National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Right This Very Minute
3 - 5
two 1-hour sessions
Students will read Right This Very Minute—a table-to-farm book about food production and farming—and diagram the path of production for a processed product. Students will study a map to discover where different commodities are grown and write a thank-you letter to farmers in their local community.
Interest Approach — Engagement:
- Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen
Activity 1: Right This Very Minute
- Right This Very Minute Clock activity sheet
- Right This Very Minute Map activity sheet
- Brass fasteners, 1 per student
- Various art supplies (scissors, glue sticks, pen/pencil)
Activity 2: Processed or Not?
- Processed or Not? cards, 1 card per student
Activity 3: Thank a Farmer
- Construction/card stock paper
- Lined paper
- Various art supplies (markers, colored pencils, glue sticks)
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
commodity: a primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold
commodity chain: the set of activities involved in the creation of a good or service. Each part of the process, including production, distribution, and consumption, represents a discrete link in the chain.
food processing: the process of transforming raw agricultural products, like grains, vegetables, meat, or milk, into end products to be sold to consumers
harvest: the process or period of gathering crops
precision agriculture: an information technology-based, site-specific farm management system that collects and responds to data ensuring that crops receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity
raw: food in its natural state; not yet processed or purified
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- One U.S. farm produces food and fiber for 165 people each year.1
- Women make up 30 percent of the total number of farm operators.1
- Cattle and calves, corn, and dairy products are the top three U.S. farm products.1
- Farm and ranch families make up 2 percent of the U.S. population.1
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Begin by asking your students what they think farmers are doing right this very minute.
- Allow students to share ideas and discuss different possibilities.
- Read the book Right This Very Minute by Lisl Detlefsen.
- Discuss food with your students. What food do they regularly eat in the lunchroom? What do they enjoy for breakfast?
- Ask students what is happening right this very minute with the food they eat.
- Explain to students that they are going to learn more about the food they eat, where it is grown, and what farmers are doing right this very minute to produce our food.
Activity 1: Right This Very Minute
- Pass out a Right This Very Minute Clock activity sheet to each student. Instruct the students to cut out the small product pictures and clock hands on page 2.
- Allow the students to attach the clock hands to the clock face using a brass fastener.
- Ask the students to pick 12 of the 16 product pictures that are mentioned in the book Right This Very Minute.
- Discuss the product pictures with the students. Which 12 products did they choose?
- Instruct the students to assign each of the 12 product pictures to an hour on clock.
- Pass out a Right This Very Minute Map activity sheet to each student. You may want to laminate maps for multiple uses. Please note that the map only includes products that are discussed in the book. Challenge the students to think of other popular commodities grown in your state. Examples may include pumpkins, soybeans, avocados, pork, chicken, peaches, etc.
- Explain to the students that each hour on the clock has three boxes. Students will need to fill in each box with the following information:
- Box 1: Product picture (e.g. Dairy cow)
- Box 2: List three states where it is grown/produced? (e.g. California, Idaho, Wisconsin)
- Box 3: What are different ways we can eat and enjoy this product? (e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream) For fruits and vegetables, students can also include descriptions like fresh, canned, juiced, frozen, and dried.
- Allow the students to read the map and fill in the three boxes about each of the 12 products on their clock.
- Once the students have completed their clocks, take time to discuss each of the boxes for the different commodities and products.
- Have the students take turns sharing a “time of the day” on their clock and what product is being grown at that time. For example, one student shares their clock and says, “At 1 o’clock, wheat is being grown in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The flour from wheat is used for pancakes, bread, pasta, and pizza dough.”
- Once each student has shared a time of the day on their clock, ask the following questions to lead a class discussion:
- What can we learn from the map?
- Why are certain products grown in specific areas?
- Where is most of our wheat and corn produced?
- Why is California able to grow such a wide variety of agricultural commodities?
- What foods can you eat fresh?
- What does it mean if your food is processed?
- Why do we process some of our food?
- Refer to the Background Agricultural Connections paragraph to discuss how agriculture varies from state to state, the technology farmers use to grow our food, and how food is transported across the United States.
Activity 2: Processed or Not?
- Ask the students what it means to process something. Allow the students to share their ideas.
- Refer to the Background Agricultural Connection paragraph and explain to the students that much of the food we eat is processed. Food that is not processed is referred to as whole, raw, or fresh.
- Ask the students why we process food.
- Pass out a Processed or Not? card to each student. Instruct the students to determine if the food on their card is processed or not.
- Ask the students who are holding processed foods to stand on the left side of the classroom. Ask the students who are holding fresh or raw products to stand on the right side of the classroom.
- Some products may be able to go on either side of the classroom. For example, milk is processed because it undergoes pasteurization and homogenization; however, some people do consume raw milk. The bread on the sandwich has been processed from wheat, but the lettuce and tomato on the sandwich could be fresh. Some eggs are pasteurized in the shell before consumption, or students might gather fresh, raw eggs from their own chickens. Allow students to think critically about their answers.
- Once students have decided on which side of the classroom to stand, discuss their answers.
- Ask students again why we process food. Students should be able to see from all the students standing on the processed side, that food processing gives us more options.
- Ask the following questions to lead a discussion:
- What would we have to eat if we didn’t process any food?
- Is one side of the room healthier than the other? (Healthy diets include eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of our food is safer to eat because of processing—like pasteurizing dairy and egg products.)
- What are farmers and agriculturists doing right this very minute to grow and produce are food?
Activity 3: Thank a Farmer
- Ask the students to create and decorate thank-you cards that portray farmers, agriculture, or food production.
- Allow the students to write a thank-you letter in their card and address it to local farmers/agriculturists in the community.
- Instruct students on how to properly format a thank-you letter with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
- Ask students to include the following components:
- Greeting (Dear…)
- Express thanks (Thank you for…)
- Add specific details (My family really enjoys eating fresh fruit…)
- Restate your thanks (Again, thank you for…)
- End with your regards (Sincerely…)
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Farmers are constantly working to grow and harvest the food we eat.
- A wide variety of agricultural products are grown all over the United States.
- Much of the food we eat is processed. Without food processing, our diets would only include raw, whole foods that are grown in season on the farm.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Conduct a ZOOM/Skype/Facebook live tour with a local farmer. Have the farmer give a tour of their operation and answer questions from the students in a live setting.
Use videos from the How Does it Grow? Video Series to spotlight different products discussed in the book Right This Very Minute by showing the students how the products are grown and harvested.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Processed Food Breakdown (Activity)
- From Start to Finish Series (Book)
- Right This Very Minute: A table-to-farm book about food and farming (Book)
- Where Does Food Come From? (Book)
- Agricultural Commodity & Natural Resource Fact Sheets (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- How Does it Grow? Video Series (Multimedia)
- How It's Made Documentary Series (Multimedia)
- State Agricultural Facts (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
- Discover that there are many jobs in agriculture (T5.3-5.b)
- Explain the value of agriculture and how it is important in daily life. (T5.3-5.d)
- Provide examples of agricultural products available, but not produced in their local area and state (T5.3-5.e)
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table (T3.3-5.b)
- Distinguish between processed and unprocessed food (T3.3-5.c)
Education Content Standards
Economics Standard 2: Decision Making
ObjectiveMake effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens.
Economics Standard 7: Markets and Prices
ObjectiveIdentify markets in which they have participated as a buyer and as a seller and describe how the interaction of all buyers and sellers influences prices. Also, predict how prices change when there is either a shortage or surplus of the product available.
Economics Standard 8: Role of Prices
ObjectivePredict how changes in factors such as consumers' tastes or producers' technology affect prices.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Writing: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.