2020 Theme: Explore Oklahoma Agriculture
Grades PreK-2nd - Coloring Contest
Grades 3rd-12th - Poster Contest
2020 Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Contest
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is pleased to announce the 2020 Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year contest. This competitive contest will focus statewide attention on the critical role of teaching. Ag in the Classroom (AITC) will honor one PreK-12 th grade Oklahoma teacher who emphasizes agricultural concepts into non-vocational agriculture classroom settings.
Can you count the ways agriculture touches your life? When you wake up in the morning, you’re lying on cotton sheets made from cotton. You swing your feet onto a wood floor, a rug made from the wool of a sheep, or flooring made from linseed or soybean oil. The soap you use in the shower contains tallow (a byproduct of the beef industry), or cottonseed oil or lanolin (a kind of oil from the wool of sheep). Your towel and the your jeans and T-shirt are made from cotton. You get on your bike and ride on tires reinforced with cotton fibers. You’ve already used dozens of agricultural products, and you haven’t even started eating.
Agriculture Feeds Oklahoma
Agriculture feeds Oklahoma. Anywhere you live in our state, you are surrounded by farms producing food for you to eat. In the many cow/calf operations, calves graze on abundant Oklahoma grass until they weigh enough to be sold to beef producers or feedlots. Hogs become bacon, pork chops and other cuts of pork. Sheep and lambs provide lamb chops or roast, while goats provide meat and milk. Dairy cows give us milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and more. Chickens give us meat and eggs. Hay, barley, oats, sorghum and corn grow in Oklahoma fields to feed the farm animals.
Wheat for your bread grows almost everywhere in our state. In many places you will find a variety of fruits and vegetables. Peanuts, canola, soybeans and cotton provide oils used in salad dressings and other foods.
Farmers in Oklahoma can grow such a wide variety of foods because our climate is diverse and we have a long growing season. We typically have over 200 frost free days in the central and southern parts of the state. The deep, organic-rich soils built up by tall grass prairie retain fertility and good structure. The short-grass prairie in the west is fine for grazing beef cattle and sheep. Feed crops are grown under irrigation where rainfall is scarce. We have many different kinds of soil in oklahoma— more different kinds than anywhere else in the world.
The bounty of Oklahoma agriculture can be found in supermarkets, in farmer’s markets and roadside stands, in food cooperatives and in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). Oklahoma farmers provide fruit and vegetables to school cafeterias through the Farm to School program. Some restaurants serve food grown in Oklahoma as well.
Look Around Your Classroom
The wood on your pencil may be made from cedar grown on a tree farm. You may also have a ruler made from wood. Your paper is probably from the pulp of trees like the loblolly pine, which grows on tree farms in southeastern Oklahoma. Cotton is used to make high-quality paper for some documents and in money. Feathers and eggshells from the poultry industry and peanut shells are used to make some kinds of paper too.
The covers of hard back books may be made from cotton. Cotton fibers are also used to make cellophane tape. The ink in your textbooks could be soy ink, made from the oil of soybeans that grow in Oklahoma. Ink may also be made from the oil of cottonseed, corn and sunflower seeds or from the fat of beef and cows—all Oklahoma agricultural commodities. Your crayons may be made from soybean oil or from the fat of a pig or cow grown on an Oklahoma farm.
The chalk your teacher uses may be from the bones of cows or pigs. Paint brushes may be made from the hair of a pig or from the hair in a cow’s tail. Glue and other adhesives are made from other parts of cows and pigs.
The concrete on your playground could be reinforced with wheat. Many agricultural products can be used to make plastic. These include corn, soybeans, cotton, peanut shells and chicken feathers. Plastic made from agricultural products is biodegradable, which means it is better for the environment than plastics made from petroleum products.
Oklahoma corn is used mostly as a feed for the livestock raised in our state, but corn has many nonfood uses. Cornstarch serves as an electrical conductor in batteries. Corn is also used in some paper and as an adhesive for wallpaper.
Agricultural products can even be found on the walls and floor of your classroom. Beef products are used in the production of linoleum flooring, insulation and wallpaper. Soybean products can be found in caulking compounds, electrical insulation, plywood and wallboard. Peanut shells are used in wallboard. Cotton and wool is used to make curtains, rugs and carpets. Peanut oil is used to make paints and varnishes. Wheat is used in roofing tiles, insulation and soundproofing materials. Beef, soybeans, peanut oil and cottonseed products also help keep your classroom clean with detergents and other cleaning products.
At recess you go outside and play baseball with a wooden bat and a glove made from the hide of a cow. Your baseball is made from wool yarn wound around a cork or rubber core and covered with the hide of a cow.
Agriculture feeds us, clothes us, shelters us, helps us get around, helps us play and keeps us clean and well-groomed. It cares for us when we are sick or injured, too. Insulin for diabetics is made from a chemical produced by the pancreas in swine and beef animals, and pig skin is used in skin grafts for burn victims. Milk proteins help make bandaids stick. And all of these products are made from raw materials produced right here in Oklahoma. Agriculture is second only to the oil and gas industry in its contribution to our economy.
- Top 20 Oklahoma Commodities
- 2016 Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics
- Some Products made from Oklahoma Agricultural Commodities
- Oklahoma Commodity Map - Color
- Oklahoma Commodity Map - Black and White
- Students will brainstorm to list all the ways they use agriculture in a typical day.
- Students will use the lists they have created to write stories describing all they do in a typical morning and what agricultural products they use.
- Students will illustrate one of the activities described in their stories.
Grades PreK-2: ELA
Students will consider all the things in the classroom that came from agriculture. Students will count the syllables in the word "agriculture," determine part of speech and write short sentences using the word "agriculture."
Grades 3-4: Social Studies, Science
Students will read about agriculture in their own community and across the state.
Grades 3-5: ELA
Students will explore some agriculture-related careers while decoding words with common suffixes.
Grades 6-12: ELA
Students will explore and research a variety of careers in agriculture. Students will read about rapid advances in agriculture now and in American history.