National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Growing a Nation Era 4: Into a New Millennium
9 - 12
Students will engage with the Growing a Nation timeline to explore the significant historical and agricultural events and inventions from American history during the years 1970-2000. Students will recognize the importance of labor in agriculture and determine how the implementation of technology in agriculture increased agricultural production.
Activity 1: Event Exploration
- Growing a Nation timeline and necessary projection equipment or computer lab
- Demonstration of Learning Strategies
Activity 3: International Trade, Interdependence, & Sovereignty
- Household Survey activity sheet
- Into a New Millennium documents
Activity 4: Trip to Planet Zorcon
- Planet Zorcon PowerPoint
- Plastic storage bin with lid*
- Gallon-sized Ziploc bags,* 1 per group plus extras to hold resources
- 1–1½ cups of the following "resources": wheat seeds, cotton balls, corn, toothpicks, soybeans, pinto or brown beans, shell macaroni, spiral macaroni, elbow macaroni, paper clips, black beans, amber pebbles, sequins, 1" roofing nails, silver balls (foil or other material), white beans, and 2" pieces of spaghetti*
- Duct tape*
- 8' x10' tarp*
- Plastic spoons,* 1 per group
- Plastic cups,* 2 per group
- Zorcon Research Staff ID Badges,* 1 set per group
- Resource Inventory activity sheet, 1 per group
- Calculators (optional)
* These materials are included in the Planet Zorcon Kit, which is available for purchase from agclassroomstore.com.
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Into a New Millennium Documents
- Resource Inventory Activity Sheet
- Zorcon Research Staff ID Badges
- Planet Zorcon PowerPoint
- Demonstration of Learning Strategies
- Household Survey
inexhaustible resource: natural resource that can last forever regardless of human activities
nonrenewable resource: limited natural resource that cannot be replaced or reproduced (within a generation)
renewable resource: natural resource that can be replaced by human efforts, although the supply of these resources can be reduced without proper management
sustainable agriculture: a system that can indefinitely sustain itself without degrading the land, the environment or the people
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- It takes 3.3 acre feet of water to grow enough food for an average family for a year.
- An acre foot of water is about 326,000 gallons.
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Have a class discussion using the following questions. Use this discussion to assess the prior knowledge of your students and to introduce them to the lesson.
- Does America need to farm in the 21st Century?
- Who supports the 2% who grow products on farms and then ensure a finished product arrives as food, clothes, shelter, or energy? (Another 9% of the population works in the roles of scientists, specialists, processors, business professionals, etc.)
Activity 1: Event Exploration
- Using a projector, mobile devices, or computer lab, review the Growing a Nation: Into a New Millennium section of the multimedia timeline. The Growing a Nation events and sub-events are designed to be adaptable to a variety of teaching strategies. Each Main Event contains Sub-events that explore American history for a greater understanding of the time period or historical cause and effect relationships. The sub-event tiles ask higher order questions to not only expand student knowledge, but also to increase their comprehension to the level of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
- After students view selected events and sub-events, assign or allow students (or student pairs) to choose a sub-event tile. Students can work off of a computer or mobile device or take a screenshot of the selected sub-event and print.
- Ask the students to be prepared to answer the questions on their tile by either using the Think, Pair, Share strategy or by using one of the attached Demonstration of Learning Strategies. You may want to choose a particular strategy to use with the entire class or cut the strategies into strips and ask each student to pick one or two. If the student or group of students is allowed to pick two, ask them to choose the learning strategy they prefer and put the other one back. Keep in mind that some Demonstration of Learning Strategies will be a better fit for some of the event topics than others and that some take more time than others. Some strategies may need to be grouped depending on the available time.
Activity 2: Should this Product be Banned?
- Relate the following to the class:
A high school freshman doing a science project asked 50 people if they would sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide” because it:
- can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
- is a major component of acid rain
- can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
- can kill if aspirated
- contributes to erosion
- decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes
- has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients
- Perception and context are critical to good judgment. Most issues require an examination of validity, context, and trade-offs. Review with students the following:
Was the research conducted properly and are the conclusions easy to understand?
Is the disclosed information true?
Has the research been replicated?
Has the research been published and peer-reviewed?
How is the data used?
Is the whole picture being provided?
What other factors or variables were left out of the research?
Are the solutions worse than the problem?
- Read the paragraph below and discuss the concept of risk with the students.
We get in our cars knowing there is a risk that we might be involved in an accident. We ingest tons of chemicals in the form of prescription drugs. Society often looks for a safety guarantee when, in fact, nothing we do is risk-free. We can do certain things to minimize risks. We can wear seat belts and drive defensively. We can take medicine only when we absolutely need it. But, even with these measures, we realize that nothing is 100% safe.
Risk is the chance of injury, damage, or loss; the degree or probability of loss; the act of exposing oneself to a risk or taking a chance. Scientists and government officials usually address risk in terms of probability for populations, not individuals. The scientific classification for risk may range from low to high to absolute. However, individuals often associate the word “risk” with “danger” instead of “probability."
As in other sectors, the science-based processes of risk assessment and management help determine reasonable agricultural and environmental risk levels. These processes measure and characterize risk, estimate the probability of occurrence, and predict the nature and magnitude of potential adverse effects. For example, scientists may assess various risk factors from pesticide residues in or on the foods people buy and develop management strategies to control residues. Risk managers integrate social, economic, and political factors into risk assessment results.
- Ask the students to work in small groups to identify the following product and to do a risk/benefit analysis to reach a reasonable conclusion about whether the product should be banned. The product:
- contains a chemical that causes cancer in laboratory animals
- causes serious injury to millions of people
- kills 40,000 people a year
- kills millions of animals a year
- causes fires when ignited
- requires tremendous resources for production
- causes major air pollution problems
- produces toxic gases
- causes billions of dollars in property damage every year
- destroys millions of acres of land for roads to facilitate it
- Ask each group to discuss its analytical process and conclusion with the entire class.
- Explain to the students that the product referred to is an automobile, and its risks are an acceptable part of American life because individuals believe they have control over the risks and because there often is not an acceptable alternative to the automobile. This is the type of critical thinking that needs to be used when looking at all kinds of issues.
Activity 3: International Trade, Interdependence, & Sovereignty
- Ask the students if they or their families have ever purchased a product made in a different country.
- Encourage discussion by mentioning the brand names of various products such as Volkswagen (Germany), Sony (Japan), Toyota (Japan), Nintendo (Japan), Panasonic (Japan), Hyundai (South Korea), Adidas (Taiwan), Nokia (Finland), Barilla (pasta, Italy), Nestlé (Switzerland).
- Ask the students to name American brand names; examples include: Levi’s, Microsoft, Google, McDonald’s, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Ford, and many more. Although these companies and their associated brand names are owned and/or operated in a particular country, each has substantial interest in the economy of one another. The products they produce may also require raw ingredients or inputs from each other or other countries around the globe. This is what is meant by the “global market” or “globalization.”
- As a homework assignment, ask each student to complete the survey page of the Household Survey activity sheet. The world map will remain blank until the next class session.
- When the class has completed the survey, make a chart on the whiteboard giving the names of the countries and the brands.
- Ask the students to think about the results of the survey. Were they surprised by the number of products they found in their homes from other countries?
- Review the Into a New Millennium documents “Where Your Food Dollar Goes,” “American Agriculture’s Share of World Production,” “What We Sell to the World. . . What We Buy from Other Nations,” and “Our Top Foreign Markets” with the students to provide context for the products they use every day.
- Have the students mark the world map to indicate from which countries or states their families have products. Connect the dots from the countries or states to their home state.
- Ask the students if they see any trends. Electronics, automobiles, food? Discuss with the students that some countries specialize in producing goods at a price Americans are willing to pay. The U.S. government has trade agreements with many countries, but not all. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international, multilateral organization which sets rules for the global trading system and resolves disputes between its member states, all of whom are signatories to its approximately 30 agreements.
- As closure for this activity, ask students to create a concept map selecting one household item on their survey and then make the connections that product has to other resources, businesses, and careers. Can the students trace the product back to the farm or another natural resource such as oil (plastic)? Does the product’s principle ingredient come from another country? You may want students to identify the location where the connections on their concept webs occur.
- Finally, as a class, discuss again the questions noted in the Interest Approach — Engagement section of this lesson.
Activity 4: Trip to Planet Zorcon
Note: This is a very busy activity! Be sure to have plenty of space, and conduct this activity where students will not disrupt other classes. Review the directions carefully and note the preparation time that is required.
- Tape the tarp onto the floor in a central area. If you are doing this in your classroom, move all the desks against the walls. Draw a large circle (at least four feet in diameter) onto the center of the tarp to represent Planet Zorcon.
- Copy enough Zorcon Research Staff ID Badge sets for your class, printing each set on a different color of paper (for the purpose of clean-up; same colors go together). There are five badges per group, so if you have 30 students, you will need six sets. You will also need some students to serve as Government Inspectors—if the number of students in the class is not evenly divisible by five, you can assign the remaining number to this role.
- For each group, place one set of Zorcon Research Staff ID Badges, 5 spoons, and 2 cups in a gallon-sized Ziploc.
- Fill another Ziploc with the "resources" (see the Materials list).
- Print or set up a computer/projector to project the Planet Zorcon PowerPoint to guide you through the following activity.
- Form cooperative-learning work groups of five students each. Have one student pick up a bag of materials, ID badges, spoons, and cups. Instruct the groups to select a badge "job title"—Project Director, Surveyor, Data Collector, Security, or Resource Specialist.
- Have the surveyor for each group pick up a Resource Inventory activity sheet for their group and have the data collector fill in the name for each person's role.
- If you have an odd number of students in your class, assign three or four students as Government Inspectors. Have the Government Inspectors check to see that each sheet is filled out properly. The role of the inspectors will be to oversee each trip and to monitor behavior on Earth and on the other planet. They are allowed to give fines for improper behavior, which includes things like pushing, yelling, theft, and talking back to the government. Fines may range from one piece of any resource up to an entire trip's resources. Before they give a fine, they must check with the head of the government (the teacher).
- Discuss the Resource Inventory activity sheet. Remind students of the differences between renewable, nonrenewable, and inexhaustible resources. Ask them to place an R, N, or I in the first column on their activity sheets to indicate whether each resource is renewable (R), nonrenewable(N), or inexhaustible (I).
- Explain that this activity depicts life on Earth in the year 2094. Most of Earth's resources have been depleted, and nearly all water is polluted. A new planet, Planet Zorcon, has been discovered that has plenty of resources and is completely pollution-free. At this point, dump all the resources onto the circle representing Planet Zorcon.
- Have the Surveyors line up at least 15 feet away from the planet with a plastic cup and a plastic spoon. Indicate that their task is to travel from Earth to Planet Zorcon and collect as many resources as they can. They must pick up the resources with the spoon, one piece at a time, and place the resources into their cups. On the signal "GO," they should run to the planet and begin collecting.
- A Government Inspector should be sent to the planet to monitor behavior, levy fines, and time the duration of the resource collection—20 seconds for Trip 1.
- The Surveyors can travel at their own speed on their trip back to the earth. The group should help count the resources and provide this information to the Data Collector who should record the counts on the "Resource Inventory" activity sheet.
- Have each group discuss what they would like their Surveyor to collect on the second trip. For the second trip (Trip 2), the Surveyor can collect any way he/she wants but must use the spoon to pick up resources and must put the resources in the cup. Time for this trip is 20 seconds. "Ready, set, GO!"
- Return and record data. Levy fines as needed. Have the Project Director in each group lead a discussion on what the group members should "do" or "make" with their resources and write their ideas on the back of their activity sheet. The group should outline a plan for how best to use the renewable, nonrenewable, and inexhaustible resources and what to collect on the next trip.
- For Trip 3, the government has issued some restrictions and students will have only 10 seconds to collect resources. The Resource Specialist will accompany the Surveyor. Both can bring a spoon and all resources must fit in the cup. They should pick up one resource at a time on the spoon. Heavy fines may be levied if any group uses this method of collection. "Ready, set, GO!"
- Return and record data. Levy any fines, if needed.
- Indicate that Trip 4 is the last trip the government is going to allow to Planet Zorcon. This time anyone can go to collect, and 15 seconds will be allowed for collection time. The only restrictions are that the resources must fit in the groups' cups, and the fine for any personal injuries will be a loss of all resources. Each person may take a spoon.
- Tell students that the unknown mineral (spaghetti), has been identified as a rare mineral with special properties. Water is the largest part of its crystal structure. When the crystals are exposed to Krypton gas, the water is released as pure water. When returned to the air, they recrystallize and recharge by absorbing water from the air. The mineral can be used indefinitely. Only pieces that are not broken will count.
- Suggestion: Some of the Government Inspectors and group Security people may need to stay on Earth to guard the previously collected resources. The others should travel to the planet.
Discuss the activity covering the following topics:
- What did you collect? Why?
- What challenges did you experience?
- What role did the government play?
- How evenly were the resources distributed?
- What does the new planet look like now?
- Would you be able to live there?
- Why didn't anyone think to protect the planet?
- Are the damages your fault or the government's fault?
- What careers are there in natural resource management?
- Did you need a security person?
- What was your main motivation for the last trip?
- Which resources were most valuable? Why?
- Can you restore the new planet to its original condition?
- What resource specialists would be needed?
The future of our planet depends on human behaviors that we can control and our reaction to things we can't control, such as the weather and earthquakes. If no action is taken to manage how we use natural resources, nonrenewable resources can be exhausted, the quality of inexhaustible resources can be damaged, and the ability to replenish renewable resources can be lost. Managing natural resource use requires managing human behavior, which is a complex endeavor. There are many careers available in natural resource management ranging from research and education to policy development and law enforcement.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Perception and context are critical to good judgment. Most issues require an examination of validity, context, and trade-offs.
- National security, sovereignty, overseas competition, and environmental concerns affect the U.S. economy.
- Whether a resource is nonrenewable, renewable, or inexhaustible, it needs to be managed to maintain the sustainability of the resources we need to survive.
- Sustainable agricultural practices seek to sustain farmers, resources, and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities.
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!
Suggested Companion Resources
- Planet Zorcon (Kit)
- Growing a Nation Multimedia Timeline (Multimedia)
- How Farming Planted Seeds for the Internet (Multimedia)
- Food and Farm Facts Booklet (Booklets & Readers)
- Agricultural News (Website)
- State Agricultural Facts (Website)
- Tractor Timeline- A History of Tractors (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
- Provide examples of how changes in cultural preferences influence production, processing, marketing, and trade of agricultural products (T5.9-12.j)
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
- Evaluate evidence for differing points of view on topics related to agricultural production, processing, and marketing (e.g., over-grazing and loss of plant species diversity; monocultures contributing to genetic vulnerability; use of fertilizers and pesticides increase crop production but may contaminate water sources; creating open space; farmland preservation; animal welfare practices; immigration issues; world hunger) (T2.9-12.d)
Education Content Standards
Economics Standard 5: Trade
ObjectiveNegotiate exchanges and identify the gains to themselves and others. Compare the benefits and costs of policies that alter trade barriers between nations, such as tariffs and quotas.
Economics Standard 8: Role of Prices
ObjectivePredict how changes in factors such as consumers' tastes or producers' technology affect prices.
NCSS 3: People, Places, and Environments
Objective 1The theme of people, places, and environments involves the study of the relationships between human populations in different locations and regional and global geographic phenomena, such as landforms, soils, climate, vegetation, and natural resources.
Objective 4The causes and impact of resource management, as reflected in land use, settlement patterns, and ecosystem changes.
Objective 6The social and economic effects of environmental changes and crises resulting from phenomena such as floods, storms, and drought.
Objective 8The use of a variety of maps, globes, graphic representations, and geospatial technologies to help investigate spatial relations, resources and population density and distribution, and changes in the phenomena over time.
NCSS 7: Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Objective 1Scarcity and the uneven distribution of resources result in economic decisions and foster consequences that may support cooperation or conflict.
Objective 3That regulations and laws (for example, on property rights and contract enforcement) affect incentives for people to produce and exchange goods and services.
Objective 6How factors such as changes in the market, levels of competition, and the rate of employment cause changes in prices of goods and services.
Objective 9Various measures of national economic health (e.g., GNP, GDP, and the unemployment rate).
NCSS 8: Science, Technology, and Society
Objective 1Science is the result of empirical study of the natural world, and technology is the application of knowledge to accomplish tasks.
Objective 2Science and technology have had both positive and negative impacts upon individuals, societies, and the environment in the past and present.
Objective 3That the world is media saturated and technologically dependent.
Objective 4Consequences of science and technology for individuals and societies.
Objective 5Decisions regarding the uses and consequences of science and technology are often complex because of the need to choose between or reconcile different viewpoints.
Objective 7Findings in science and advances in technology sometimes create ethical issues that test our standards and values.
Objective 8The importance of the cultural contexts in which media are created and received.
Objective 9Science, technology, and their consequences are unevenly available across the globe.
Objective 10Science and technology have contributed to making the world increasingly interdependent.
Objective 11That achievements in science and technology are increasing at a rapid pace and can have both planned and unanticipated consequences.
Objective 12Developments in science and technology may help to address global issues.
HS-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-6Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
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.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.