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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (8)

Animal Life Cycles

This lesson introduces students to six major livestock species, teaches that animals need air, space, food, water, and shelter to survive, and introduces students to the life cycle of a farm animal.

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.

Properties of Soils (Grades 3-5)

Students will discover that different soils have different characteristics, examine different types of soil, investigate soil components, and observe how air space allows soils to hold and transmit water.

Properties of Soils (Grades 6-8)

Students examine the components of different soils and recognize how sand, silt, and clay particles affect air space and water absorption.

Spice-up Space Food
Students work in groups to create a flavorful and nutritious meal for astronauts to eat in space. They experience careers in food and nutrition, food science, and marketing, research different ways to preserve foods, and discover how food is taken to and eaten in space.
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. 

What Makes Up Your Profile?

Students will recognize soil changes in relationship to depth and understand factors associated with soil formation.

Companion Resources (11)

Activity
Invasive Species "Space Invaders" Game
The Space Invaders game helps students better understand the adaptive traits of plants in a new environment. The game simulates introducing new plants to 3 different ecosystems. After several rounds of play, students will see which plants survive and reproduced as well as which plants were potentially displaced.
Book
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.
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.
You're Aboard Spaceship Earth
This attractive picture book enlarges on the metaphor "spaceship Earth," explaining that just as the space shuttle carries all the food, water, and oxygen the astronauts need, Earth carries all the food (minerals), water, and oxygen we need. It demonstrates the water, mineral, and oxygen cycles, showing that Earth makes a great spaceship, but tells readers that "our job is to keep it that way."
Kit
Arduino Controlled Relay
Using a relay allows an Arduino microcontroller to power a high voltage object. This kit contains what you need to build a relay that can be used to control a grow light or a sprinkler in an aeroponics system. Use this system to replace the timer included in the SpaceLite (Plant Light) Kit and the Classroom Aquaponics KitOrder this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Dwarf "Space Plant" Seeds
The USU Crop Physiology Laboratory has identified and characterized six varieties of dwarf crop plants. These short, early-flowering plants are ideal for growth on the International Space Station (and also in classrooms!) where there isn't room to grow full-size crops or where light is limiting. Fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs and/or fluorescent tubes placed directly above the plants will provide adequate light for these cultivars. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
SpaceLite (Plant Light)
This small grow light is easy to set up, use, and store, and it comes in a kit with everything you need to get started: frame, pot, light bulb, light timer, and one packet each of Micro-tina Tomato and Earligreen Pea space seeds. These miniature plants are sure to impress your students and will get flowers and edible fruit—perfect for life cycle studies. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Movie/Video
'Martian' Food video
Show your students a neat application of hydroponics and climate controlled greenhouses with this video teaching about the NASA-funded research taking place at the University of Arizona. The goal of this research is to discover a successful method for food to be grown in space.
NASA Shows U.S. Corn Belt Literally Glowing with Productivity
Help students identify the "Corn Belt" region of the United States with an image taken from space which shows the agricultural productivity of the region.
Timelapse: Photosynthesis Seen from Space
Witness the influence of the sun on the seasonal abundance of plant matter produced on land and in our oceans. Use this video as a catalyst to discuss questions about which areas of our planet are most productive and why, how plants respond to seasonal changes in sunlight, and about carbon absorption.
World Population History
Our population is expected to grow to over 9 billion by 2050, yet the ability of our environment to provide space, food, and energy are limited. Explore population growth from 1 CE to 2050 with this video, see how our numbers impact the environment, and learn about the key advances and events allowing our numbers to grow.