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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (27)

A "Sour" Subject

Students investigate the growth and production of citrus fruits and use observation and mathematical computation to compare and contrast grapefruits and lemons. Grades 3-5

A is for Apples

Students use their five senses to investigate apples, identify and model the parts of an apple, make applesauce, and learn how apples are grown. Grades K-2

Apple Science: Comparing Apples and Onions

Students explore heredity concepts by comparing observable traits of apples and onions, collecting data on the traits of different apple varieties, and investigating apple production. Additional activities include hands-on methods for testing apple ripeness. 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

Cruisin' for a Bruisin' Food Packaging Specialist

In this lesson students will learn that product packaging is a balance between function, food safety, and economics by designing a protective package for shipping perishable fruit. Each package will be presented to the class for evaluation, and the best design will be shipped to test the product's durability. Grades 6-8

Eat 'Em Up

Students identify the plant parts that they eat, including roots, stems, flowers, leaves, fruit, and seeds and choose a favorite fruit or vegetable to feature in a healthy recipe they prepare with their families. Grades K-2

Eating Plants

Students identify the structure and function of six plant parts and classify fruits and vegetables according to which parts of the plants are edible. Grades K-2

Edible Numbers

Students 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. Grades 3-5

Esperanza Rising

Students read the novel Esperanza Rising written by Pam Munoz Ryan to examine the lives of 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. Grades 3-5

FoodMASTER Middle: Fruits

Students will learn the concept of enzymatic browning and methods for decreasing enzymatic oxidation by observing three types of fruit. Students will also understand the relationship between oxidation and antioxidants and the role fruits play in health and nutrition. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER: Fruits

Students identify fruits that grow on a tree, bush, or vine, classify fruits as pome, drupe, berry, melon, or citrus, perform an experiment about the browning of fruit, and dry plums to make prunes. 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

Fruit and Vegetable Bingo

Students recognize the names of different fruits and vegetables and describe why they are important. Grades K-2

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. Grades 9-12

Fruits of Our Labor

Students discover how fresh fruits can be dried and preserved by participating in an activity where they make raisins by drying grapes. 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

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. Grades K-2

Making Half MyPlate Fruits and Vegetables

Students examine MyPlate (2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and discover the importance of making half your plate fruits and vegetables. Grades 3-5

My Healthy Plate

Students categorize the foods they eat, explore healthy eating habits, and investigate the MyPlate food campaign. Grades K-2

My Life as a Fruit or Vegetable

Students explore the production and distribution of fresh produce. Grades 3-5

Nutritional Value of Fresh Produce

Students determine 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. Grades 3-5

Peaches: What's All the Fuzz About?

Students explore peach production in various regions of the United States, describe how peaches are produced and processed from farm to table, and explain how internal and external structures of peaches support survival and growth. Grades 3-5

Plant Tops and Bottoms

Students identify where fruits and vegetables belong on the 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. Grades K-2

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. Grades 6-8

The Chemistry of Fruits and Vegetables

Students examine fruit and vegetable preparation and storage. Grades 3-5

Companion Resources (94)

Activity
A Seedy Fruit Challenge
This activity teaches students to identify different types of fruits and categorize them into two main groups based on whether they are dry or fleshy. Students will follow a worksheet and complete a lab assignment where they dissect various fruits. 
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.
Prolific Pollinators
How does your food get pollinated? Pollinators are essential to agriculture and the environment. Students will learn about the various categories of pollinators and their contribution to producing agriculture commodities. Includes three activities, a math exercise, and ideas for service learning and citizen science.
The Very Hungry Western Caterpillar
Based off of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this caterpillar takes a journey through the Western United States as he eats some of the most popular agriculture commodities in each state. This book can be made individually by students or used as a classroom copy. 
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 Home Run for Peanuts
Meet Jake and his loyal farm dog, Max. They live on a Georgia peanut farm and are excited to show you around. Grab a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and explore the farm through the changing seasons. Along the way, you will discover how farmers take care of their farm machinery, plant seeds, tend the crops, harvest the peanuts, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Plus, you'll see how Jake applies lessons learned on the farm into other areas of his life—studying for tests at school, overcoming obstacles, and practicing baseball. Associated activities are available from the Georgia Peanut Commission.
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.
An Apple Tree Through the Year
While tracing the development of an apple tree from bud to fruit, Schnieper highlights the progress of an apple tree through the four seasons. The book provides an overview of life in an orchard. Beautiful full-color photos and black-and-white line drawings highlight and elucidate the text. An excellent explanation of grafting is also included.
An Orange in January
From blossom to the hands of a child, an orange is seemingly bursting with sunshine even on the coldest of January days. An Orange in January is a story about a child who shares his juicy orange segments on a cold day and feels the sunshine it brings to all.
Apples
Today, the average American consumes about sixty-five fresh apples each year. Where do so many apples come from? How do they grow? This book takes young readers on a field trip to the apple orchard to find out how apple growers produce the many different varieties of America's favorite fruit. Recipes, trivia, and fun facts included.
Apples for Everyone
This picture book comes from National Geographic's Picture the Seasons series. Beautiful photographs illustrate apple trees in bloom, bees visiting apple flowers, a variety of apples, and apple trees heavy with fruit in the fall. 
Apples to Oregon
A pioneer father transports his beloved fruit trees and his family to Oregon in the mid-nineteenth century. Based loosely on the life of Henderson Luelling. The slightly true narrative of how a brave pioneer father brought apples, pears, plums, grapes, and cherries (and children) across the plains.
Bananas!
Sure, you know bananas are good for you, but how good exactly? Ounce for ounce, a banana is even more nutritious than an apple. If you want to keep the doctor away, try a banana. And there is so much more to learn about bananas. From their early roots in Southeast Asia to their introduction to Americans at the 1876 United States Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia alongside Alexander Graham Bell's new invention, the telephone, bananas have a very auspicious history. Bananas are now shipped (very carefully) all over the world. After reading this book, you won't think of bananas as just a quick, easy snack anymore.
Blueberries for Sal
Sal and her mother are picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile, Sal's mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers' hearts since its first publication in 1948.
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 Apple
In this autobiographical novel set in the 1940s, the author tells of her childhood in China and her dream to buy a special gift for her grandmother's birthday--an apple, a fruit that is precious and rare in her part of mainland China. The child's voice and the intensity of her desire to do something for her grandmother, who has raised her from early childhood, are very real. This first novel by a Chinese immigrant is poignant, memorable, and presented in a format that is accessible to readers at the chapter book level and beyond.
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. 
Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers' Market
This collection of poems takes young readers to a day at an urban farmers' market. Who to see, what to eat, and how produce is grown—it's all so exciting, fresh, and delicious. Readers are invited to peruse the stands and inspect vendors' wares with poems like "Farmer Greg's Free-Range Eggs," "Summer Checklist," and "Necessary Mess."
From Apples to Applesauce
This book describes apple production, following the process from farm to the table. Fun facts about apples and their production, processing, packaging, and distribution are provided throughout.
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!