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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

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Lesson Plans (7)

A Tale of Two Burgers: Beef and Plant-based Protein

Students compare the components of beef and plant-based burgers by determining the production and processing methods of each product; evaluate the ingredients and nutritional differences between beef and plant-based products; and discuss different points of view in the agricultural industry concerning plant-based proteins and traditional beef. This lesson covers a socioscientific issue and aims to provide students with tools to evaluate science within the context of social and economic points of view. Grades 9-12

Carbon Hoofprints: Cows and Climate Change

Students explore the carbon cycle and evaluate the carbon footprint of cattle. Using critical thinking skills, students will use the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning model to determine the effect of cows’ methane production on the environment and investigate the extent cattle contribute to climate change. Grades 9-12

Food Evolution

Students will view the documentary Food Evolution to evaluate the polarized debate surrounding bioengineering (GMOs). In this film director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy travels from Hawaiian papaya groves to Ugandan banana farms, to cornfields in Iowa to document how agricultural technology can be used in such varied crop settings. This lesson covers a socioscientific issue and aims to provide students with tools to evaluate science within the context of social and economic points of view. Grades 9-12

Kiss the Ground

Students will view the documentary Kiss the Ground to consider the concept of regenerative agriculture as a tool to improve soil health and overall environmental sustainability.

Looking Under the Label

Students evaluate food package labels, determine their meaning, and use the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning model to determine the value of the label in relation to food production practices, nutrition, health, and food safety. Students will engage in critical thinking to recognize the impact of food package labels in relation to marketing, consumer perceptions of food, and farming practices. Grades 9-12

The Carbon Cycle and Climate Smart Agriculture

Students explore the carbon cycle, evaluate natural and human-induced activities that drive the carbon cycle, and discover climate smart agricultural practices that can be used to produce our food. Grades 9-12

The Water Footprint of Food

Explore concepts of sustainability by evaluating the water footprint (WF) of food. Students are introduced to irrigation practices throughout the world, consumptive and non-consumptive water use, and investigate the water requirements for various food crops. Grades 9-12

Companion Resources (4)

Hugh Hammond Bennett: The Story of America's Private Lands Conservation video
This comprehensive 21-minute video highlights the endeavors of one man who changed farming practices through science and policy. Hugh Hammond Bennet was a pioneer in soil conservation teaching farmers about soil erosion and other farming practices needing reform at this time in history.
GMO Infographics
Find numerous infographics teaching fact from fiction about GMOs. These can be used to discuss and dispel common myths, illustrate the timeline of crop breeding and genetic modification, and discuss factors and solutions to agricultural sustainability.
Teacher Reference
Agricultural Biotechnology Questions and Answers
What is Agricultural Biotechnology and how is it used? This informative text breaks down the questions surrounding biotechnology and how it is used for agricultural production. The article breaks down four topics: Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops, How Other Countries Gain Access to GE Technology, How Crops and Foods are Assessed for Safety, and Developing a Biosafety System.
Using Technology to Save Water
Use this resource when discussing the future use and demand of fresh water. Sixty percent of the world's fresh water is used by farmers which has a large impact upon its availability in meeting the challenge of producing food for a growing population. This article explains how scientists in the southwest are developing tools for saving water with the help of satellites, computer models, remote sensors, and other types of technologies.