National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


Where Did Your Hamburger Come From?

Grade Level(s)

K - 2

Estimated Time

45 minutes


In this lesson students will learn about the variety of agricultural products they consume in a hamburger and will trace the ingredients back to their source. This lesson contains information specifically for California students.


For the teacher:

  • Fun with The Plant Nutrient Team student activity book
  • California Grows Map

For each student:

  • Where Did Your Hamburger Come From? handouts
  • Fun with The Plant Nutrient Team student activity book
  • Scissors
  • Pencils, crayons, colored pencils, or markers
  • Glue
  • Paper plate

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)


MyPlate: nutrition guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture

commodity: a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bough and sold

Background Agricultural Connections

This lesson is part of the Fun with the Plant Nutrient Team series which were written to help children better understand what the soil needs to be healthy in order to provide us with healthy foods. The lessons encourage students to think for themselves, ask questions, and learn problem-solving skills while learning the specific content needed to better understand the world in which they live. The lessons include:

Many students don’t think about the source of their food beyond the grocery store or the importance of agriculture in their daily lives. Students may be surprised to learn about all the different commodities in the ingredients of something as familiar as a hamburger. Mustard is just one example. Mustard is made from the seeds of a mustard plant and spices such as garlic powder and turmeric. Mustard is likely a plant that most students have not seen, but there are farmers in California who grow mustard plants to harvest seeds for spice blends and mustard condiments. Emphasize to students that from growing a crop to harvesting, processing, and transportation, it takes many different people and steps to provide the ingredients for a simple meal.

MyPlate recommends that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal.

A hamburger will often contain a food from each of the food groups. The food groups and recommended servings for children ages four to eight years old are:

Interest Approach – Engagement

  1. Ask students if they like to eat hamburgers and have them help you make a list on the board of their favorite hamburger ingredients and toppings.
  2. Once you have your list, ask students which of the items came from a farm or ranch and then make a check mark by those items. Explain that the class will be doing an activity to learn more about the ingredients of the hamburger and where they come from.


  1. Provide students with the handout of the hamburger parts located in the attached Where Did Your Hamburger Come From? handout and have students color them and cut them out according to directions.
  2. After students have colored, cut out, and pasted their hamburger parts on their plate, discuss each part as you draw the hamburger components on the board.
  3. Show students the California Grows Map by projecting it on a screen or have them refer to their own handout. Next to each hamburger part on their plate, instruct students to write down the source of the main ingredient and use the map to locate a county where it is produced. Label the food group for each part of the hamburger.
    • For items like pickles and onions, remind students that these are vegetables and they should look on the map for counties that have vegetable crops listed.
    • Note: Many different commodities are produced throughout the state. A listing of a commodity in one or several counties on the map does not mean that is the only county that produces that commodity. The listed county simply produces the listed commodities as one of their top commodities.
  4. Display or draw the MyPlate graphic on the board. An electronic version of this graphic is attached.
    • Ask students if the hamburger meal contains a serving of each of the food groups represented on MyPlate. Ask students to help you make a list of foods that could be added to make this a balanced meal.

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:

  • MyPlate outlines the the food groups and nutrients we should consume through the five food groups.
  • Many of the agricultural products needed to make a hamburger can be produced in California.
  • Farms produce our food, such as the ingredients in a hamburger.

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

Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

Agriculture and the Environment

  • Describe how farmers use land to grow crops and support livestock (T1.K-2.a)

Culture, Society, Economy & Geography

  • Trace the sources of agricultural products (plant or animal) used daily (T5.K-2.f)

Food, Health, and Lifestyle

  • Identify healthy food options (T3.K-2.a)
  • Recognize that agriculture provides our most basic necessities: food, fiber, energy and shelter (T3.K-2.b)

Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy

  • Identify examples of feed/food products eaten by animals and people (T2.K-2.c)

Education Content Standards


K-4 Geography Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information.

  • Objective 1
    Objective 1
    Properties and functions of geographic representations—such as maps, globes, graphs, diagrams, aerial and other photographs, remotely sensed images, and geographic visualizations.
  • Objective 4
    Objective 4
    The interpretation of geographic representations.


Health Standard 7: Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.

  • 7.2.1
    Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors to maintain or improve personal health.

Common Core Connections

Reading: Anchor Standards

    Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards

    Prepare 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.
    Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Writing: Anchor Standards

    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.


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