National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


Technology in Agriculture

Grade Level(s)

6 - 8

Estimated Time

Two 45-minute sessions


Students will explore technical careers in agriculture and learn how GPS and GIS technology is used to improve agricultural food production.


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


Geographic Information Systems (GIS): a computerized data management system used to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and display spatial information

Global Positioning Systems (GPS): a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites

Background Agricultural Connections

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are areas of emerging technology in agriculture. In this lesson students will learn how GPS and GIS technology is used to improve agricultural food production.

This lesson plan is one of eleven that are approved by the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) for teaching agriculture content in the College and Career Awareness course. The suggested sequence for these lessons follows.


Early (any order):

End (any order):


Interest Approach – Engagement

  1. Show students the videos What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech? and Farmers: These are the Droids You’re Looking For (both are very short).
  2. Ask students if they know of any other high-tech examples of agriculture. Keep a list on the whiteboard so that examples can be added during this lesson.


Activity 1: GPS and GIS Basics

  1. Define the acronyms GPS and GIS. Most students are likely familiar with GPS navigation systems on smart phones. Begin the lesson by asking students if they know how GPS works. 
  2. Use the following video clips to further illustrate and describe the use of GPS in our everyday lives.

Activity 2: Modern Marvels

  1. The movie Modern Marvels: Harvesting from the History Channel gives great illustrations and descriptions of specific technologies used in agriculture. The first segment shows the use of GPS and GIS technology in a rice field. (Note: DVD can be purchased from Amazon.)
  2. Use the movie activity sheet, Gearing up for Careers in Agricultural Technology. Print one for each student, and ask students to list each job they see as they watch the movie. 
  3. Before showing the movie, explain the difference between an entry-level position and an advanced-level position. Entry-level positions can be obtained with little or no outside education or training. Advanced positions usually require education, specific training, and/or years of experience in the career field. 
  4. Stop the movie frequently and point out careers until students can recognize them on their own.

Activity 3: Where in the World?

  1. This activity allows students to discover their own geographic locations using latitude and longitude measurements (GPS uses latitude and longitude measurements in addition to time and distance measurements from GPS satellites).
  2. Print one copy of the activity sheet Where in the World? for each student.
  3. Provide students computers with internet access, and ask them to follow the instructions on the activity sheet.

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

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

  • Technology plays an important role in agriculture, which provides the food, fiber, and shelter needed to cover the basic needs of people everywhere.
  • There are a variety of careers available in agricultural technology.

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!


Enriching Activities

  • Let students play the Range Rambler game available in the Utah Agriculture in the Classroom Student Center Ag Games. This challenge gives students four items that a park ranger is looking for, and students must use GPS coordinates to find them.

Suggested Companion Resources

Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

  • Identify science careers related to both producers and consumers of agricultural products (T4.6-8.g)

Education Content Standards


Career Ready Practices

  • CRP.10.1
    Identify career opportunities within a career cluster that match personal interests, talents, goals and preferences.

Common Core Connections

Language: Anchor Standards

    Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


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