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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (23)

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.

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: Vegetables

Students will learn the concept of pH, and the impact of acids and bases on plant pigments, explore the impact of acids and bases on plant cell structure, and discover the health benefits of consuming vegetables.

FoodMASTER: Vegetables

Students will measure the weight and length or circumference of various vegetables. After studying the vegetables, students will classify the vegetables based on plant parts and explore chemical reactions from cooking colored vegetables in acidic and basic water.  Students will also use a variety of vegetables to prepare soup.

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.

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.

How Does Your Garden Grow? (Grades 3-5)

Students synthesize what they know about soils, plants, and the environment to plan a garden, present their plans, and explain why they made the decisions that they did.

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.

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 Farmer Grows a Rainbow: Three Reasons

Students will gain familiarity with the health benefits of foods contained in each group of MyPlate.

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.

Who Grew My Soup? (Grades 3-5)

Students will identify the source of the food they eat and investigate the processes and people involved in getting food from the farm to their spoon.

Who Grew My Soup? (Grades K-2)

Students will identify the source of the food they eat and investigate the processes and people involved in getting food from the farm to their spoon.

Companion Resources (73)

Activity
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 Green, Green Garden
Little Critter learns that planting his own garden is a lot of fun and a lot of work. But the result—a green, green garden—is something he can cherish and enjoy.
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.
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. 
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!
Grandpa's Garden
This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives, they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!
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.
Grow! Raise! Catch!
Who grows our juicy fruit and yummy vegetables? Who raises animals for our tasty eggs, milk, and meat? Who catches fresh fish for our table? Farmers and fishermen show off their bounty in this lively and informative look at the people who produce the food on which we all rely. 
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.
Harvesting Friends, Cosechando Amigos
Harvesting Friends, Cosechando Amigos is a story about a garden that grows more than its garden vegetables; it grows friendships!  Come meet young Lupe and her new friend Antonio as they meet in an unexpected way and grow their friendship to include their neighbors and friends of all ages.
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 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.
In the Garden: Who's Been Here
Christina and Jeremy have been sent to the garden to gather vegetables for dinner. But they quickly realize that they are not the first visitors to the garden today. There's a slimy trail on a leaf in the cucumber patch, and some corn kernels have been pecked off the cob. Not only that, someone has been snacking on the lettuce leaves! Christina and Jeremy follow the clues to discover which birds, animals, and insects have been in their garden. Keep your eyes open and join Christina and Jeremy on a scientific journey in their own backyard! 
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.
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.
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!