cultural control: a method of controlling pests by manipulating the environment to make it less favorable for the pest
biological control: a method of controlling pests using other organisms
biodiversity: the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem
natural resources: materials or substances such as minerals, forests, water, and fertile land that occur in nature and can be used for economic gain
conservation: preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
antibiotics: a medicine that inhibits the growth of or destroys microorganisms
ionizing radiation: radiation consisting of particles, X-rays, or gamma rays with sufficient energy to cause ionization in the medium through which it passes; used in agriculture to reduce or eliminate microorganisms and insects
genetic engineering: the process of manually adding DNA to an organism with the goal of adding one or more new traits not already found in that organism
fertilizer: a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to increase its fertility
synthetic: made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product
conventional farming: farming using synthetic and natural sources for nutrients and pest control
organic farming: farming using natural sources for nutrients and pest control
pesticides: a substance used to destroy pests
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
100 species of commercial apples and over 2,500 varieties are grown in the United States.1
Apples are a member of the rose family.2
Apples are grown commercially in 36 states.1
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
Lead a class discussion about apples. Use the following questions to guide the discussion.
Have you ever heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?"
How many of you really do eat one apple every day?
Do you think eating an apple every day really makes a difference?
Have you ever been to an apple orchard? What did you notice while you were there?
How many apple orchards do you think there are in our state?
Do you eat organic foods at home? What kind(s)? What do you think makes organic foods different from conventionally produced foods?
Activity 1: Claims and Evidence
Explain to the students that "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is a popular phrase that makes a claim. A claim is a strong opinion. Ask the students, "Is there really evidence that apples have health benefits?"
Watch the video An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Ask the students to consider the claim that is being made in the video and listen for any evidence that is used to back up the claim.
After watching the movie, ask the students to answer the following questions in their journal or on a sheet of paper.
What claim is being made? (An apple a day does keep the doctor away.)
What evidence is used to support each claim? (100-year-old Edna eats an apple a day and is still alive. Ten years of research by Horticulture Australia deduced that eating apples with the skin reduces diabetes, cholesterol, and asthma and regulates metabolism.)
Is the evidence strong enough to support the claim? Why or why not?
Invite the students to share their answers with the class.
Organize the students into small groups. Provide each group with a Pest Management Card. Ask the students to read the information as a group and decide whether or not the management practice is organic, conventional, or both. Draw a large, two-circle Venn diagram on the board with one circle labeled "conventional," one circle labeled "organic," and the overlapped section labeled "both." Ask each group to share their conclusions with the class by placing their card on the Venn diagram. Note that all of the conventional cards should be placed in the circle labeled "conventional," and all other cards should be placed in the overlapped section labeled "both." Lead a discussion about how conventional orchards use many of the same pest management controls as organic growers and, in addition, are permitted to use Restricted Use Pesticides.
Using information from the Evaluating Online Resources article, discuss the importance of evaluating and how to determine the credibility of online content. Handout out two articles, one article from each list, to each group. Explain to the students that the articles were found online and make different claims about organic and conventional food. Ask the students to consider the credibility of the information in the articles.
After reading the articles, have each student answer the following questions in their journals for each of the articles their group read.
Who is the author?
Is the author a reliable source? Why or why not?
What claim is being made?
What evidence is used to support the claim?
Is the author credible? Why or why not?
What does the article make you wonder about?
Ask each student to draw their own conclusion about organic and conventionally grown food and write a statement in their journals.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
Organic farming uses natural sources for nutrients and pest control.
Conventional farming uses synthetic and natural sources for nutrients and pest control.
Organic and conventional producers in the United States employ a variety of pest management practices approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prevent, monitor, and eradicate pests.
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!
View the How Does It Grow?: Apples video to explore grafting, pollination, pest management, and harvesting on an apple orchard.
Continue researching apples, and have the students write a business letter to their school administrator or a business to persuade them to purchase conventional and/or organic apples. Research the cost difference in purchasing or growing conventional and organic apples. Make bar graphs comparing conventional and organic apples. Students can compare the amount of apples purchased, the amount of pesticides used, or the shelf life of the apples. Additional information and activities can be found on the Organic Kids website.