Why Ag in the Classroom?
Agriculture means survival. Over time, fewer and fewer people have close contact with farming and the total agricultural sector. They're not aware of their own and society's total dependence on agriculture. People must be agriculturally literate in order to make responsible decisions affecting this giant lifeline.
Teaching students to be agriculturally literate brings their learning to life. Helping students understand the farm-to-table connection is important in our consumer-driven society. That's what the student Minnesota AgMag Series is all about.
About Your AgMag
The AgMag is a great supplement to your social studies, science, or language arts curriculum. The AgMag has particular appeal to the study of Minnesota history and geography. You'll get two issues per school year: October and March.
AgMag Theme: Agriculture: Every Day, Every Way!
- The Food We Eat
- Winter Growing
- The Clothes We Wear
- The Things We Use
- The Tools We Use
- Between the Winter Growing page and the Weather page, you could come up with a plan for growing vegetables with your students. Determine the correct growing season for your area, which vegetable(s) you’d like to grow, and how long it will take for the vegetable to be ready to harvest. You can make this activity as involved as you’d like by having students choose the seeds, plant them, water them, and measure and observe the plants growth.
- The Seed Packet activity is a great way for students to work on addition and subtraction. Bring in seed packets that state how many days the seeds need to germinate, and how many days until harvest. Students can practice their addition skills by determining when these dates will occur, according to the seed packet.
English Language Arts
- Use the AgMag to help students practice comprehension and reading informational texts.
Some words in your AgMag may be unfamiliar to your students. Many are defined in the articles. There is also a glossary on the AgMag website: http://mnagmag.org/glossary/ Words you might wish to pre-teach are:
AGRICULTURE: Growing plants and raising animals that people use for food, clothing and many other things every day. It's also harvesting those farm products and getting them to us so we can use them. Agriculture is the industry that grows, harvests, processes, and brings us food, fiber, fish, forests, sod, landscaping materials, and more. It uses soil, water, sun, and air to produce its products. The process starts on farms, orchards, gardens, and ranches with the growing and the harvesting of crops and livestock, then moves to processing plants before finally traveling as finished products to stores, farm markets, lumberyards, greenhouses, and more where consumers buy the products. Agriculture is connected in some way with almost everything we eat, wear, and use.
Quote from an Unknown Source: "Agriculture is not simply farming. It's the supermarket, the equipment factory, the trucking system, the overseas shipping industry, the scientist's laboratory, the houses we live in, and much more. It has an effect on the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the water we drink, and the food we eat.
CORD: A cord of wood is a measurement. When wood is cut and stacked a cord of wood measures 4 feet high x 8 feet long x 4 feet deep
GROWING SEASON: The season of the year in which rainfall and temperature allow the crop to grow.
PEAK SEASON: This season occurs when the crop is ready to harvest and we can use it or eat it when it is fresh and most delicious.
RICER: A person who harvests the grains from the wild rice stalks.
Minnesota Academic Standards Connection
|Science||2P.220.127.116.11||Obtain information and communicate how Minnesota American Indian Tribes and communities and other cultures apply knowledge of the natural world in determining which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.|
|Science||2E.18.104.22.168||Represent data to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. (P: 4, CC: 1, CI: ESS2) Examples of data may include temperature, precipitation, and wind direction. Data displays can include pictographs and bar graphs.|
|Science||22.214.171.124.1||Represent data in tables and various visual formats to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. **(P: 4, CC: 1, CI: ESS2)Examples of data could include temperature, precipitation, and wind direction. Various visual formats can include pictographs, bar graphs, and pie charts|
|Science||126.96.36.199.2||Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to reduce the impacts of a weather-related hazard and compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.* (P: 4, CC: 2, CI: ESS3, ETS2) Examples of design solutions to weather-related hazards could include barriers to prevent flooding or snow drifting, wind resistant roofs, and buildings that are able to withstand tornadoes.|
|English Language Arts||188.8.131.52.1||Choose and read texts that address the purpose (e.g., personal interest, enjoyment, academic tasks), representing perspectives and identities of historical and contemporary Dakota and Anishinaabe people.|
|English Language Arts||184.108.40.206.4||Describe the connection between a series of events, concepts, or steps in a procedure, in informational text.*|
AgMag Cover: Agriculture: Every Day, Every Way!
- What is agriculture?
- What are you wearing right now that came from agriculture?
- What did you eat today that came from agriculture?
Connecting Things to Agriculture
- Your students may need a little guidance in connecting the everyday items they use to a raw agriculture product. Draw a diagram on the board that connects an item to agriculture.
- Ex: Cereal → main ingredient is grain → grown in a wheat field
- Ex: Pencil → cut and assembled in a factory → made from wood → wood cut from forest
- Because agriculture may be new to some of your students, make sure to go over the definition of agriculture.
- Agriculture: Agriculture is making things that grow on farms, like plants and animals, into things that we use.
Page 2: The Food We Eat
- Do any of you know a farmer? Did you know there are many farmers in Minnesota? They play a really important role in our state!
- Consider reading the bold first paragraph together as a class. You may need to answer questions or check to make sure students have comprehended the main idea on this page.
If you’d like to focus on “compare and contrast” skills on this page, consider having students get into pairs and read about farmers Laura and Rachel together. Have them create a Venn Diagram chart in which they can compare the similarities and differences between Laura and Rachel’s farming practices.
Temperatures During Minnesota’s Seasons:
2. Hutchinson, MN
2a. Laura would be able to plant sooner because of the warmer climate where she farms
3. Rachel should harvest her crop first.
Page 3: Weather
- What plants have you seen growing in Minnesota?
- Make a list on the board as you brainstorm as a class. Some students may not have very much background knowledge on this, so try to help them come up with a good list.
- Help students by explaining what peak season is (when the crop is ready to be harvested). Explain that the dark orange is when the peak season occurs.
- Answers will vary depending on what time of the year you are reading this chart. If you are doing this in January, February, March, or April, the answer will be that no plants are in peak season because it is winter and so plants aren’t able to grow outdoors. However we can learn on the next page about winter growing and how to extend the growing season of a plant.
Examples of Plants we CAN grow (this list is not comprehensive):
- Anything grown in a vegetable garden (tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, carrots, etc.)
- Grains – in addition to wheat, Minnesota farmers grow oats, rye, barley, and wild rice
- Corn – both sweet corn for humans to eat and field corn that is fed to animals
Examples of plants we CAN’T grow (this list is not comprehensive):
- This list includes plants that need warmer temperatures and heavier rainfall than what naturally occurs in Minnesota.
Page 4: Winter Growing
- What would we have to do in order to grow plants outside in the winter?
- What conditions does a seed need in order to be able to grow?
- Answer (sunlight, right temperature, water)
Consider coming up with a plan for growing vegetables with your students. Determine the correct growing season for your area, which vegetable(s) you’d like to grow, and how long it will take for the vegetable to be ready to harvest. You can make this activity as involved as you’d like by having students choose the seeds, plant them, water them, and measure and observe the plants growth.
Seed Packet Match:
If you planted March 1st, the carrots would be ready to harvest 60 days later on May 1st.
If you planted May 7th, the carrots would be ready to harvest 60 days later on July 7th.
Consider bringing in other seed packets and doing the math to know when the plants would be ready to harvest. You could also find pictures of seed packets online. .
Page 5: The Clothes We Wear. The Things We Use
- What are our clothes made of?
- Look at the tag on your shirt. What materials are your clothes made of?
This is an interesting look at where cloth comes from and how it is made:
Page 6: The Tools We Use
- What tools do you use at your house?
- How do tools make your life easier?
- What would you do if you didn’t have the tools you need?
Come up with a scenario in which the students need to create a tool to accomplish their task. For example, say they need something to write with, but pens, pencils, markers, and crayons hadn’t been invented yet. What else could the students use to write with? You could go on a nature walk with them around the school to find items that could work.
- Examples of writing utensils they could come up with are rocks, chalk from charcoal, the dye from flowers can make an ink. A stick or feather that you dip in water, etc.
Another extension activity is to have students think of a tool that would help solve a problem that they are currently experiencing at home or school. What materials would be needed to create the tool? How would it work?