Skip to main content

National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

Lesson Plan

The Farmer Grows a Rainbow: Super K Buffet

Grade Levels

K - 2


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

Estimated Time

1 hour

Materials Needed

Interest Approach — Engagement

Activity 1: Nutritious Choices

Activity 2: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Rainbows Aloft

  • Red, orange, green, purple, and blue balloons or scarves
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
Vocabulary Words

moderation: the avoidance of extremes; not too much

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

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.

The MyPlate guide recommends that half of the food on your plate be fruits and vegetables. Include plenty of red, orange, and dark green vegetables. Fruits should be used as snacks, salads, and desserts. Grains are foods that come from plants like wheat, corn, and oats and include bread, cereal, crackers, rice, and pasta. At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. Protein foods include seafood, beans, meat, poultry, eggs, and nuts. It is suggested that you eat a variety of protein foods, choose lean meats, and eat seafood twice a week. Milk and yogurt are examples of dairy. It is best to choose skim or 1% milk and water to drink instead of sugary drinks. Foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium should only be eaten in moderation; these are also referred to as “sometimes” foods.

There are six main groups of nutrients that a body needs to stay healthy—carbohydrates, protein, water, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates give you energy. Along with providing energy, protein also builds muscle, skin, and bones. Water helps your body stay cool when it sweats and also helps your body move nutrients to where they need to go. Fats provide you with energy, healthy skin, and an ability to absorb vitamins. Vitamins can help you heal and maintain strong bones, good eyesight, and healthy skin. Minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and iron, build strong bones and teeth, keep your blood healthy, and help your muscles and nervous system function properly. Eating from all five food groups helps to ensure that your body is getting necessary nutrients.

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.

Good health depends on good nutrition and physical activity. Using MyPlate as a guide to identify healthy food and fitness choices will provide students with an awareness of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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 Activity 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.
  4. Ask the students to draw a picture of themselves enjoying a healthy meal. Invite students to share their pictures and talk about the foods they are eating, why they like those foods, and why each food is good for them.

Activity 1: Nutritious Choices

  1. Ask students to raise their hands if there is a farmer in their family. Explain that almost all of the food we eat is grown on a farm. Many of the foods have high nutritional value and should be part of daily eating. Others need to be eaten in moderation. Discuss various examples.
  2. Have students complete the Nutritious Choices activity sheet.
  3. Sing the song The Farmer Grows a Rainbow.
  4. Have students draw and color a rainbow design and their depiction of a farmer at work on their white paper plates. Have students place pictures of healthy food choices on their plates to demonstrate their understanding of the class discussions. Check for appropriate choices.

Activity 2: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Rainbows Aloft

  1. Discuss the importance of physical activity. All children need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Activity levels will directly affect the amount of food needed to maintain a healthy body.
  2. Play the “Rainbows Aloft” game to help students associate the various colors of MyPlate with the food groups they represent. The game can be played using balloons that are batted by students to stay aloft or colored sheer scarves, which students can blow.
  3. Have the students stand in a random arrangement. Sing and/or play a recording of The Farmer Grows a Rainbow song. Students may move to the music and sing along with the first verse. As the subsequent verses are sung, the teacher should toss in balloons or scarves that match the color represented by the food group mentioned. Students sing along and do their part to keep the colors aloft. If a playground parachute is available, the activity may be adapted to include use of the parachute.

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.
  • Some foods are more healthy and nutritious than others.
  • Nutritious foods can be eaten regularly, but less healthy foods should only be eaten sometimes.
Enriching Activities
  • Have students properly set a table or place setting and role-play proper etiquette and food safety protocol (i.e., serving with a spoon instead of picking food up with hands; hand washing; napkin in lap; etc.).

  • 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.