
- can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
- can kill if aspirated
- contributes to erosion
- decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
- has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients
Forty-three of the people surveyed said they would sign the petition, six were undecided, and one said “no.” Yet, if the student had called di-hydrogen monoxide by its common name (water), the results would have been a unanimous “no.”
Perception and context are critical to good judgment. Most issues require an examination of validity, context, and trade-offs. Review with students the following:
- Was the research conducted properly and are the conclusions easy to understand?
- Is the disclosed information true?
- Has the research been replicated?
- Has the research been published and peer-reviewed?
- How is this data used?
- Is the whole picture being provided?
- What other factors or variables were left out of the research?
Are the solutions worse than the problem?
We get in our cars knowing there is a risk that we might be involved in an accident. We ingest tons of chemicals in the form of prescription drugs. Society often looks for a safety guarantee when, in fact, nothing we do is risk-free. We can do certain things to minimize risks. We can wear seat belts and drive defensively. We can take medicine only when we absolutely need it. But, even with these measures, we realize that nothing is 100% safe.
Risk is the chance of injury, damage, or loss; the degree or probability of loss; the act of exposing oneself to a risk or taking a chance. Scientists and government officials usually address risk in terms of probability for populations, not individuals. The scientific classification for risk may range from low to high to absolute. However, individuals often associate the word “risk” with “danger” instead of “probability”.
As in other sectors, the science-based processes of risk assessment and management help determine reasonable agricultural and environmental risk levels. These processes measure and characterize risk, estimate the probability of occurrence, and predict the nature and magnitude of potential adverse effects. For example, scientists may assess various risk factors from pesticide residues in or on the foods people buy and develop management strategies to control residues. Risk managers integrate social, economic, and political factors into risk assessment results.
Ask students to work in small groups to identify the product in question and to do a risk/benefit analysis to reach a reasonable conclusion about whether the product should be banned.
- contains a chemical that causes cancer in laboratory animals.
- causes serious injury to millions of people.
- kills 40,000 people a year.
- kills millions of animals a year.
- causes fires when ignited.
- requires tremendous resources for production.
- causes major air pollution problems.
- produces toxic gases.
- causes billions of dollars in property damage every year.
- destroys millions of acres of land for roads to facilitate it.
Ask each group to discuss its analytical process and conclusion with the entire class.
The product referred to is an automobile, and its risks are an acceptable part of American life because individuals believe they have control over the risks and because there often is not an acceptable alternative to the automobile. This is the type of critical thinking that needs to be used when looking at all kinds of issues.
Activity 3: International Trade, Interdependence, & Sovereignty
- Ask the students if they or their families have ever purchased a product made in a different country.
- Encourage discussion by mentioning the brand names of various products such as Volkswagen (Germany), Sony (Japan), Toyota (Japan), Nintendo (Japan), Panasonic (Japan), Hyundai (South Korea), Adidas (Taiwan), Nokia (Finland), Barilla (pasta, Italy), Nestlé (Switzerland).
- Ask students to name American brand names; examples include: Levi’s, Microsoft, Google, McDonald’s, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Ford, and many more. Although these companies and their associated brand names are owned or operated in a particular country, each has substantial interest in the economy of one another. The products they produce may also require raw ingredients or inputs from each other or other countries around the globe. This is what is meant by the “global market” or “globalization.”
- As a homework assignment, ask each student to complete the “Household Survey Activity Sheet.”
- When the class has completed the survey, make a chart on the whiteboard or overhead giving names of the countries and names of the brands.
- Ask the students to think about the results of the survey. Were they surprised by the number of products they found in their homes from other countries?
- Share the overheads “Where Your Food Dollar Goes,” “American Agriculture’s Share of World Production,” “What We Sell to the World. . . What We Buy from Other Nations,” and “Our Top Foreign Markets.”
- Use the World Map transparency and colored markers to indicate from what countries or states their families have products. Connect the dots from the countries or states to the state where the students reside. Do the students see any trends? Electronics, automobiles, food? Discuss with students that some countries specialize in producing goods at a price Americans are willing to pay. The U.S. government has trade agreements with many countries, but not with all. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international, multilateral organization which sets the rules for the global trading system and resolves disputes between its member states, all of whom are signatories to its approximately 30 agreements.
- As closure for this activity, ask students to create a concept map selecting one household item on their survey and then make the connections that product has to other resources, businesses, and careers. Can the student trace the product back to the farm or another natural resource such as oil (plastic)? Does the product’s principle ingredient come from another country? You may want students to identify the location where the connections on their concept webs occur.
- Finally, as a class, discuss again the questions noted in the Motivator/Interest Approach section of this lesson.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Growing a Nation Multimedia Program (Multimedia)
- Historical Timeline (Multimedia)
- How Farming Planted Seeds for the Internet (Multimedia)
- Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food (Multimedia)
- World Without Farmers--One Hungry Planet (Multimedia)
- Food and Farm Facts Booklet (Booklets & Readers)
- Agricultural News (Website)
- State Agricultural Facts (Website)
- Tractor Timeline- A History of Tractors (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
- Provide examples of how changes in cultural preferences influence production, processing, marketing, and trade of agricultural products (T5.9-12.j)
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
- Evaluate evidence for differing points of view on topics related to agricultural production, processing, and marketing (e.g., over-grazing and loss of plant species diversity; monocultures contributing to genetic vulnerability; use of fertilizers and pesticides increase crop production but may contaminate water sources; creating open space; farmland preservation; animal welfare practices; immigration issues; world hunger) (T2.9-12.d)
Education Content Standards
Economics Standard 5: Trade
ObjectiveNegotiate exchanges and identify the gains to themselves and others. Compare the benefits and costs of policies that alter trade barriers between nations, such as tariffs and quotas.
Economics Standard 8: Role of Prices
ObjectivePredict how changes in factors such as consumers' tastes or producers' technology affect prices.
NCSS 3: People, Places, and Environments
Objective 1The theme of people, places, and environments involves the study of the relationships between human populations in different locations and regional and global geographic phenomena, such as landforms, soils, climate, vegetation, and natural resources.
Objective 4The causes and impact of resource management, as reflected in land use, settlement patterns, and ecosystem changes.
Objective 6The social and economic effects of environmental changes and crises resulting from phenomena such as floods, storms, and drought.
Objective 8The use of a variety of maps, globes, graphic representations, and geospatial technologies to help investigate spatial relations, resources and population density and distribution, and changes in the phenomena over time.
NCSS 7: Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Objective 1Scarcity and the uneven distribution of resources result in economic decisions and foster consequences that may support cooperation or conflict.
Objective 3That regulations and laws (for example, on property rights and contract enforcement) affect incentives for people to produce and exchange goods and services.
Objective 6How factors such as changes in the market, levels of competition, and the rate of employment cause changes in prices of goods and services.
Objective 9Various measures of national economic health (e.g., GNP, GDP, and the unemployment rate).
NCSS 8: Science, Technology, and Society
Objective 1Science is the result of empirical study of the natural world, and technology is the application of knowledge to accomplish tasks.
Objective 2Science and technology have had both positive and negative impacts upon individuals, societies, and the environment in the past and present.
Objective 3That the world is media saturated and technologically dependent.
Objective 4Consequences of science and technology for individuals and societies.
Objective 5Decisions regarding the uses and consequences of science and technology are often complex because of the need to choose between or reconcile different viewpoints.
Objective 7Findings in science and advances in technology sometimes create ethical issues that test our standards and values.
Objective 8The importance of the cultural contexts in which media are created and received.
Objective 9Science, technology, and their consequences are unevenly available across the globe.
Objective 10Science and technology have contributed to making the world increasingly interdependent.
Objective 11That achievements in science and technology are increasing at a rapid pace and can have both planned and unanticipated consequences.
Objective 12Developments in science and technology may help to address global issues.
HS-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-6Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix (2013) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.