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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (26)

A "Sour" Subject

In this lesson students will learn about the growth and production of citrus fruits and participate in an activity where they use skills of observation and mathematical computation to compare and contrast grapefruits and lemons.

A is for Apples

Students will use the five senses to investigate apples, identify and model the parts of an apple, make applesauce, and learn how apples are grown.

Apple Science: Comparing Apples and Onions

Students will explore heredity concepts by comparing observable traits of apples and onions, collecting data on the traits of different apple varieties, and learning about apple production. Additional activities include hands-on methods for testing apple ripeness. 

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.

Cruisin' for a Bruisin' Food Packaging Specialist

In this lesson students will learn that product packaging is a balance between function, food safety, and economics by designing a protective package for shipping perishable fruit. Each package will be presented to the class for evaluation, and the best design will be shipped to test the product's durability.

Eat 'Em Up

In this lesson, students will review the plant parts that they eat, including roots, stems, flowers, leaves, fruit, and seeds. Students will choose a favorite fruit or vegetable to feature in a healthy recipe and prepare it with their families.

Eating Plants

Students will identify the structure and function of six plant parts and classify fruits and vegetables according to which parts of the plants are edible.

Edible Numbers

Students will develop a working vocabulary regarding food, categorize foods by their sources, examine grocery ads, learn about food production, and apply what they learned by analyzing foods they eat at a particular meal.

Esperanza Rising

Students will read the novel Esperanza Rising written by Pam Munoz Ryan to learn more about migrant workers, agricultural economics, the impact of agriculture to rural communities, agricultural history, and how fruits and vegetables have been harvested historically and are harvested currently.

FoodMASTER Middle: Fruits

Students will learn the concept of enzymatic browning and methods for decreasing enzymatic oxidation by observing three types of fruit. Students will also understand the relationship between oxidation and antioxidants and the role fruits play in health and nutrition.

FoodMASTER: Fruits

Students will identify fruits that grow on a tree, bush or vine, classify fruits as pome, drupe, berry, melon, or citrus, perform an experiment about the browning of fruit, and learn drying plums to make prunes.

Freshest Fruits

Students will learn about where fruits grow and their nutritional value by completing an activity to observe the size, shape, texture, and seeds of various fruits.

Fruit and Vegetable Bingo

Students will recognize the names of different fruits and vegetables and understand why they are important.

Fruits and Vegetables: The Right Pick for Vitamins and Minerals

Students will describe the farm-to-table process of common fruits and vegetables, recognize the nutrients fruits and vegetables provide, and evaluate methods of food storage and preparation for preserving nutrients.

Fruits of Our Labor

Students will discover how fresh fruits can be dried and preserved by participating in an activity where they make raisins by drying grapes.

Give Me Five!

Students learn about the five food groups and what state-grown foods fit into each group. This lesson makes a local connection to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Homegrown in Your State: Fruits and Vegetables

Students explore their state's specialty crops, discover how food gets from the farm to the table, and discuss the importance of eating fruits and vegetables every day.

Making Half MyPlate Fruits and Vegetables

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to MyPlate (2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and to reinforce the importance of making half your plate fruits and vegetables.

My Healthy Plate

Students will become familiar with the foods they eat and healthy eating habits while learning about the MyPlate food campaign. This lesson introduces students to the concept of MyPlate while placing foods they eat into categories for eating a balanced diet.

My Life as a Fruit or Vegetable

The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with an opportunity to enhance writing skills while simultaneously learning about the production and distribution of fresh produce.

Nutritional Value of Fresh Produce

In this lesson students will learn that fresh produce is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, and that all fruits and vegetables do not contain the same quantities of each nutrient.

Peaches: What's All the Fuzz About?

Students explore peach production in various regions of the United States, describe how peaches are produced and processed from farm to table, and explain how internal and external structures of peaches support survival and growth.

Plant Tops and Bottoms

Students will identify where fruits and vegetables belong on a MyPlate diagram and describe the major parts of plants - roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits according to if they are produced on the top or bottom of a plant.

Robots Wanted!

Through project-based learning, students examine fruit and vegetable farms to discover the amount of manual labor required to plant, grow, and harvest some of our food. They research the business economics of farm management, the plant life cycle, and the requirements and challenges faced in reducing manual labor through mechanization or robotics. Students present their findings to an agricultural engineer to begin developing a solution to farm labor shortages.

The Seed Match

Students will investigate where food comes from, the parts of plants that we eat, and the difference between fruits and vegetables. Activities include examining food plants and their seeds, reading and discussing the book Tops and Bottoms, and completing activity sheets.

Companion Resources (59)

Activity
A Seedy Fruit Challenge
This activity teaches students to identify different types of fruits and categorize them into two main groups based on whether they are dry or fleshy. Students will follow a worksheet and complete a lab assignment where they dissect various fruits. 
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 agclassroomstore.com.
Book
A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds
Many seeds travel inside fruits. The fruit is like a suitcase for the seeds. It protects them on their trip. Readers will learn how fruits are designed to protect a plant's seeds and also to help the plant spread its seeds to new places.
A Home Run for Peanuts
Meet Jake and his loyal farm dog, Max. They live on a Georgia peanut farm and are excited to show you around. Grab a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and explore the farm through the changing seasons. Along the way, you will discover how farmers take care of their farm machinery, plant seeds, tend the crops, harvest the peanuts, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Plus, you'll see how Jake applies lessons learned on the farm into other areas of his life—studying for tests at school, overcoming obstacles, and practicing baseball. Associated activities are available from the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Apples for Everyone
This picture book comes from National Geographic's Picture the Seasons series. Beautiful photographs illustrate apple trees in bloom, bees visiting apple flowers, a variety of apples, and apple trees heavy with fruit in the fall. 
Blueberries for Sal
Sal and her mother are picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile, Sal's mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers' hearts since its first publication in 1948.
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.
Carrots Grow Underground
Part of the How Fruits and Vegetables Grow set, this title highlights the life cycle of a carrot and gives examples of other plant-based foods that grow underground. Designed for early readers, the book includes a list of additional resources and a glossary.
Eating the Alphabet
An alphabetical tour of the world of fruit and vegetables from apricot and artichoke to yam and zucchini. 
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.
Farmers Market
Rise and shine it is market day! This book was developed with fresh vegetables and fruits in mind! The story recounts a family trip to the farmers market through the eyes of a small girl. The setting is southwestern as is the scenery. 
First Day in Grapes
All year long Chico and his family move up and down the state of California picking fruits and vegetables. Every September they pick grapes and Chico starts at a new school again. Often other children pick on him—maybe because he is always new or maybe because he speaks Spanish sometimes. Chico's first day in third grade turns out to be different. His teacher likes him right away, and she and his classmates are quick to recognize his excellent math skills. He may even get to go to the math fair! When the fourth-grade bullies confront Chico in the lunchroom, he responds wisely with strengths of his own.
Food
This book traces the production of food from the farm to our fork. Readers learn where fruits and vegetables grow, visit a dairy where milk is produced, learn about eggs and meat which come from animals, and see how wheat is processed into flour to bake cakes or make pasta. 
From Apples to Applesauce
This book describes apple production, following the process from farm to the table. Fun facts about apples and their production, processing, packaging, and distribution are provided throughout.
Fruit Bowl
All the fruits are in the bowl. There's Apple and Orange. Strawberry and Peach. Plum and Pear. And, of course, Tomato. Now wait just a minute! Tomatoes aren't fruit! Or are they? Using sly science (and some wisdom from a wise old raisin), Tomato proves all the fruit wrong and shows that he belongs in the bowl just as much as the next blueberry! And he's bringing some unexpected friends too!
Green Bean! Green Bean!
A girl plants the seed of a green bean and watches it grow and mature through the seasons, even providing a nook in which to read a book. Includes supplementary information about the life cycle of plants, pertinent vocabulary, and activities.
Growing Seasons
Growing Seasons is a non-fiction picture book about farm life at the turn of the last century, as told through the eyes of Elsie Lee Splear [1906-1996] and the paintings of artist Ken Stark. Nearly everything was done by hand-washing clothes with homemade lard soap, canning fruits and vegetables, butchering meat, and much more- before the advent of rural electricity, indoor plumbing and central heating. 
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood
Harlem Grown tells the inspiring story of how one man made a big difference in a neighborhood. After seeing how restless they were and their lack of healthy food options, Tony Hillery invited students from an underfunded school to turn a vacant lot into a beautiful and functional farm. By getting their hands dirty, these kids turned an abandoned space into something beautiful and useful while learning about healthy, sustainable eating and collaboration. Five years later, the kids and their parents, with the support of the Harlem Grown staff, grow thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables a year. All of it is given to the kids and their families.
How Do Apples Grow?
This book is a part of the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, and it clearly illustrates how fruit comes from flowers. Colorful illustrations show the male and female parts of the apple flowers up close, and the role that bees play in pollinating apple flowers is explained in simple language. The book follows apple trees through all four seasons, from the closed buds of winter to the ripe apples of fall.  
How Groundhog's Garden Grew
Little Groundhog, in trouble for stealing from his friends' gardens, is taught by Squirrel to grow his very own. From seed-gathering to planting, harvesting, and eating home-grown fruits and vegetables, children join Little Groundhog in learning about the gardening process. At the end, Little Groundhog invites his animal friends to a Thanksgiving harvest feast.
How Things Grow
How Things Grow is an elementary level book teaching all about plants and how they grow. You will learn about seeds, flowers, seasons, trees, fruits and nuts. 
How to Grow a Monster
Last year, Gabe's mom grew way too many zucchinis. This year, Gabe and his sister have a secret plan to take control of the garden. They have to stop the zucchini madness! Tying into the popular Makers Movement, Makers Make It Work is a series of fun easy-to-read stories that focus on problem-solving and hands-on action. This charming story explores the Makers theme of Gardening and includes explanatory sidebars and a gardening-related activity for young makers to try themselves.
How to Grow an Apple Pie
It's easy to make an apple pie, but what does it take to make the apples? Sophie is about to find out! First, the apple trees need to be about six years old—just like Sophie. Next, they need to be pruned, and the bees have to pollinate their blossoms! After that, the tiny apples grow through the summer until they're ready to pick in the fall. Finally, it's time for Sophie to make the perfect pie!
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.
Las calabacitas de Zora (Spanish Edition)
The first zucchini of a summer garden is always exciting, but what happens when the plants just keep growing...and growing...and growing? Zora soon finds herself with more zucchini than her family can bake, saute, or barbecue. Fortunately, the ever-resourceful girl comes up with the perfect plan—a garden swap!