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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

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Lesson Plans (38)

A Closer Look at Fats (Grades 6-8)

This lesson describes the role of fats in food and in the body, and how they serve as a source of energy. It provides information on different types of fats that are listed on the Nutrition Facts label – including total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat—and defines trans fat and cholesterol. The lesson also includes dietary guidance for fat consumption. Grades 6-8

A Taste of Leafy Greens

Students explore a variety of greens to identify their structure and function in plant growth and prepare, cook, differentiate, and enjoy the health benefits leafy greens have to offer. Grades K-2

Animal or Plant? (Grades 3-5)

Students investigate the sources of different foods and examine the importance of eating a variety of nutritious foods. Grades 3-5

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. Grades 3-5

Bunches of Berries

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

Cracking Open the Story of Nuts

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

Eggs: From Hen to Home (Grades 3-5)

Students trace the production path of eggs, beginning on the farm and ending in their home and identify the culinary uses and nutritional benefits of eggs. Grades 3-5

Eggs: From Hen to Home (Grades K-2)

Students trace the production path of eggs, beginning on the farm and ending in their home and identify the culinary uses and nutritional benefits of eggs. Grades K-2

Eggs: Protein MVP

Students explore the importance of protein to a healthy diet and discover that eggs are a nutritious food and a good source of protein. Grades 3-5

FoodMASTER: Eggs

Students examine the process of egg production from the hen to our homes, explore the parts of an egg, perform measurements of circumference and height, compare raw egg whites to egg white foams, and prepare meringue cookies. Grades 3-5

FoodMASTER: Fats and Oils

Students identify the farm source of common dietary fats, compare Nutrition Facts labels, perform a taste test of various salad dressings, learn the chemistry of emulsification, and compare regular ice cream, reduced-fat ice cream and fat-free ice cream. Grades 3-5

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

FoodMASTER: Meal Management

Students choose foods from each of the five food groups to create a meal and calculate the cost of serving the meal to five people and to one person. Students are challenged to plan, prepare, evaluate, and eat a lunch meal that costs less than $1.50 per person. Grades 3-5

FoodMASTER: Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Students discover how animals utilize nutrients and energy from food humans cannot digest and convert it to meat, a food rich in zinc, iron, and protein. Students examine how hamburger is formulated for leanness, compare two kinds of hotdogs, and investigate about fish. Grades 3-5

Fortified for Health

Students explore the process of fortification where vitamins and minerals are added to food to make it more healthful and to help people meet their recommended daily intake of different nutrients. Grades 3-5

Freshest Fruits

Students determine where fruits grow and their nutritional value by completing an activity to observe the size, shape, texture, and seeds of various fruits. Grades K-2

Give Me Five!

Students examine the five food groups and what state-grown foods fit into each group by making a local connection to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Grades 3-5

Grocery Store Problem Solving (Grades 3-5)

Students use basic mathematical skills to solve problems related to the cost of food while integrating geography and nutrition to enhance learning. Students analyze grocery ads, assess the nutrition and cost of meals, and explore diets around the world. 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

Hunger and Malnutrition (Grades 3-5)

Students investigate 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 HungerMap LiveGrades 3-5

In a Nutshell

Students explore pecan production from farm to fork, simulate the process of grafting, and create a nutritious snack. Grades 3-5

Introducing the Nutrition Facts Label

Explore the features of the Nutrition Facts label with a focus on protein, analyze serving size, and make a Nutrition Facts label for a smoothie. Grades 6-8

Luscious Leaves

Students examine the functions of plant leaves and identify leaves as edible parts of some plants. Grades 3-5

Making Half MyPlate Fruits and Vegetables

Students examine MyPlate and discover the importance of making half their plate fruits and vegetables. Grades 3-5

Mastering Mindful Eating (Grades 6-8)

Students will explore hunger, satiety, and mindful eating to discover how our eating habits are impacted by our awareness to physiological signals of hunger or fullness. Students will also practice mindful eating practices and explore portion sizes as they sort foods, create meals using portion-size food models, and track their food using mindful eating practices. Grades 6-8

Companion Resources (61)

Activity
Endless Options
A 30-minute activity teaching students about food allergies, reading food labels to identify allergens, and food substitutions.  It can be added to any lesson on food labels, nutrition, etc. 
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.
Food Group Puzzle
This activity can be a supplement to any nutrition lesson.  Students will complete puzzles by matching food groups to the nutrients the food group provides and examples of foods within the food group. A digital and paper version is included.
Growing Microgreens
Growing microgreens is a quick, easy, and tasty way to explore the seed germination and plant growth life cycle. There are MANY different kinds of microgreens—some taste mild and juicy, others pack a spicy punch! Try growing a variety of microgreens to observe and eat.
Higher or Lower: Ingredient Investigation
A "Price is Right" style activity designed to help illustrate the sugar and salt content found in processed foods. This activity can supplement nutrition and food processing lessons.
Mapping Meals Activity
A 20-minute activity to illustrate to students that many of our foods come from around the world. Activity can be added to any lesson on food, food sources, nutrition, etc.
Portion Size Comparison
This activity can supplement any nutrition lesson. Students will identify portion sizes for food and compare them with common every-day items through a "Grab Bag" activity.
Processed Food Breakdown
This 20-minute activity allows students to apply their knowledge of reading food labels and identifying the nutrient content of food. Students work in groups and are challenged to create a nutritious meal with processed foods. This is an ideal capstone activity for a lesson on reading food labels and determining the nutrient content of foods.
The Healthy Hop 'n Shop
In this activity students categorize foods into food groups and describe the USDA MyPlate icon by participating in an activity where students act out the role of a grocery store worker and stock the "shelves" with food from each food group. 
Book
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.
Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition
This book offers all the basics found in an adult nutrition guide in a format designed specifically for kids. Lizzy Rockwell has filled Good Enough to Eat with funny speech bubbles, detailed illustrations, and an engaging cast of children who explain everything from why your body needs protein to how long it takes to burn 100 calories. All this plus hands-on experiments and recipes make learning so much fun, kids can taste it!
Grains on MyPlate
Grains are hearty, wholesome, and healthy. Learn about how MyPlate helps kids make great food choices every day, including grains.
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.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
This story makes a fun hook to engage young students with healthy eating. Lola is a very fussy eater. Carrots are for rabbits and peas are 'too small and too green.' One day, after rattling off her long list of despised foods, she ends with the vehement pronouncement, "And I absolutely will never not ever eat a tomato." Not convinced, Lola's older brother Charlie has an idea. He tells Lola that the orange things on the table are not carrots, but "orange twiglets from Jupiter" and peas are in fact "green drops from Greenland." Mashed potatoes, when pitched as "cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji" suddenly seem appealing to Lola. And in the end, might she even eat a tomato? 
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.
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.
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!
Las espinacas de Sylvia (Spanish Edition)
A picky eater discovers the joy of growing food and the pleasure of tasting something new. Sylvia Spivens always says no to spinach. But one day Sylvia's teacher giver her a packet of spinach seeds to plant for the school garden. Overcoming her initial reluctance and giving the seeds a little love and patience, Sylvia discovers the joy of growing food and the pleasure of tasting something new.
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.
Midday Meals Around the World
Discover what children around the world eat for their midday meals. Menus include one or two meals from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Kid-friendly recipes are also included.
No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully
On an otherwise ordinary day, Elliot discovers something extraordinary: the power of mindfulness. When he asks his neighbor Carmen for a snack, he's at first disappointed when she hands him an apple — he wanted candy! But when encouraged to carefully and attentively look, feel, smell, taste, and even listen to the apple, Elliot discovers that this apple is not ordinary at all.
Oliver's Fruit Salad
Oliver is off to stay with Grandpa, who grows his own vegetables. But Oliver doesn't eat vegetables—only chips. How will Grandpa persuade him into a week of healthy eating?
Plants Feed Me
Plants Feed Me is an early elementary, non-fiction picture book about the plant foods we eat. This book describes which parts of plants are edible in simple accessible language using botanically realistic illustrations.  Basic botanical science concepts of seed, sprout, flower, fruit, and plant structure are introduced with words and pictures.  
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.
Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant
Know any kids that don't like veggies? Here's a book that's sure to change their hungry minds. Rah, Rah, Radishes! celebrates fresh vegetables, nature's bright colors, and the joy of healthy eating.