Skip to main content

National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

Lesson Plan

The Farmer Grows a Rainbow: Pre-K Appetizer

Grade Levels

K - 2


Students determine that farmers provide an abundance of foods we need to maintain and develop healthy lifestyles. Grades K-2

Estimated Time

1 hour

Materials Needed

Interest Approach — Engagement:

Activity 1: Eat/Don't Eat

Activity 2: Every Day/Once in a While

Activity 3: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Bubbling Up

  • Bubbles
Vocabulary Words

crop: a cultivated plant that is grown as food, especially a grain, fruit, or vegetable

crops: plants that are grown and harvested by farmers

livestock: farm animals (such as cows, horses, and pigs) that are kept, raised, and used by people

MyPlate: nutritional guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); icon depicting a place setting with a plate and glass divided into five food groups

Did You Know? (Ag Facts)

For a healthy diet, MyPlate recommends that you:

  • make half your plate fruits and vegetables,
  • make at least half of your grains whole grains, and
  • drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Background Agricultural Connections

Farmers grow crops (plants) and raise livestock (animals) that give us food and clothing. Across the country, crops and livestock produced by farmers vary based on factors such as climate, terrain, soil type, and availability of land. It’s a good thing that farmer’s provide a variety of foods because that’s what we need for a healthy diet.

MyPlate is a nutrition guide from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that serves as a reminder to eat from all five food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Eating a variety of foods from all five food groups is suggested.

A healthy lifestyle also includes physical activity. Children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Health benefits increase as more time is spent being active.

Interest Approach - Engagement
  1. Ask students to name foods that are healthy and nutritious (or that adults say are “good for them”). Discuss why they think certain foods help them grow and stay healthy while other foods should only be eaten sometimes. Talk with students about nutritious foods versus non-nutritious foods, making sure they understand that foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and energy are better for developing bodies, helping them grow healthy and strong.
  2. Show students the MyPlate poster and introduce them to each food group, noting the colors on the plate and how each one represents a food group. Information about each food group is available at
  3. Distribute the pictures of various food items to students, either individually or in small groups. Allow students to arrange the food pictures on the MyPlate poster according to food groups. Discuss the health benefits of the various foods.

Activity 1: Eat/Don’t Eat

  1. As a whole class and/or center activity, use the Eat/Don’t Eat Pictures and Eat/Don’t Eat Symbols to classify agricultural commodities people eat or don’t eat. Stress to students that all items in the activity are made available to us by farmers.
  2. Use the State Agricultural Facts, or the Utah Agriculture Activity Map if you're in Utah, to share information about major commodities, both plants and animals, raised by farmers in your state.

Activity 2: Every Day/Once in a While

  1. Discuss the meaning of the colors on a traffic light.
  2. Using the Every Day/Once in a While Traffic Lights and the Every Day/Once in a While Pictures, work as a group to categorize foods showing healthy choices. Place foods that should be eaten regularly on the green traffic light and empty calorie foods (i.e., foods that do not provide nutrition and are high in calories) on the yellow traffic light.
  3. Use the red traffic light to discuss farm products that are unsafe to consume (i.e., chemicals, animal feeds, treated seeds, raw eggs, raw meat products, cleaning products, etc.).

Activity 3: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Bubbling Up

  1. Discuss the importance of physical activity. All children need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Varying amounts of activity will directly affect the amount of food needed to maintain a healthy body.
  2. Make connections between the colors of a rainbow and the representative colors on MyPlate. As a playground activity, have students blow bubbles and chase them while looking for the rainbow that appears on each bubble when the sun shines on it. Challenge the students to count the total number of bubbles they pop. 

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:

  • Almost all of the food that we eat is produced on farms, and some of it comes from your own state.
  • Some foods are more healthy and nutritious than others.
  • Foods that are healthy can be eaten regularly, but less healthy foods should only be eaten sometimes.
Enriching Activities
  • Provide information for accessing the website Have each student follow the directions on the website to obtain their personalized dietary plan, “MyPlate Daily Checklist.” Visiting the website can be a class activity, or information can be shared with parents to be completed at home. Individual nutrition needs, along with portion sizes, can be obtained for children and adults at this website.


This lesson was updated and adapted by Utah Agriculture in the Classroom in 2016.


Louise Lamm and Ellen Gould

Organization Affiliation

North Carolina Agriculture in the Classroom

We welcome your feedback. Please take a minute to share your thoughts on this lesson.

How can we help?

Send us a message with your question or comment.