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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (36)

A Garden Plot: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

In this lesson, students will identify foods grown in a garden, observe various types of seed, and grow their own "milk jug" garden. Students will hear the Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter and learn about produce that is grown in gardens or on farms.

Aeroponic Engineering and Vertical Farming (Grades 6-8)

Students will use the Engineering Design Process to develop and construct an aeroponic garden to grow a food crop. Students will develop and apply an understanding of plant anatomy and physiology related to plant growth and ultimately discuss the possibilities and limitations of using vertical farming to produce our food.

Aeroponic Engineering and Vertical Farming (Grades 9-12)

Students will use the Engineering Design Process to develop and construct an aeroponic garden to grow a food crop. Students will develop and apply an understanding of plant anatomy and physiology related to plant growth and ultimately discuss the possibilities and limitations of using vertical farming to produce our food.

Backpack Garden

Through project-based learning, students use school resources to construct and grow a school garden to supplement the school Backpack Program with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Color in the Garden

Students will use the art of soil painting to explore science and the natural world while learning about the color wheel, the importance of soil to agriculture, and why soils have different colors.  

Exploring Texture in the Garden (Grades 3-5)

Students will explore living and nonliving things, determine how nonliving resources help sustain plant life, and experiment with visual arts techniques through an examination of texture in the natural world. Activities in this lesson include collecting and categorizing items from the natural environment, creating seed and soil mosaics, making clay imprints, and coloring cloth with plant materials.  

Exploring Texture in the Garden (Grades K-2)
Students will explore living and nonliving things, determine how nonliving resources help sustain plant life, and experiment with visual arts techniques through an examination of texture in the natural world. Activities in this lesson include collecting and categorizing items from the natural environment, creating seed and soil mosaics, making clay imprints, and coloring cloth with plant materials.  
Farming in a Glove

Students will observe how a seed sprouts and investigate the conditions necessary for germination to occur.

Flower Power (Grades 3-5)

Students will observe physical characteristics of flowers and explore principles of pollination.

Flower Power (Grades 6-8)

Students will observe the anatomical structures of flowers and explain a flower's role in plant growth and reproduction as well as their connection to our food supply.

FoodMASTER: Vegetables
Students will measure the weight and length or circumference of various vegetables. After studying the vegetables, students will classify the vegetables based on plant parts and explore chemical reactions from cooking colored vegetables in acidic and basic water.  Students will also use a variety of vegetables to prepare soup.
Growing Plants in Science and Literature, More Than an Empty Pot (Grades 3-5)

Students will use the story of The Empty Pot to explore literature and science, practicing story mapping and learning about the needs of plants and the importance of soil and water. Like the characters in the story, students will plant and observe the growth of seeds.

Growing Plants in Science and Literature, More Than an Empty Pot (Grades K-2)

Students will use the story of The Empty Pot to explore literature and science, practicing story mapping and learning about the needs of plants and the importance of soil and water. Like the characters in the story, students will plant and observe the growth of seeds.

How Does Your Garden Grow? (Grades 3-5)

Students synthesize what they know about soils, plants, and the environment to plan a garden, present their plans, and explain why they made the decisions that they did.

How Does Your Garden Grow? (Grades K-2)

Students will understand the needs of a seed to germinate and the needs of a plant to grow while exploring the life stages of a flowering plant.

How Much Is Dirt Worth? (Grades 3-5)

Students will understand that topsoil is a limited resource with economic value. Activities include slicing up an apple to demonstrate the distribution of Earth’s soil resources and exploring scenarios involving the dollar valuation of soil.

How Much Is Dirt Worth? (Grades 6-8)

Students will understand that topsoil is a limited resource with economic value. Activities include slicing up an apple to demonstrate the distribution of Earth’s soil resources and exploring scenarios involving the dollar valuation of soil.

How Much Is Dirt Worth? (Grades 9-12)

Students will understand that topsoil is a limited resource with economic value. Activities include slicing up an apple to demonstrate the distribution of Earth’s soil resources and exploring scenarios involving the dollar valuation of soil.

Magic Beans and Giant Plants
Students will plant seeds and make considerations on which conditions affect plant growth. They will design and conduct experiments using a problem-solving process and compare and contrast to understand the parameters which influence the health and growth of living things.
My Little Seed House and Seed Book

Students observe the growth and development of seeds and explore what conditions are necessary for seeds to germinate.

Paint's Family Tree

Students will explore the complexity of heredity by studying horses and creating a horse’s family tree.

Plants Around You (Grades 3-5)

Students will categorize plants into groups, describe what plants need for healthy growth, and start their own garden by planting seeds inside a cup.

Powerful Potato

Students will explore life science concepts by observing a potato grow with and without soil. They will further learn about geography and world cultures by charting potato geography on a world map and holding a potato dress up contest.

Sunflower Life Cycles
Students will learn about the growth and development of sunflowers, identify how sunflower seeds are used, and make a paper plate sunflower illustrating the life cycle of the sunflower.
Terrariums: A Look at the Living and Nonliving World

Students will observe the interactions between living plants and other living and nonliving things in a small terrarium environment. They will also learn about farms and discuss similarities between the terrarium environment and the farm environment. 

Companion Resources (122)

Activity
How to Use a Ragdoll Test to Estimate Field Germination
Germinate seeds like a pro! The ragdoll germination test involves placing a known number of seeds in a moist paper towel, rolling up the towel and seeds to place inside a plastic bag, and assessing the number of seeds that germinate over the next few days. This is an easy way to demonstrate germination in the classroom and to test and discuss factors that affect germination.  
Seed Ball Garden Activity
Use these instructions from KidsGardening.org to make seed balls as a fun and inexpensive way to sow native plants and flowers! Seed balls are a small collection of seeds, compost/soil, and clay. They are commonly used to revegetate areas burned by wildfires but can also be used on a smaller scale in home gardens and classrooms. 
Shape, Form, and Function in the Garden
In this activity students will gather, observe, and dissect flowers before collecting flowers and other plant parts to create pressed plant art. Use this activity to integrate art and science concepts while encouraging students to explore and observe plants found in their everyday surroundings.
The Garden Show (Musical Play)
The Garden Show is a 25-minute musical play for grades 1-5 that ties well with science curriculum. Students learn about soil, plants, photosynthesis, pollination, and garden creatures from a wild bunch of characters, including dive-bombing bees, aliens from planet Chlorophyll, and a singing compost pile.
Book
A Gardener's Alphabet
From A-Z, the garden is depicted with spare words and striking graphics. This elementary book reinforce the letters of the alphabet and gardening simultaneously.
A Green, Green Garden
Little Critter learns that planting his own garden is a lot of fun and a lot of work. But the result—a green, green garden—is something he can cherish and enjoy.
A Seed is Sleepy
An introduction to seeds and plants that uses simple sentences and beautiful illustrations. There are watercolor pictures and charts depicting a seed's growth into a plant.  
A True Book: Tomatoes
From the early cultivation of tomatoes by the Aztecs to the introduction of the tomato to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors and modern culture today, this book provides an accurate and comprehensive look at tomatoes. The author has even depicted and described backyard, greenhouse, and large-scale tomato production. The story of processing the tomato into a variety of products is enhanced by including the rise of the Campbell Soup Company. The book ends with a useful glossary.
Amazing Plant Powers: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, & Change the World
How do plants survive when they can't run away from danger? Plants can live in diverse places such as under water, in deserts, cold climates, high elevations or even on other plants. They must contend with storms, fire, poor soils, and hungry animals and insects. Fortunately plants can grow from spores, seeds, or vegetatively and often get a helping hand from people. Plants are cultivated to provide fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and fibers such as cotton as well as for wood, paper, and many other products. The book concludes by noting a few of the habitats plants help create such as forests, prairies, and marshes as the comical plant characters conclude that they do indeed have amazing powers. Several related activities are listed such as a plant power scavenger hunt, a writing prompt: My Plant Power, and a kitchen scrap garden.
And the Good Brown Earth
Gram and Joe love to spend time together taking care of the vegetable patch, but it takes a lot of patience. There's digging time, planting time, weeding time, watering time, even thinking time. Meanwhile, the seasons change, and while Gram does things her way, Joe does things his way. But come harvest, each will find wondrous surprises, thanks to the benevolence of the good brown earth.
Backyard Detective: Critters Up Close
Welcome to the fascinating world of your own backyard, where more than 125 bugs, worms, and small critters play out the drama of life in miniature. Seven life-size, backyard environments from the soil to the vegetable garden to the air above are vividly depicted in enticingly lush photographic scenes. Scenes are followed by informational spreads which identify all the animals pictured and relate intriguing facts about survival in each environment. The book includes natural science projects, essential safety information, and an inviting 'visual index' for easy reference.
Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie
From the whippoorwill's call on the first day of spring through the first snowfall, Edna and members of her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from the fields, garden and orchard on their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. Includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of slaves who grew up to be a famous chef.
Christmas Farm
When Wilma decides her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers all her supplies and sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings to start a Christmas tree farm. Follow Wilma and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor, year after year as they nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become fine, full Christmas trees. A great holiday read-aloud for the month of December.
City Green
Right in the middle of Marcy's city block is a vacant lot, littered and forlorn. Sometimes just looking at it makes Marcy feel sad. Then one spring, Marcy has a wonderful idea: instead of a useless lot, why not a green and growing space for everyone to enjoy? With her warm, hopeful text and inviting illustrations, DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan shows how a whole neighborhood blossoms when people join together and get involved.
Compost Stew
From apple cores to zinnia heads, readers will discover the best ingredients for a successful compost pile. How do you start a compost pile? What's safe to include? This book provides the answers. 
Cucumber Soup
All the insects in the garden, from ten little black ants down to one tiny flea, get involved in moving a fallen cucumber. Includes a recipe for cucumber soup and factual information about the insects in the story. 
Eating Fractions

Food is cut into halves, thirds, and fourths to illustrate how parts make a whole. Enjoy a photographic feast of fractions as two playful youngsters eat their way through.

Eating the Alphabet
An alphabetical tour of the world of fruit and vegetables from apricot and artichoke to yam and zucchini. 
Farm
This beautifully illustrated and descriptive book gives students insight to farm life through the seasons. Farmers plant, harvest, and store crops using a variety of farm machinery. The children living on the farm help plant a vegetable garden and feed the cows and chickens. Some of the harsh realities of farm life are honestly depicted--weather challenges, hard work, and a rooster that disappears (fox?). The story's farm animals and children will capture the attention of students as they explore life on a farm.
Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table
Will Allen is no ordinary farmer. A former basketball star, he's as tall as a truck, and he can hold a cabbage—or a basketball—in one hand. But what is most special about Farmer Will is that he can see what others can't see. When he looked at an abandoned city lot in Milwaukee, he saw a huge table, big enough to feed the whole world. No space? No problem. Poor soil? There's a solution. Need help? Found it. Farmer Will is a genius in solving problems. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the inspiring story of an innovator, educator, and community leader.
First Garden
Learn about the history and present use of the White House lawn and gardens with this interesting and thorough nonfiction work. This book also presents factual information on gardening as well as important nutrition guidelines for healthy eating.
First Peas to the Table
A fun work of fiction in which a girl competes in a classroom garden competition to see who can get the 'first peas to the table.' Based on the contest that Thomas Jefferson held with his friends and neighbors every year, this book seamlessly integrates school gardens, history, botany, and seasonal weather themes into one fun-to-read book. Teachers may even consider modeling a classroom science project after the one featured in this book. 
Flower Garden
Filled with excitement, a city girl and her father pick out a wonderful assortment of flowers, carry them home, and, sitting on newspaper, lovingly transplant them to a window box as a birthday surprise for Mom. 
Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip
Grandma Lena takes good care of the turnips she plants in her garden. One turnip grows so big that Grandma can't pull it out of the ground! Even when Grandpa, Uncle Izzy, and the dog help Grandma yank and tug, the big ol' turnip doesn't budge.
Grandpa's Garden
This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives, they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!