National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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3 - 5
Five 45-minute sessions
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.
Activity 1: Food Classification
- Food Pictures, 1 set per group
- Fun Agriculture Facts packets, 1 per group
- Large poster board, butcher paper, or construction paper, 1 per group
- Old magazines with pictures of food
- Old seed packages (optional)
- Tape or glue
Activity 2: Scavenger Hunt
- Scavenger Hunt 1 activity sheet, 1 per group
- Grocery ads
- Sample grocery ads (optional)
- Paper on which to show mathematics work
Activity 3: Food Nutrition
- I Am What I Eat! activity sheet, 1 per student
- Cherry Breakfast Bar Nutrition Facts
- Meat Franks Nutrition Facts
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Fun Agriculture Facts
- Sample Grocery Ads (optional)
- Meat Franks Nutrition Facts
- Cherry Breakfast Bar Nutrition Facts
- Food Pictures
- I Am What I Eat
- Scavenger Hunt
RDA: recommended daily allowance
tuber: a thickened underground portion of a stem or rhizome which bears buds
vegetable: a plant or part of a plant such as the leaves or stem which is used as food
fruit: the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food
grain: wheat or any other cultivated cereal crop used as food
meat: the flesh of an animal used as food
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- The American farmer today provides food for about 165 people in the world.1
- Not only do soybeans provide cooking oil, livestock feed, edamame, and soy milk but they also can make 82,368 crayons from 1 acre.2
- The average American consumes consumes 646 pounds of dairy products a year.3
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- As a class, brainstorm different ways food is grown. Some examples include: grows on a tree, grows above ground but not on a tree, grows underground, grows on a plant, comes from a vine, or comes from an animal.
- As a class, determine the four groups the students will use to categorize the food they eat and write them on the board as category headings. Four possible categories are shown in the chart below.
- Record at least five responses from the students in each category.
- While recording their answers, remind the students that farmers are responsible for growing and raising the foods listed in the chart.
- Keep the chart visible throughout the lesson as a reference.
- For student groups of three or four, make copies of the Food Pictures.
- Collect magazines, seed packages, catalogs, and grocery advertisements that students can cut up and use for their posters.
- Create Fun Agriculture Facts packets for each group. You may duplicate pages and/or use other information you find about agriculture. The information can be placed in manila envelopes and used again for different purposes.
Activity 1: Food Classification
- Organize students into groups of three or four.
- Distribute the Food Pictures. Have the students sort the pictures into the four class-determined groups. Discuss the results.
- For each group, distribute the Fun Agriculture Facts packets, magazines and pictures of food, markers, poster paper, scissors, glue sticks, and a piece of chart or butcher paper.
- Have the students divide their poster paper into four sections, and label each section with one of the categories, similar to those used in the Interest Approach — Engagement section.
- In each quadrant, have the students paste at least four pictures that fit the heading. They must label each picture clearly with the name of the food item. Foods that fit in more than one category may not be used.
- Using the Fun Agriculture Facts packets, have the student groups find at least eight interesting facts about the pictures they put on their posters. These facts should be written on a piece of paper and will be used as part of a guessing game during their poster presentation. Challenge the students to record at least one food fact that relates its origin to growing on the farm. An example might be, "There are 200 varieties of this fruit and it can be grown in a farmer's orchard." (plums) In order to use this clue, the students would have plums on their poster.
- Have the students present their posters to the class. As part of the presentation, have a group member read their facts, one at a time, allowing time for classmates to guess which food item they are referring to.
- Direct a class discussion to clarify and correct student work.
- Discuss key vocabulary terms that were new to the students.
- Instead of group posters, each group can research one category. Combine the efforts of each group to create a class poster.
- Instead of making posters, have each group use a large paper to design a floor game based on food origins.
Activity 2: Scavenger Hunt
- Gather at least 40 grocery ads for students to use. Many grocery stores and newspaper manufacturers will save ads for use in the classroom. As an alternative, photocopy the Sample Grocery Ads included in the lesson, and make them available to students.
- Review mathematics vocabulary with your students. The terms they should understand include sum, difference, total price, product, place value in decimals, etc. Students will search through grocery advertisements to find a part of an advertisement that satisfies a particular problem on the scavenger hunt.
- Organize students into pairs. Provide each group with grocery ads, a Scavenger Hunt activity sheet, scissors, and tape.
- Have each team look through the grocery ads and find an ad that satisfies each one of the questions on the Scavenger Hunt activity sheet. Have the students cut out the ads (picture and price) and tape it (top part only) on top of the clue they think it satisfies.
- Have each member of the team show, on his/her own paper, the mathematics required to prove the ads they chose satisfy the clues. Emphasize that neatness and organization is required, so their work can easily be followed.
- Discuss that many of the problems require a sequence of calculations.
- Note: The teacher should circulate among the groups as students work on the activity and discuss the mathematics necessary to substantiate the ad being chosen for the clue. Group papers (one Scavenger Hunt activity sheet with ads taped to it and individual papers) should be collected and graded for mathematical content.
- Complete the activity as a class.
- Have one team correct another team's work.
- Use parent volunteers or "big buddies" to assist with reading clues or finding ads.
Activity 3: Food Nutrition
- In preparation, review the I Am What I Eat! activity sheet. If it will meet your needs, make one copy for each student. Otherwise, create an activity sheet that will be more suitable for your students.
- Project copies of the Cherry Breakfast Bar Nutrition Facts and Meat Franks Nutrition Facts on a large screen. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with students about nutrition as you examine the food label examples.
- Ask the students to think to themselves about what they ate for breakfast. On a sheet of paper, have them draw a picture of where they think their food came from. For example, if they drank orange juice, they would draw an orange tree. Allow five minutes for quick sketches.
- Display the Cherry Bar Nutrition Label. Have students discuss what they see, where the ingredients for this breakfast bar came from, and how the ingredients were grown.
- Distribute the I Am What I Eat! activity sheet or the activity sheet you created. Ask the students what boxes they would check if they actually ate a cherry breakfast bar. This will lead into a discussion about where food comes from. If appropriate, examine and discuss the amount of fiber, fat, calcium, and protein found in this product.
- Explain to the students that they will be collecting data on the food they eat for a particular meal. They will need to keep careful track of the foods they eat and drink. As they consume them, they are to write them down on the chart and then check the appropriate boxes. One food item may require several checks. For more clarification, complete the I Am What I Eat! activity sheet with a meal that you ate prior to class and display as a reference for the students.
- Have students make a bar graph of their individual data. The graph should contain the categories across the bottom on the horizontal axis (x-axis) and the quantity (number of entries in a particular food category) of food eaten on the vertical axis (y-axis).
- Have a class discussion on their findings. Sample discussion topics may include:
- In which category does the majority of food you ate belong?
- In which category does the majority of fruits belong?
- In which category does your favorite food belong?
- In which category does a farmer produce the food?
- In a well-written paragraph, have students write what they learned about where their food comes from. They should check their work for completeness in paragraph development, i.e. include a topic sentence, details to support thoughts, and a concluding sentence. They should also check for proper punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
- Students can read aloud their paragraphs for more understanding and discussion.
- Have students collect data for an entire day (24 hours) rather than for just one meal.
- Make a bar graph to show the results.
- Have students write a report that includes a cover page, data, bar graph(s), and a conclusion.
- Have students compile data and generate graphs using a computer.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:
At the conclusion of this activity, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Farmers grow and raise plants and animals that we eat.
- Agriculture is important to everyone.
- Packaged foods purchased in grocery stores contain nutrition fact labels to help us make good dietary decisions about the foods we eat.
- Without farmers growing the food that we eat and producing the fiber used to make the clothes we wear, these important items would not be easily available.
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!
Have the students compare the bar graphs from Activity 3 within their group and discuss or write reasons for the differences.
Have the students write stories or poems about growing food.
Have the students look through magazines or cookbooks to find a recipe or meal that includes food from each of the four categories. Make a class recipe booklet.
Bring in various foods for the students to see, touch, smell, and taste. Use this opportunity to introduce the students to foods they may have never seen or eaten.
Have the students write thank you notes to local farmers for growing their favorite foods.
Arrange for a farmer to visit your classroom to speak about his/her occupation.
Visit a farmers market and observe the variety of fresh food.
Play the My American Farm interactive game Grocery Grab.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Food Group Puzzle (Activity)
- How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? (Book)
- Look Inside Food (Book)
- The Fruits We Eat (Book)
- What is a Fruit? What is a Vegetable? Bulletin Boards (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Food Doesn't Grow in the Supermarket! (Multimedia)
- Botany on Your Plate: Investigating Plants We Eat (Teacher Reference)
- Health and Nutrition from the Garden (Teacher Reference)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
- Explain the value of agriculture and how it is important in daily life. (T5.3-5.d)
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Describe the necessary food components of a healthy diet using the current dietary guidelines (T3.3-5.a)
- Explain the costs associated with producing and purchasing food. (T3.3-5.d)
- Identify food sources of required food nutrients (T3.3-5.g)
Education Content Standards
Economics Standard 2: Decision Making
ObjectiveMake effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens.
Health Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.5.1Describe the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.
Health Standard 3: The ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
3.5.2Locate resources from home, school, and community that provide valid health information.
Health Standard 5: Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
5.5.5Choose a healthy option when making a decision.
Health Standard 7: Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
7.5.1Identify responsible personal health behaviors.
4-LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
4-LS1-1Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
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.
Writing: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Mathematics: Practice Standards
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4Model with mathematics. Students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6Attend to precision. Students try to communicate precisely to others. They try to use clear definitions in discussion with others and in their own reasoning. They state the meaning of the symbols they choose, including using the equal sign consistently and appropriately. They are careful about specifying units of measure, and labeling axes to clarify the correspondence with quantities in a problem. They calculate accurately and efficiently, express numerical answers with a degree of precision appropriate for the problem context.