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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (10)

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.

Cultures, Food, and Communities Around the World

Students will explore different cultures around the world, compare worldwide communities with local communities, and explain the interrelationship between the environment and community development. 

Filling the Global Grocery Bag
Students learn what factors affect a country's ability to produce their own food and how food expenses differ throughout the world.
Food Systems Feed the World
Students will explore the steps and processes that create a food system and gain an understanding of hunger as it relates to the physical well-being, culture, and geographic location of all people. Students will learn what a food system encompasses, create a "food system chain," and discuss why hunger still exists despite modern advances that have made the US food system highly efficient. 
Global Food Security
Students will explore the causes of hunger, both domestically and globally; evaluate potential solutions for solving world hunger; and forecast the impact of a growing world population on current food supplies.
Hunger and Malnutrition (Grades 3-5)

Students will learn about the importance of eating a variety of foods in order to get all the nutrients needed to be healthy, explore diets around the world using Peter Menzel's Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits, and discuss the scope of the problems of hunger and malnutrition using the World Food Programme Hunger Map.

Hunger and Malnutrition (Grades 6-8)
Students will learn about the importance of eating a variety of foods in order to get all the nutrients needed to be healthy, explore diets around the world using Peter Menzel's Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits, and discuss the scope of the problems of hunger and malnutrition using the World Food Programme Hunger Map.
Plant Nutrient Deficiencies (Grades 6-8)

Students discuss the definition of “fertilizer” and relate it to plant nutrition and the need to restore nutrient balance in agricultural soils. They discuss how people and crops can suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Students assume the roles of plant doctors and diagnose nutrient deficiencies in corn plants.

Plant Nutrient Deficiencies (Grades 9-12)

Students will recognize that plants, like people, require essential nutrients to be present in the right amounts in order to be healthy, use reference materials to diagnose plant nutrient deficiencies, define fertilizer as a type of “food” for plants, and appreciate that fertilizers are used to replenish nutrients in agricultural soils.

Where Does It Come From?

Students will explore the connection between geography, climate, and the type of agriculture in an area by reading background information and census data about the agricultural commodities beef, potatoes, apples, wheat, corn, and milk.

Companion Resources (21)

Book
Agronomy - Grow with It!
Agronomy Grow with It! explores the science of agriculture. Agronomy is the science we use to grow the crops that feed us, feed our livestock, and even fuel our cars. It's a science that tackles the big challenge of our future: How can we grow enough food to end world hunger and, at the same time, adapt to a changing climate and protect our environment? This book introduces you to 20 real agronomists who face that challenge every day.
Beatrice's Goat
Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter beautifully recount the true story of Beatrice, a young girl from Uganda, Africa who longs to go to school more than anything else. Unfortunately, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school, and with five other brothers and sisters, Beatrice knows that her family is much too poor. But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift: a goat that will give milk that she can sell. Thanks to Heifer Project International - a charitable organization that donates livestock to poor communities around the world - Beatrice and other families like hers will have a chance to change their lives. Book based on a true story.
If the World Were a Village
Imagine if the entire world's population were compiled into a village of 100 people. What would the demographics of that village be? This book helps students understand the similarities and differences of a global society. Comprehend the languages they speak, where they live, how much money they earn daily, and if they can read and write.
Josias, Hold the Book
Every morning Josias, a Haitian boy, is hard at work in the family's garden under the hot Haitian sun. His friend Chrislove asks, "When will you join us and hold the book?" With his garden failing, Josias has no time to learn how to read and write. There may not be enough food for his family. Soon, Josias realizes a book might hold the solution to his problem.
Katie's Cabbage
Katie's Cabbage is the inspirational true story of how Katie Stagliano, a third grader from Summerville, South Carolina, grew a forty-pound cabbage in her backyard and donated it to help feed 275 people at a local soup kitchen. In her own words, Katie shares the story of the little cabbage seedling and the big ideas of generosity and service that motivated her to turn this experience into Katie's Krops, a national youth movement aimed at ending hunger one vegetable garden at a time. Katie's Cabbage reminds us of how small things can grow and thrive when nurtured with tender loving and care and how one person, with the support of family, friends and community, can help make a powerful difference in the lives of so many.
Maddi's Fridge
Best friends Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, and play in the same park, but while Sofia's fridge at home is full of nutritious food, the fridge at Maddi's house is empty. Sofia learns that Maddi's family doesn't have enough money to fill their fridge and promises Maddi she'll keep this discovery a secret. But because Sofia wants to help her friend, she's faced with a difficult decision: to keep her promise or tell her parents about Maddi's empty fridge. Maddi's Fridge addresses issues of poverty with honesty and sensitivity while instilling important lessons in friendship, empathy, trust, and helping others.
Nory Ryan's Song
Life is hard for poor Irish potato farmers, but 12-year-old Nory Ryan and her family have always scraped by... until one morning, Nory wakes to the foul, rotting smell of diseased potatoes dying in the fields. And just like that, all their hopes for the harvest--for this year and next--are dashed. Hunger sets in quickly. The beaches are stripped of edible seaweed, the shore is emptied of fish, desperate souls even chew on grass for the nourishment. As her community falls apart, Nory scrambles to find food for her family. Meanwhile, the specter of America lurks, where, the word is, no one is ever hungry, and horses carry milk in huge cans down cobblestone streets. 
Poverty and Hunger
Poverty and Hunger discusses the questions, "What is poverty and hunger? How do they affect people in countries all over the world?" It helps children begin to understand the ways others struggle with these issues and learn about ways they can help.
Sparrow Girl
After sparrows ate too much grain, it was determined to banish them from China. However, an unintended consequence surfaced. The locust population grew to plague proportions and contributed to widespread famine. Based on a true story about the 1958 Sparrow War in China, this event highlights the important connections between managed and natural ecosystems.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever—he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.
The Good Garden
Maria's family are poor Honduran farmers, growing barely enough to eat. Then a new teacher comes to town and shows Maria sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. An inspiring story, based on actual events, that shows us how farms and hopes are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.
The Hungry Planet
In 2000, the author began research for this book on the world's eating habits. Each family was asked to purchase a typical week's groceries, which were artfully arrayed—whether sacks of grain and potatoes and overripe bananas, or rows of packaged cereals, sodas and take-out pizzas—for a full-page family portrait. A detailed listing of the goods, broken down by food groups and expenditures are shown, then a more general discussion of how the food is raised and used, illustrated with a variety of photos and a family recipe. While the photos are extraordinary—fine enough for a stand-alone volume—it's the questions these photos ask that make this volume so gripping. This is a beautiful, quietly provocative volume.
Map/Infographic
Interactive Map: Staple Food Crops of the World
This media spotlight from National Geographic highlights food crop layers from MapMaker Interactive, displaying how many tons of cassava, potatoes, soybeans, yams, and other food crops were produced per country as an average from 2010 to 2012. 
World Hunger Map
With our grocery store shelves overflowing with a seemingly unlimited abundance of food, many Americans do not realize that around the world, in our own nation, and even in our own communities, people may not have enough food for adequate nutrition. This map clearly shows the percentage of undernourished individuals around the globe and is a great tool to teach students about the importance of food and the reality that even with as much food as there is in the world, some people still go hungry. 
Movie/Video
Career Profile Video: Educator & Agronomist
Learn from Catherine Swoboda about being an educator and agronomist. Discover how she became interested in the field and how she has used her education to help alleviate hunger by increasing education on the production of food.
Food Facts: 7 Reasons to Eat Insects
When discussing world food supply, hunger, or agricultural sustainability discuss the idea of eating bugs as an alternative protein source. How does it compare to other forms of nutrition in terms of protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids?
How to Feed the World in 2050: Actions in a Changing Climate video
Learn how climate change has affected agriculture and how steps can be taken to preserve our ability to sustainably produce food for our planet.
TEDMED Talk: What Does the World Eat?
Peter Menzel is a freelance photojournalist known for his coverage of international feature stories on science and the environment, and his wife Faith D’Aluisio is a former award-winning television news producer. In this 14-minute talk, Menzel discusses the projects they have undertaken together, including publishing The Hungry Planet. He further explores the changes they have observed in what and how people eat around the world, touching on issues such as obesity and food security.  
Booklet/Reader
FAO Statistical Pocketbook: World Food and Agriculture
This is a pocketbook summarization of data presented in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Statistical Yearbook publications. It includes thematic spreads with data visualizations (graphs, charts, and maps) and basic text. The second part has country-level tables for a selected number of indicators. Topics covered include global demographics, undernourishment, food availability, crop production, agricultural trade, water, energy, and climate change.  
Website
Food Security & Nutrition Around the World
This website contains the full report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United States about food security and nutrition around the world. View numerous graphs showing trends over time for hunger, malnutrition, child stunting, and other related impacts of food insecurity.
Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits
The Peter Menzel Photography website provides an archive of the photos included in the Hungry Planet book, which depict everything an average family consumes in a week along with the food cost. These portraits provide a glimpse into kitchens from Norway to China to Mexico, raising questions about how culture and environment influence the cost and calories of diets around the world.