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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

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Lesson Plans (15)

Corn an A-maizing Plant: Food, Fuel, and Plastic

Students examine the growth, composition, history, and uses of corn through a close reading activity, discussion of renewable and non-renewable resources, and hands-on exploration of bioplastics made from corn. Grades 3-5

Crops on the Farm

Students investgate different food crops and how they grow. Grades PreK-K

FoodMASTER Middle: Grains

Students will learn the physical components and nutritional composition of a grain, understand the function of the protein gluten in the structure of bread products, and investigate how mechanical and chemical digestion begins with salivary amylase in the mouth. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER: Grains

Students describe the steps of making flour, compare the nutritional value of different cereals, compare cooked and uncooked rice, and identify the parts of a whole grain. Grades 3-5

Growing Grains

Students investigate a variety of grains, discover how and where they are grown, and explore their nutritional benefits. Grades 3-5

Little Red Hen

Students use the story The Little Red Hen to investigate wheat production and bread making. Students thresh their own wheat and grind it into flour to make bread. Grades K-2

More Than One Grain of Rice (Grades 3-5)

Students investigate the cultivation and identify the parts of rice by reading One Grain of Rice by Demi and removing the hull, bran, and germ from grains of rice. Grades 3-5

More Than One Grain of Rice (Grades 6-8)

Students will learn about the cultivation and parts of rice while also covering subjects including mathematics, economics, and geography. Activities include reading One Grain of Rice by Demi and removing the hull, bran, and germ from grains of rice. Grades 6-8

My Healthy Plate

Students categorize the foods they eat, explore healthy eating habits, and investigate the MyPlate food campaign. Grades K-2

Serious Cereal Science

Students will develop an appreciation for the extensive materials and career fields provided by agriculture, specifically as related to cereal grain production, processing, and consumption. Activities include playing a game in which students become agronomy specialists, mapping the top grain-producing states, and watching videos about careers related to grain production. Grades 6-8

Sorghum at School: Learn, Grow, Pop, Taste

Students investigate how and where sorghum is grown and discover its health benefits. Grades K-2 

Sorghum at School: The Sorghum Story

Students will investigate sorghum, including the stages of plant growth, production in the United States, health benefits, geography, and positive environmental impacts. Grades 3-5

The Quicker the Better? Food Processing (Grades 6-8)

Students explore different levels of food processing and the ways in which processed foods affect the health of our diets by looking at examples of foods from the grocery store and by closely examining food labels. Grades 6-8

Understanding MyPlate (Grades K-2)

Students explore appropriate serving sizes and determine how to make healthy dietary decisions by identifying the components of nutrition as illustrated by MyPlate. Grades K-2

Wheat and Dolls

Students investigate how wheat is grown and processed into flour and other wheat products and create wheat puppets to perform a play. Grades 3-5

Companion Resources (38)

Fill MyPlate Game
Test your students’ understanding of nutrition with this exciting, fast-paced board game. Students take turns rolling a die, moving to different sections of the MyPlate board, and answering basic trivia about healthy eating and food science. The first to “fill their plate” with one trivia card from each section (Fruits, Grains, Vegetables, Protein, and Dairy) wins! In-game bonuses encourage students to exercise, reinforcing personal choice as an important component to a healthy lifestyle. Each gameboard comes with materials for up to five students. Available for purchase or free download. Order this game online from
Let's Get Growing!
Let's Get Growing! tells the story of Iowa native Dr. Norman Borlaug, whose research developed wheat that could grow in harsh conditions and feed hungry people worldwide. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for saving billions of people from starvation. Learn about him, sing some fun songs, and tell the story of his remarkable life in this easy musical. Included are additional resource suggestions and famous Borlaug quotes. Available online from, materials for purchase and download include score, recordings for rehearsal use, and piano accompaniment tracks for performance.
The Very Hungry Western Caterpillar
Based off of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this caterpillar takes a journey through the Western United States as he eats some of the most popular agriculture commodities in each state. This book can be made individually by students or used as a classroom copy. 
Wheat Weaving: How to Make a Corn Dolly
Students will learn about the history of weaving with straw and make their own woven wheat ornaments, traditionally known as "corn dollies." The art of weaving with wheat stems (straw) is practically as old as wheat itself. Traditionally, corn dollies were made using the last stems of harvested grain. Wheat was most common, but oats, rye, barley, and corn were also used. The woven ornaments with the heads of grain still on the stem were hung on inside walls where they made it safely through the winter. These sacred grains were then planted the next season to ensure the fertility of the entire crop.
A True Book: Corn
This book takes a thorough look at corn, providing high quality information in both text and image. It provides a comprehensive overview of types of corn and their uses, how and where corn grows, the history of corn, and the uses of corn for food and more. The text and photos describe how corn is used in both food and non-food items. A section on corn breeding and the use of corn in creating renewable fuels and biodegradable plastics is also included. The book ends with a useful glossary.
A True Book: Wheat
This book provides an accurate and comprehensive look at wheat. From its early cultivation thousands of years ago through today, the text and photos tell wheat's story. The book covers the planting, harvesting, and milling of wheat and 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.
Big Book of Big Tractors
Big Book of Big Tractors is a large, full color book that gets even bigger with it's fold out pages. Students will learn the names of many machines and implements used on the farms that grow and harvest their food. How do machines dig in the soil and plant seeds? What kind of tools make physical labor on a farm easier by lifting heavy objects or performing the work of many people? How do machines harvest grains, hay, cotton, and other agricultural products? How are tractors and large machines used off the farm? These questions and more are answered and can serve as a companion to lessons about machines, harvesting, and engineering (STEM).
Bread is for Eating
A bilingual, rhythmic celebration of bread, from farmer to baker. This playful, English-Spanish children's book traces the process and production of traditional South American bread making from harvest, to crafting, to packaging, and its sale on the market.
Bread, Bread, Bread
Bread is a food enjoyed by people in all parts of the world. Its many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors are as varied as the people who eat it. This photographic round-the-world tour provides a glimpse into the rich variety of world cultures, as well as an informative look at an important food.
Perennial nonfiction favorite Gail Gibbons turns her spotlight on corn. Popcorn, corn on the cob, corn dogs, cornflakes - corn is used in many children's favorite foods. This book offers a cornucopia of information about the history of corn as well as details concerning planting, cultivation, harvesting, and its many uses.
Farm Crops
This book provides a detailed overview of how farmers grow crops, exploring topics like why soil is important, what a grain crop is, how farmers grow fruits and nuts on trees, and how farmers pick crops. Important vocabulary words are highlighted and defined in a glossary at the end.
Glorious Grasses: The Grains
This book covers early history, cultivation, processing, and nutritional importance of grains. One chapter is dedicated to each grain, including wheat, rice, corn, millet and barley, and oats and rye. The two-column text reads easily and is full of informative material.
Grains on MyPlate
Grains are hearty, wholesome, and healthy. Learn about how MyPlate helps kids make great food choices every day, including grains.
Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate
Yummy! Colorful images of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods fill the pages of this picture book starring Jack of beanstalk fame. Fortunately, the friendly giant in this version of the story is happy to invite a guest for dinner. As they cook together, Jack learns about the food groups that are a part of a well-balanced meal. The book is an appetizing way to introduce children to the MyPlate nutrition program, written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy.
Look Inside Food
Look Inside Food is an all-inclusive book highlighting the production of our food from the farm to our table. This interactive flap book includes extensive information and illustrations about the origin of our foods including grains, fruit and vegetables, and food from animals such as milk, meat, and eggs. Even sugar and chocolate begins its production on a farm.
Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice
Using the pot of rice with chicken, Mama barters with her neighbors to create a bountiful meal. As she does so she also takes her granddaughter, Lucy, on a marvelous cultural tour of the neighborhood. Woven throughout the book are the Spanish names for a variety of foods.
The Little Red Hen
This is the classic tale of the little red hen who asked, "Who will help plant this wheat?" "Not I," said the cat. "Not I," said the dog. "Not I," said the mouse. The little red hen does everything by herself including the eating of the entire cake! Use this story to teach young students about wheat and how it is grown, harvested, and turned into food.
The Story of Food: An Illustrated History of Everything We Eat
This glorious visual celebration of food in all its forms reveals the extraordinary cultural impact of the foods we eat, explores the early efforts of humans in their quest for sustenance, and tells the fascinating stories behind individual foods. With profiles of the most culturally and historically interesting foods of all types, from nuts and grains, fruits and vegetables, and meat and fish, to herbs and spices, this fascinating culinary historical reference provides the facts on all aspects of each food's unique story. Feature spreads shine a spotlight on influential international cuisines and the local foods that built them. The Story of Food explains how foods have become the cornerstone of our culture, from their origins to how they are eaten and their place in world cuisine.
The Wheat Doll
Mary Ann lives in the rugged territory of Utah, doing daily chores such as tending the vegetable garden and braiding rags into rugs. Her best friend is her beloved homemade wheat-filled doll, Betty. One day, a severe storm forces Mary Ann's family into their cabin before she can retrieve her doll from the garden. When the wind and rain finally subside, she is heartbroken to find that Betty is gone. When winter turns to spring, Mary Ann makes a surprising discovery, some wheat growing in the shape of her doll! She carefully tends to the wheat through the summer and eventually makes a new doll. An afterword by the author reveals the story of the real-life Mary Ann and her doll, the inspiration for The Wheat Doll.
Grains and Legumes of the World
This hands-on activity explores grains and legumes common in global agricultural production—barley, dent corn, popcorn, oats, rice, wheat, soybeans, lentils, and pinto beans. Students create their own journals that include important facts, descriptions, and samples of the seeds of these crops. Teachers can use the information to expand students’ knowledge of agriculture while connecting to lessons in social studies and science. This kit contains enough seeds for a classroom of students. A master copy of the grains and legumes information cards is also included. Order this kit online from
Seed Samples
This kit contains a variety of agronomic or crop seeds. Samples of corn, wheat, rice, and quinoa seeds are included. Order this kit online from
Serious Cereal Science Kit
Use this kit to introduce students to careers that keep cereal on grocery store shelves. Just as grains were foundational in the advent of agriculture thousands of years ago, they continue to play a central role in agriculture and food security today. Corn, rice, and wheat provide more than half of the calories consumed by people worldwide. The science of cereal science is serious business! Order this kit online from
Wheat Grinder
What is wheat? How is bread made? This kit comes with a bag of wheat seeds, a wheat bundle with 35 stalks of wheat, and a hand-cranked grinder that your students can turn to make flour. Order this kit online from
America's Heartland: Wheat Episodes
Browse a collection of short video clips about growing wheat.