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  • Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    From the Ground and

    All Around

    A Complementary Lesson Booklet for IAITCs

    Summer Agriculture Institute

  • 2 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

  • 3 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Table of Contents

    Web Presence ............................................................................................................................. 4

    Website Information ................................................................................................................... 5

    Tagriculture ................................................................................................................................. 6

    Earth Day/Energy ....................................................................................................................... 7

    Earth Day Bracelet

    Soil ............................................................................................................................................... 8

    Say It With Soil

    Soil Slurry

    Soybeans/Corn/Wheat/Cotton ................................................................................................... 14

    Beanie Baby

    Corn Dissection

    Annas Corn

    Wheat Milling

    Cotton Ginning

    Livestock ................................................................................................................................................ 21

    What COW Is This?

    Milk: The Local Connection

    Milk And So Much More

    The Work Horse

    Nutrition .................................................................................................................................................. 29

    What I Eat

    Mighty Microbes

    Biotechnology ........................................................................................................................................ 35

    DNA Bracelet

    Cell Booklet

    Urban ...................................................................................................................................................... 40

    Urban vs. Rural

    Pumpkin & Apple ................................................................................................................................... 42

    3-D Pumpkin

    Apple Chain

    Online Resources/Recommended Reading ......................................................................................... 44

  • 4 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    /agintheclassroom @ilagclass

    Web Presence

  • 5 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Teacher ResourcesIn this section you will find lesson plans, printable AITC materials and lesson

    booklets, and make-n-take activities that are ready for use in your classroom. You will also find grants

    and other resources available to you.

    Contact Your County Agricultural Literacy CoordinatorHere you will find our County Coordina-

    tors listed in alphabetical order by county. These coordinators will help you get your hands on all of

    our free resources, including Ag Mags and kits, and they may even be able to set up time to come into

    your classroom to do activities with your students.

    Teacher WorkshopWe are constantly providing development opportunities for educators, many of

    which offer CPDUs. Check back here often to see when we will be visiting your area and how you can

    see more of our materials.

    IL Farm LifeIn this section, you will find photos, website links and other resources about general

    Illinois agriculture.

    County SupportThis section is for county coordinators and staff only.

    Social Media ButtonsBecome a fan of our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter by clicking on

    this button or by searching for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. This is a great place to collaborate

    and interact with other teachers with wonderful ideas to share. We also work to provide new videos,

    lessons, articles and websites that will help you with lessons in your classroom.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture AITCClick here to go to the National AITC website. This is a great

    place to go and see lessons from Ag in the Classroom programs around the country. Tons of great

    stuff to explore.

    LinksFind links to other agricultural organizations.

    Support AITCClicking here will take you to the IAA Foundation website. The IAA Foundation raises

    funds for the Illinois AITC program in order to provide educators with free or low cost information and


    Contact UsHere you will find contact information for Illinois AITC. However, your first contact

    should always be your County Ag Literacy Coordinator, who is your link for free materials, kits and in-


    About AITCLearn about the history of both the National and Illinois Ag in the Classroom Programs.

    SearchSearch for lessons, activities and materials that will be useful in your classroom.

    TagricultureDiscussion board designed to share best practices of how agriculture can support

    bigger causes. This can include classroom lessons, activities, etc. Open discussion with the ability to

    communicate with others, ask questions, or share comments.

    Website Information

  • 6 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    A Teach Agriculture Initiative


    The Community

  • 7 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: After completing this lesson, students will discover the circles of our Earth and will be better

    prepared for Earth Day!

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS2-1; 3-LS4-3; 3-LS4-4

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-1; 3-LS3-2

    Weather & Climate: 3-LESS2-1; 3-ESS3-1

    Structure, Function & Information Processing: 4-LS1-1

    Earths Systems: 5-ESS3-1

    Background Information:

    People move in circles. The earth provides us with everything we need to survive. We must take great care

    of our valuable resources!

    Water is a circle. Water rains down on land. Water collects in oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams. It

    evaporates back up into the sky and collects in clouds. The clouds become heavy, and rain falls down to

    land again.

    Plants and soil are circles. Plants grow from soil. Plants provide food for animals. Animals provide food for

    other animals. Animals die and decompose. New soil is made. New plants grow.

    Earth is a circle. Earth is spinning through space, rotating on its axis, revolving around the sun. The Earth

    and sun give us the circle of the seasons and the circle of night and day.

    Air is a circle. Animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants take in carbon dioxide, use it to

    make food, and give off oxygen. Animals breathe it in again.

    The sun is a circle. The sun provides warmth for light for all of the Earths circles. Without the sun, plants

    and animals would not survive. The sun binds us together.

    Materials Needed:

    1 pipe cleaner per student 1 small clear pony bead (people)

    1 small blue pony bead (water) 1 small green pony bead (plants)

    1 small brown pony bead (soil) 1 small orange pony bead (day)

    1 small black pony bead (night) 1 small white pony bead (air)

    1 small yellow pony bead (sun) 1 small red pony bead (animals)


    1. String the colored beads on to the pipe cleaner to represent the circles of the Earth. String opposite end of

    the pipe cleaner back through the clear People bead. Now your clear People bead is an adjuster for the


    Earth Day Bracelet

  • 8 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Say It With Soil

    Objective: Instruction in this lesson should result in students achieving how to demonstrate

    through writing and how soil interconnects with all living things.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS4-4

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS3-2

    Earths Systems: 5-ESS3-1

    Materials Needed:

    ELA Lesson 2 Soil Quotes Handout Say It With Soil (from Soil mAGic Kit)


    1. Using the provided quotes on the ELA Lesson 2 Soil Quotes Handout Say It With Soil,

    cut quotes into strips and distribute to students.

    2. Students will read the soil quote and write a paragraph about the quote. Some/all of the

    following questions should be addressed:

    What does the quote mean to me?

    What did this quote mean to the author?

    Under what circumstances did the author write this quote?

    Has this quote withstood the passage of time? Why?

    Is this quote appropriate in todays world? Why?

    3. Students can share their writing with the entire class.

    Adapted from Soil mAGic Kit

  • 9 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Say It With Soil

    Soil Quotes Handout

    Soil, like faith, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is the

    starting point for all living things that inhabit the earth. -Firman E. Bear; 1986

    I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country

    than by improving its agriculture. -George Washington; July 20, 1794

    The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence. -David Ben Gurion,

    Hazon VeDerek; 1950s

    There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that

    breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. -Aldo

    Leopold; 1949

    A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt; 1937

    A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on

    the face of the land. -Aldo Leopold; 1949

    When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers therefore are the founders of human

    civilization. -Daniel Webster; 1840

    If in the human economy, a squash in the field is worth more than a bushel of soil, that does not

    mean that food is more valuable than soil; it means simply that we do not know how to value the

    soil. In its complexity and its potential longevity, the soil exceeds our comprehension; we do not

    know how to place a just market value on it, and we will never learn how. Its value is inestimable;

    we must value it, beyond whatever price we put on it, by respecting it. -Wendell Berry; 1995

    We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot. - Leonardo

    DaVinci; 1500s

    Essentially, all life depends upon the soil...There can be no life without soil and no soil without life:

    they have evolved together. -Charles E. Kellogg; 1938

    ..the Latin name for man, homo, derived from humus, the stuff of life in the soil. -Dr. Daniel Hillel;

    late 1900s

    I saw all the people hustling early in the morning to go into the factories and the stores and the

    office buildings, to do their job, to get their check. But ultimately its not office buildings or jobs that

    give us our checks. Its the soil. The soil is what gives us the real income that supports us all. -Ed

    Begley; late 1900s

  • 10 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Plowed ground smells of earthworms and empires. -Justin Isherwood; 1990

    Soil erosion is as old as agriculture. It began when the first heavy rain struck the first furrow turned

    by a crude implement of tillage in the hands of prehistoric man. It has been going on ever since,

    wherever mans culture of the earth has bared the soil to rain and wind. -Hugh H. Bennett and

    W.C. Lowdermilk; 1930s

    We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a

    community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. -Aldo Leopold; 1949

    I bequeath myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love; If you want me again, look for me under

    your boot soles. -Walt Whitman; 1855

    We are part of the earth and it is part of us...What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

    -Chief Seattle; 1854

    Each soil has had its own history. Like a river, a mountain, a forest, or any natural thing, its present

    condition is due to the influences of many things and events of the past. -Charles Kellogg; 1956

    Nature has endowed the earth with glorious wonders and vast resources that man may use for his

    own ends. Regardless of our tastes or our way of living, there are none that present more

    variations to tax our imagination than the soil, and certainly none so important to our ancestors, to

    ourselves, and to our children. -Charles Kellogg; 1956

    Man and mans earth are unexhausted and undiscovered. Wake and listen! Verily, the earth shall

    yet be a source of recovery. Remain faithful to the earth, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift

    -giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. -Friedrich Nietzche; 1870s


    A cloak of loose, soft material, held to the earths hard surface by gravity, is all that lies between

    life and lifelessness. -Wallace H. Fuller; 1975

    I cannot conceive of the time when knowledge of soils will be complete. Our expectation is that our

    successors will build on what has been done, as we are building on the work of our predecessors.

    -R.S. Smith; 1928

    Soils are developed; they are not merely an accumulation of debris resulting from decay of rock

    and organic materials...In other words, a soil is an entity an object in nature which has

    characteristics that distinguish it from all other objects in nature. -C.E. Millar & L.M. Turk; 1943

    We spend our lives hurrying away from the real, as though it were deadly to us. It must be

    somewhere up there on the horizon, we think. And all the time it is in the soil, right beneath our

    feet. -William Bryant Logan; 1996

    The wealth of Illinois is in her soil and her strength lies in its intelligent development.

    -Draper; 1899

  • 11 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Soil Slurry

    Objective: After completing this lesson students will recognize that soil is made up of

    different sized particles that will define its texture, be able to explain why different soil

    particles form layers, and be able to use appropriate increments to measure soil layer


    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Mathematics: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2; 4.MD.B.4

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Structure & Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-1; 5-PS1-2; 5-PS1-3; 5-PS1-4

    Materials Needed:

    2 quart jars with lids

    Masking tape, to label jars

    Dishwashing liquid

    Plastic rulers

    Science Lesson 2 Student Worksheet - Soil Slurry Data Table

    Dry soil sample from garden, flowerbed or field

    Soil sample from roadside, gravel pit or housing development, completely dry

    * Samples for Soil Slurry are taken from the topsoil. Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 to 8 inches. It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.

    Vocabulary Terms:

    Clay smallest of three soil particles; when wet, feels sticky or greasy; when dry, hard and


    Organic matter partially decomposed plant and animal matter.

    Sand very tiny rock fragments; largest and heaviest of soil particles; feels gritty.

    Silt medium-sized soil particles; feels like flour.

    Soil the outer portion of the earths surface. Soil is the foundation of every living thing.

  • 12 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom


    1. Make sure that all dried soil clumps are crushed and that any rocks, roots and litter are

    removed from the samples.

    2. Label the two jars using the masking tape.

    3. Fill the first jar full of soil sample A.

    4. Fill the second jar full of soil sample B.

    5. Add water to the jars until they are about full.

    6. Add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to each jar.

    7. Making sure the lids are on securely, shake them hard for about 3 minutes. Continue

    shaking until the particles have separated from each other.

    8. Set the jars on a table. Observe them closely for 5 minutes. (The sand should settle to

    the bottom in approximately 1 minute.)

    9. Measure any layers and record the data.

    10. Observe the jars after 30 minutes. (The silt will settle out in 30 60 minutes.)

    11. Measure any layers and record the data.

    12. Observe the jars after 24 hours. (The clay will take about 1 day to settle.)

    13. Measure any layers and record the data.

    14. Observe the jars after 48 hours. (The final sample should have a layer of sand on

    bottom, followed by silt, with the clay at the top. Any floating material should be

    considered organic matter.)

    15. Measure any layers, students will record data on the Science Lesson 2 Student

    Worksheet - Soil Slurry Data Table.

  • 13 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Science Lesson #2 Name______________________________

    Soil Slurry Data Table

    Student Worksheet

    Sample A Sample B

    # of layers

    (5 minutes)

    Layer Measurements

    (5 minutes)

    # of layers

    (30 minutes)

    Layer Measurements

    (30 minutes)

    # of layers

    (24 hours)

    Layer Measurements

    (24 hours)

    # of layers

    (48 hours)

    Layer Measurements

    (48 hours)

  • 14 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Beanie Baby

    Objective: Upon completion of this activity, students will have a better

    understanding of the plant germination process.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Mathematics: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Structure & Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-4

    Materials Needed:

    Jewelry size re-sealable bag (found in craft stores)

    Crystal Soil

    Hole Punch


    Measuring Spoons




    1. Punch a hole in the top of your bag.

    2. Place a scant 1/4 teaspoon of Crystal Soil into the bag.

    3. Add one tablespoon of water.

    4. Gently push in two soybeans.

    5. Seal your bag firmly.

    6. Insert the yarn to make a necklace.

    7. Wear your Beanie Baby around your neck and under your shirt to keep it in a warm, dark


    8. Check your Beanie Baby several times a day for germination and record the growth.

    Lesson Extender:

    Soybeans have many different uses in todays society. Explain how the use of soybeans has

    evolved since George Washington Carver studied them. Be sure to include your own

    experiences along with information from the reading.

  • 15 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: Students will understand the importance of corn as a crop in the United States.

    They will also understand each part of the corn kernel.

    Common Core Standards: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.4; L.4.4a; RI.4.3;

    RI.4.5; RI.4.7

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS4-3; 3-LS4-4

    Structure, Function and Information Processing: 4-LS1-1

    Background Information/Questions:

    What are the different kinds of corn? Sweet corn, popcorn, field corn/dent corn

    What do we get from corn? Bubble gum, potato chips, popcorn, soda, ketchup, mustard,


    What is ethanol? A high-performance fuel made from corn.

    What is a kernel? A kernel is another name for a seed; it is usually within a husk or shell.

    Parts of a Corn Kernel:

    Pericarp - waterproof outer covering that protects the food energy

    Endosperm - largest part of the kernel where energy is stored; provides starch

    Germ - contains the genetic information for the corn plant; used for corn oil

    Tip Cap - attaches the kernel to the cob (ear); where water and nutrients enter the kernel

    from the cob

    Corn Dissection

  • 16 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Materials Needed:

    Soaked Kernels

    Plastic Knives

    Magnifying glasses


    1. Soak corn kernels 48 hours before dissection.

    2. Pass out a few corn kernels to each student.

    3. Students investigate the corn kernels with magnifying glasses.

    4. Each student will dissect a corn kernel using a plastic knife.

    5. Find and identify the four seed parts.

    6. Draw a giant kernel on the blackboard and identify pericarp, endosperm, germ, and tip


    Lesson Extenders:

    1. Try dissecting soybeans! Soak soybeans 24 hours before dissection.

    2. Monocot embryos have a single cotyledon while dicot embryos have two cotyledons. The

    cotyledons are seed leaves produced by the seeds embryo. Cotyledons absorb nutrients

    packaged in the seed until the seedling is able to produce its first true leaves and begin



    Using potting soil, sprout some corn and bean seeds in two separate containers.

    Observe the similarities and differences as the plants grow.

    Do you notice the single blade of the corn seeds? This signifies that corn is a monocot.

    Do you see the two leaves of the beans? This means that beans are dicots.

  • 17 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Annas Corn

    Objective: After completion of this lesson students will learn more about shelling corn by

    hand and about how corn is shelled today by combines. They will have the opportunity to

    take their corn home and start their own garden!

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-2

    Structure, Function & Information Processing: 4-LS1-1

    Materials Needed:

    Pouches - packs of 25 for $3.00

    Squirrel Corn Wal-MartApproximately 20 ears for $5.47


    1. Begin by reading the book Annas Corn by Barbara Santucci.

    2. Have students hold an ear of squirrel corn in their hands. Talk about the different types of

    corn using the Corn Ag Mag.

    3. Students should shell (pull off) a few kernels of corn to place in their pouch. Remind

    students that before machinery took over the job, corn was shelled by hand.

    4. Encourage students to take their corn home and plant it and watch it grow.

  • 18 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Wheat Milling

    Objective: This lesson will introduce students to wheat as a plant and how that plant becomes food(s).

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS4-3; 3-LS4-4

    Structure, Function and Information Processing: 4-LS1-1

    Materials Needed: Wheat Stalks Salt or Pepper Grinder

    Directions: 1. Show students wheat stalks. 2. Go over the parts of the wheat stalk with the students to familiarize them with the parts so

    they can understand the directions for dissection.

    Stalkthe entire plant. Headthe part of the wheat plant that contains the kernels. Beardthe bristle-like parts of the wheat plant that cover and protect the kernels. Kernelthe seed from which the wheat plant is grown or that people harvest from the wheat

    plant to grind into flour. Stem/Strawthe part of the wheat plant that supports the head and is known as straw after

    harvest. 3. Dissect the wheat using the following steps: Hand out stalks of wheat to the students. Break the head off the stem. Make a straw out of the stem by breaking it to avoid the nodes. Lay the wheat head flat on a hard surface and pat with your hand to shake out the kernels. Have the students count their kernels. 4. Put the kernels of wheat into a salt or pepper grinder and have the students mill their wheat

    into flour. What simple machines are being used? 5. Talk about different ways to grind wheat. The Native Americans did it using rocks, etc.

    Have students design their own method of grinding wheat and then test their machines. 6. Talk about the uses of wheat flour to make pastas, breads, desserts, etc.

    Lesson Extender! 1. Have students find the gluten in wheat by chewing the kernels. Before there was chewing

    gum in the store, farmers made their own with grains of wheat! This and other activities can be found in the back of the book Bread Comes to Life.

    Adapted from Wheat mAGic Kit

  • 19 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Cotton Ginning

    Objective: By examining cotton, students will grasp and be able to relate how cotton influenced the

    slave trade, slave culture, economic policies, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution.

    Common Core Standards: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA- Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Mathematics: Math.Content.3.0A.A.1

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS4-3; 3-LS4-4

    Structure, Function and Information Processing: 4-LS1-1

    Materials Needed:

    Order Cotton Bolls from


    If you ask someone What was the cause of the Civil War? chances are they will answer slavery. True, but why did the South want or need slaves? Cotton. Cotton picking was a job for healthy adult slaves. Generally, these slaves would hand pick cotton in the fields all day. Ginning cotton means to remove the lint or fiber from the seed. It is important to remember that the more lint one removed from the seed, the more profit from each boll. Your students may have anywhere from 12-42 plus seeds per boll, as did the slaves. A slave could gin one pound of cotton a day. Eli Whitney is generally credited with the invention of the cotton gin (1793). He basically wanted to rake the fiber from the seeds. His machine, operated by a hand-crank, revo-lutionized the production of cotton. With the invention of the cotton gin, one slave could gin 50 pounds of cotton a day. Did this mean plantation owners needed fewer slaves? No, this machine meant cotton was a more profitable crop. Now plantation owners needed more slaves to produce more cotton. Today, the United States produces 43 million tons of cotton annually. The largest cotton producing states are Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia. Cotton is even an important crop in the West. Arizona and California are well-known for their Pima cotton, which is a finer, more expensive cotton fiber. Most of those fuzzy seeds are fed to dairy cattle or processed into cottonseed oil, which can be found in nearly every kind of snack food including chocolate candy bars. Adapted from Growing a Nation found at


  • 20 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom


    Share with the students the background information about cotton and slavery. Give each

    student or group of students one cotton boll (see materials list) for ginning. Have your students

    examine the woody stem and the boll holding the cotton fibers. Ask them to predict how many

    seeds they think are in their boll.


    1. Who invented the cotton gin, and in what year?

    2. How many pounds of cotton could a slave gin in one day by hand? How many could a slave

    gin in one day after the invention of the cotton gin?

    3. Ask students if they can understand why it was so painful to pick this plant by hand. Would

    gloves have been available? Would it have been possible to gin cotton by hand with gloves?

    What may slaves have used to protect their hands from getting cut?

    4. Ask students to compare their prediction with the actual number of seeds. Were there more

    or less than they thought? How did they like the work? Why would people have had so few

    changes of clothes during this period?

    5. Discuss the invention of the cotton gin. Ask your students how many years passed after the

    invention of the cotton gin until the beginning of the Civil War. Did the tension between the

    northern and southern states escalate after this important invention?

    For questions 6 8, assume it takes 350 bolls of cotton to make one pair of jeans.

    6. How many bolls of cotton would it take to make 5 pairs of


    7. How many bolls of cotton would it take to make 7 pairs of


    8. Jacob collected 7,350 bolls of cotton, how many pairs of jeans

    can this make?

  • 21 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    What COW is this?

    Objective: Students will learn similarities and differences between dairy cattle and beef cattle.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-1; 3-LS3-2; 3-LS4-2

    Structure, Function, and Information Processing: 4-LS1-1; 4-LS1-2

    Background Information:

    All female cattle breeds produce milk and meat, but some cattle are better milk producers, while some

    are better meat producers. Beef cows provide us with meat and other by-products such as crayons,

    plastic, insulin and pet foods. Dairy cows produce milk products. Since dairy cows produce milk, they

    usually have very large udders. For this reason, dairy cows are a different shape than beef cows. The

    basic shape of a dairy cow is a trapezoid. The basic shape of a beef cow is a rectangle. Dairy cows

    must be milked 2 to 3 times a day and because of this they are very scheduled animals. Most dairy

    cows will make their way to the barn from the pasture without the assistance of the farmer, because of

    this routine they become accustomed to. Beef cattle on the other hand do not have as rigid a

    schedule, so they can be seen out in the pasture for longer periods of time and they will be moved

    from one pasture to another pasture more often. Some beef cattle will even be miles away from the

    main farm when they are put out to pasture.


    1. Hand out Beef and Dairy Ag Mags. Have students read through the Ag Mags. While reading,

    encourage students to highlight any information or interesting facts they discover.

    2. Share the background information with students.

    3. Provide students with the Venn diagram template to chart the similarities and differences between

    beef and dairy cattle. Students can use the information from the Ag Mags or search for their own

    information using books and the Internet.

    4. Create a Venn diagram on a chalkboard or large piece of paper. Record student responses as they

    share what they found.

    Extension Activities:

    Have students extend their Venn diagrams by comparing/contrasting another Illinois farm animal.

    Collect products made from beef and dairy cattle. Have students sort the products into two groups

    to reveal beef and dairy products.

    Ask students to design their own beef and dairy cows, starting with appropriate shapes: rectangle

    for beef and trapezoid for dairy. Encourage students to use information within Ag Mags to add

    other features to their cows.

    Adapted from Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

  • 22 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Dairy Cattle

    Beef Cattle

    What COW is this? Venn Diagram

  • 23 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: Every milk product contains a code on the packaging that details which dairy the product came from. Find the code, enter it into the code location at the site and youll find out what dairy your milk came from!

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Next Generation Science Standards: Earth Systems: 5-ESS3-1

    Directions: 1. Find the code on your own container or find a sample code from the map on the next

    page. Investigate the following from your code: From what dairy did your milk come? How many miles did your milk travel? Are their other dairies closer to you than the one from which your milk came? Investigate different brands of milk purchased in the same store or in the same town. What did you notice about the different brands of milk and the locations of dairies? Why do you think some stores carry milk from multiple locations? As you conduct your own research, notice that your milk can come from a variety of

    places in the state and outside the state. What parts of the state are typically represented with milk from dairies located outside the state?

    If possible examine the code on UHT Pasteurized Milk. Why is it produced in other states?

    Milk: The Local Connection

  • 24 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Milk: The Local Connection

  • 25 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: After completing this activity, students will understand how

    sensitive fats and proteins are to new substances and how this

    sensitivity helps control the molecules in milk so different products can

    be made from milk.

    Common Core:

    Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3; RI.4.4; RI.4.5; RF.4.3a

    Mathematics: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2; 4.MD.B.4

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Structure & Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-1; 5-PS1-2; 5-PS1-3; 5-PS1-4


    Milk is mostly water but it also contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and tiny droplets of fat

    suspended in solution. Fats and proteins are sensitive to changes in the surrounding

    solution (the milk).

    When you add soap, the weak chemical bonds that hold the proteins in the solution are

    altered. It becomes a free-for-all! The molecules of protein and fat bend, roll, twist and

    contort in all directions. The food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere,

    providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity.

    At the same time, soap molecules combine to form a micelle, or cluster of soap

    molecules. These micelles distribute the fat in the milk. This rapidly mixing fat and soap

    causes swirling and churning where a micelle meets a fat droplet.

    Milk is mostly water and it has surface tension like water. The drops of food coloring

    floating on the surface tend to stay put. Liquid soap wrecks the surface tension by

    breaking the cohesive bonds between water molecules and allowing the colors to zing

    throughout the milk. What a party!

    Milk and So Much More

  • 26 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Materials Needed:

    Milk (whole or 2%)

    Dinner plate

    Cotton swabs

    Food coloring (red, yellow, green, blue)

    Dish-washing soap (Dawn brand works well)


    1. Pour enough milk in the dinner plate to completely cover the bottom. Allow the milk to

    settle. There should be no ripples in the milk before starting this activity.

    2. Add one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring - red, yellow, blue, and

    green - to the milk. Keep the drops close together in the center of the plate of milk.

    3. Find a clean cotton swab for the next part of the experiment. Predict what will happen

    when you touch the tip of the cotton swab to the center of the milk. It's important not to

    stir the mix. Just touch it with the tip of the cotton swab.

    4. Now, place a drop of liquid dish soap on the other end of the cotton swab. Place the

    soapy end of the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10 to

    15 seconds.

    5. Add another drop of soap to the tip of the cotton swab and try it again. Experiment with

    placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk.


    1. Describe how the milk reacted when you first added the food coloring drops (step

    number 2).

    2. What did you predict would happen when you touched the cotton swab to the center of

    the milk, why (step number 3)? Explain what actually happened.

    3. Explain what happened when the soapy cotton swab was held on the surface of the


    4. What happened when you placed the soapy cotton swab in different locations of the

    plate? Would this work with the plain cotton swab, why or why not?

    5. What makes the food coloring in the milk move?

    6. Explain why this activity would or would not work with regular tap water.

    Exercise adapted from Kitchen Chemistry:

  • 27 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    The Work Horse

    Objective: After completing this activity, students should be able to identify types of simple

    machines and be able to provide an example for each machine used.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.4; W.4.3; W.4.7

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Forces & Interactions: 3-PS2-1

    Energy: 4-PS3-1; 4-PS3-3; 4-ESS3-1

    Introduction: Simple machines are tools that we have devised to make everyday tasks easier.

    Simple machines are tools that generally have few to no moving parts and can be found all

    around us. In early history, humans used the combination of simple machines and horses to

    perform amazing tasks that have helped reduce work. Explain the seven types of simple

    machines and how they work. These machines can be tied back to horses and agriculture, some

    examples are: covered wagons = wheel and axle, an axe for cutting wood = wedge, hoisting water

    in a bucket from an old well = pulley, dumping contents from a wheelbarrow = lever, sloping roads

    (the horse pulling the cart up the hill) = inclined plane. After students understand how each

    simple machine works, complete this school or classroom scavenger hunt.

    Lesson Extender!

    1. Have students develop their own machine that performs an activity that they dont like doing.

    For example, a student may develop a machine that takes out the household trash. The new

    designs should include no less than three simple machines that they just learned about. Allow

    the option for students to actually create machines or have them complete sketches of their

    inventions just like Leonardo might have! Have students share their inventions with the class

    and their motivation for wanting this particular machine.

    2. Place regular household items that are simple machines in a brown lunch sack. Have

    students describe what the item is used for and what type of machine it is. For example, a pair

    of scissors or a letter opener.

    Adapted from Machines mAGic Kit

  • 28 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Name______________________________ Todays Date___________

    Directions: In the time frame set by your teacher, begin searching for simple machines that

    we use in everyday life. Use only the locations set up by your teacher and make sure to

    write either the name of the object or a description of the object so other students will know

    what you have found. Happy Hunting!

    # of Items Found Name of Machine


    What Category of

    Simple Machine?


    One pair Scissors Lever Mrs. Smiths Desk

    in Homeroom

  • 29 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    What I Eat!

    Objective: After completing this activity, students will have explored, compared and contrasted the nutritional habits of individuals all around the United States. They will also be able to investigate how weather, landscape and soil types affect agriculture all around the world. Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2; RI.4.3; RI.4.6; RI.4.7; RF.4.4; W.4.3; W.4.7; SL.4.2

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS3-2

    Weather & Climate: 3-ESS2-2

    Directions: 1. Begin by having students keep a journal of everything they eat for one day. This should include serving size, number of servings consumed, and total calories consumed. 2. Discuss the book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. 3. Assign 1 person from the book to each student. Give the students a photocopy of their person

    from the book including all pages with the details about their assigned person. Some details to look at are the age, height and weight of the individual. The information on these pages also gives some details about the individuals family and community.

    4. Have the students write a report on what their assigned person ate compared to what they ate

    themselves. Students should also investigate the state/country from which their assigned individual came. Their report should include agricultural aspects as well, such as weather/climate, topography/landscape, soil types, etc. Each student should use these findings in their discussion of why the individual of their assigned state/country can grow specific foods and why they cant grow other types of food. Students should also discuss nutritional aspects. Does the food purchased fulfill all of the nutritional needs of the person in the photo?

    5. After writing their report, have the students prepare a short presentation about their assigned

    individual. This could be done with a PowerPoint presentation or just a general sharing session.

    6. After all students have shared their findings, discuss how the United States differs from other

    countries. What kind of land and climate do we have? What types of food do we buy? Did all of the Americans buy similar types of food? Which person in the book ate most nutritiously?

    7. Use What I Eat as a reference to have students explain how a selected image from the book,

    as well as other images, contribute to clarify their understanding. Lesson Extender! 1. Have students compare and contrast different families from the book. They could compare

    types of food eaten, obesity rates, nutritional value, etc.

  • 30 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Mighty Microbes

    Objective: Students will determine the source and cause of an illness that makes many

    picnickers sick. They will interpret data tables, classify items, and read samples of newspaper

    articles that are incorporated into this investigative epidemiological mystery.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3; RI.4.3; RI.4.5; RI.4.7; RF.4.4;

    W.4.1; W.4.3

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Structures and Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-1; 5-PS1-2; 5-PS1-3; 5-PS1-4

    Earths Systems: 5-ESS3-1

    Vocabulary Terms:

    Epidemiology- The study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions

    in defined populations.

    Outbreak- An occurrence of disease greater than would otherwise be expected at a

    particular time and place.

    Dichotomous- Divided into two parts or classifications.

    Materials Needed:

    For each student:

    1. What Caused the Illness? Student page

    2. What Caused the Foodborne Illness? Dichotomous Key

    3. Samples of newspaper articles


    1. Explain to the students that they will become epidemiologists and determine the cause of an

    illness that affected many people in a community. Have someone read the dictionary

    definition for epidemiology and discuss its meaning. Also, discuss that actual epidemiology

    cases are much more complex than the hypothetical case they are about to analyze.

    2. As a class read the foodborne illness outbreak scenario on page 10.

    3. Discuss the terms outbreak and dichotomous, as well as any others the students may find

    difficult. Create a class vocabulary list if necessary. Have student duos complete the activity

    as described on the student worksheet.

    Answer Key:

    The unhealthy microbes in the fruit juice were most likely transmitted by an ill worker who had a

    foodborne illness himself. His improper handling of the cups and juice, along with warm

    temperatures, spread the disease to the juice. The dichotomous path used to reach this

    conclusion is: 1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, 5a.

    * Have newspaper articles handy for students to use as a guideline for writing their news article

    as described on the next page. Adapted from California Ag in the Classroom

  • 31 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    What Caused the Illness?


    The local hospital has treated numerous people for dehydration due to uncontrollable vomiting followed by

    diarrhea. The county health department is conducting an investigation to determine the causative agent. It

    was determined that all the patients ate at a community get-together on May 16 and that the illnesses were

    caused by a foodborne pathogen, a disease-causing microorganism obtained from something the people

    ate or drank. Look at the data chart on page 32. Each of the 20 people in the chart were hospitalized.

    Determine what food was responsible for the food poisoning.

    1. From the data above, what food do you suspect caused the illness?


    2. In one complete sentence, describe your reasoning.



    3. Discuss your reasoning with the lead epidemiologist (your teacher) and then obtain the dichotomous

    key to continue your investigation.

    4. Using the dichotomous key, determine the actual source of the illness. Complete the following

    statement. Through scientific investigation, my team has determined that the people at the get

    together on May 16 became ill because


    5. Suppose you are a reporter for the local newspaper. Write a three to five paragraph article that

    describes what happened, why it happened, and how the foodborne illness could have been avoided.

    Before writing your story, examine a newspaper article to see how it is set up. Make sure your article


    a headline

    authors listed

    facts of what happened

    facts about foodborne illnesses in general

    how this incidence could have been avoided

    quotes from experts or witnesses (pretend you interviewed patients, event planners, food handlers,

    epidemiologists, etc.)

    been proofed for spelling, capitalization, proper punctuation, sentence structure, and flow of story

    Adapted from California Ag in the Classroom

  • 32 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Adapted from California Ag in the Classroom

  • 33 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    What Caused the Foodborne Illness? Dichotomous Key Instructions: Read number 1. Determine which statement, a or b, best reflects the incident and information. Proceed as

    directed, until the illness is traced back to its source. This is called a trace-back, something that epidemiologists do on a

    regular basis.

    2. Water used to dilute the juice concentrate came from the tap and is tested by the citys Public Works Department on a

    regular basis. Here are the data for a 3-week period.

    a. If the bacterial level of the water was 0 or less, the water was not the cause. Go to 3.

    b. If the bacterial level of the water was 1 or higher, bacteria from the water could be the culprit.

    Juice Batch No. Bacterial Count

    10393-PR 0 per 3 mL juice

    10394-PR 0 per 3 mL juice

    10395-PR 0 per mL juice



    May 10 May 17 May 24






    None None None None

    Copper (ppm) 40 30 40 170

    Nitrates (mg/l)* 22 19 21 45

    Calcium (ppm)


    48.2 41.7 48.1 300

    Lead (ppb)*** None None None None

    Fluoride (ppb)


    110 98 110 2000

    3. Ice was added to the juice. The ice came from ice cubes made of city water and were made fresh with clean ice cube


    a. The ice was probably not the source of illness. Go to 4.

    b. The ice could have been the problem. Adapted from California Ag in the Classroom

    1. The fruit juice was made from frozen fruit juice concentrate, which was pasteurized at the plant. Pasteurization is when

    something is heated to a temperature high enough to kill microorganisms. The can had a batch number of 10394-PR on its

    end. A bacterial count was determined from a frozen concentrate with the same batch number. Look at the chart above.

    a. If the bacterial count was 0 in 3 milliliters of juice, the illness was not likely caused by the concentrate itself. Go

    to 2.

    b. If the bacterial count was 1 per 3 milliliters of juice or greater, the illness was likely caused by

    the bacteria in the concentrate before preparation. Illness came from fruit juice concentrate.

  • 34 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    5. A quick survey of the overall health of the workers indicated that one of the workers at the fruit juice station

    had a severe stomachache and was feverish the night before the event.

    a. A sick worker could have spread a foodborne

    illness to the guests at the event.

    b. A sick worker could not have spread a foodborne

    illness to the guests. Go to 6.

    6. Most bacteria grow best between the temperatures of 40F and 140F.

    View the chart below and the description in 4 and determine whether the

    outside temperature could have aided in bacterial contamination.

    a. Outdoor temperatures could have caused contamination.

    b. Most likely outdoor temperatures did not contribute to the illness.

    Go to 7.

    7. How the juice was dispensed or stored could be the problem.

    a. The juice could have sat in the cup for longer than two hours, as

    much time as it takes for harmful bacteria to reach a population that

    could cause illness. Juice that was not kept cool enough was most likely

    the problem.

    b. The illness was caused by something other than handling. Further

    investigation needs to occur before a probable cause can be determined

    at this time.

    Adapted from California Ag in the Classroom

    Temperatures at Park

    on May 16

    Time Temperature

    10 a.m. 62

    11 a.m. 69

    Noon 71

    1 p.m. 80

    2 p.m. 85

    3 p.m. 86

    4 p.m. 88

    5 p.m. 88

    6 p.m. 87

    7 p.m. 82

    8 p.m. 75

    9 p.m. 69

    10 p.m. 61

    4. The prepared juice was at the park for the entire event on May 16 from 2 pm- 5 pm. Use the following

    Information gathered from the event manager to make an appropriate choice. The juice was prepared at noon

    on May 16th in insulated jugs that each hold 5 gallons. The juice concentrate was frozen at the time it was made

    and was mixed with tap water. The coordinator made the volunteers wash their hands before making the juice. A

    few ice cubes were put into the insulated container, which the volunteers rinsed out with hot, soapy water prior

    to using. It was stored at room temperature until 1 p.m. at which time it was taken outside to the picnic tables. At

    the event, juice was removed from the container through the push button spout and placed into paper cups. The

    filled cups were on the table throughout the event. When necessary, new paper cups were filled with juice. The

    coordinator said that less people attended the event than expected but that everyone had a great time. The

    event ended at 5 p.m.

    a. The juice seemed to be prepared following food safety procedures. Go to 5.

    b. The juice was not prepared following basic food safety procedures. Go to 6.

  • 35 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    DNA Bracelet

    Objective: Every living thing is composed of cells. Construct a 3-D model of a

    DNA Helix and investigate how our cells make us look like we do.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5; RF.4.4 Next Generation Science Standards: Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-1 Structure & Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-1

    Materials Needed:

    Pony Beads in the following colors: Purple, Yellow, Green and Pink

    Pipe cleaners or bracelet string from a craft store.


    1. Choose one DNA code from the chart provided by your teacher. You will need this chart to

    follow the DNA pattern to make your bracelet.

    2. Thread a bead onto your first pipe cleaner. Then on the second pipe cleaner thread the

    matching bead. Use the guide below to help. Example would be if your first bead on the

    first pipe cleaner is Pink (T) then on your second pipe cleaner the bead would be Green

    (A), because T always pairs with A.

    3. Finish out both sides of your DNA strands following the pattern provided by your teacher.

    4. Once all your beads have been placed on the pipe cleaners twist them into the form of a

    Helix (sometimes referred to as the DNA ladder).

    5. Tie the pipe cleaners together to form a bracelet to fit your wrist. See if your friends can

    figure out what plant or animal you are based on your DNA.

    Base Pair Chart

    A (green) pairs with T

    T (pink) pairs with A

    C (yellow) pairs with G

    G (purple) pairs with C

    Adapted from

  • 36 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    DNA Codes

    Monarch Butterfly (Danaus Plexippus)


    Grizzly Bear (Ursus Arctos)


    Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)


    Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes)


    Human (Homo Sapiens)


    African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)


    Apple Tree (Malus Domestica)


    Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium Castaneum)


    Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta)


    Human Heart


  • 37 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Exploring Cells

    Objective: Students will learn about the similarities and differences of plant and animal cells during

    this activity.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.3; RF.4.4; W.4.7

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Structure & Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-1; 5-PS1-3

    Structure, Function & Information Processing: 4-LS1-1


    The goal of this exercise is to design a creative and colorful amusement park map. The animal cell

    or the plant cell will serve as your amusement park. This brochure will provide visitors with a tour

    of the cell. Maps at amusement parks always explain the location of each attraction and what it does.

    Be sure to include this on your map! Each attraction in the map should come from the organelles

    that make up either the animal or plant cell.

    1. Select from the animal or plant cell.

    2. Make a list of the organelles found in your selected cell. Each organelle should serve as a stop

    on your amusement park map. On a scrap piece of paper, create a rough draft on how you want

    your brochure to appear.

    3. Once you have designed your amusement park tour acquire the paper plates needed to create

    your brochure.

    Paper Plate Booklet:

    1. Fold the first paper plate in half and cut a narrow window out of the folded edge. Start the window

    after the ruffled edge and end before the other ruffled edge.

    2. Any additional pages should be folded and then reopened. On the fold, cut one slit starting from

    the edge of the plant and ending at the ruffle (cuts should be no longer than an inch). Make a

    second slit directly opposite the first one.

    3. To assemble the booklet. Fold, but do not crease, the paper plate with the slits in half so that the

    two slits meet. With the plate folded in half, push the plate through the slit. Open the plate,

    moving one slit to the top of the window and one slit to the bottom of the window.

    4. Close the brochure so all the plates are folded in half. Design the front cover to match your cell.

    5. Use the inside pages to serve as the maps to the amusement park attractions.

    Adapted from Dinah Zikes Foldables

  • 38 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Animal Cell

    Cell Membrane





  • 39 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Plant Cell

    Cell Membrane





    Cell Wall Chloroplast

  • 40 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Urban vs. Rural

    Objective: 1. The students will be able to examine and identify similarities and

    differences between urban and rural communities. 2. The students will be able to use language arts skills to read from

    the poster boards. 3. The students will be able to use primary sources to determine the

    characteristics of different types of communities.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1; RL.5.3; W.4.2; W.5.2

    Next Generation Science Standards: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS2-1; 3-LS4-3 Weather and Climate: 3-ESS2-2 Earths Systems: 5-ESS3-1

    Materials Needed: Poster Board Magic Markers Magazines Newspapers Scissors Glue

    Directions: Ask the students to list the characteristics of urban and rural communities. Make a list on the board or on chart paper. Encourage students to discuss the following aspects of communities: transportation, schools, homes, shopping, nature, businesses. 1. Read with students the book Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett. 2. After reading the book, look again at the list you made of characteristics of urban and rural

    communities. 3. Give each student a copy of the venn diagram and ask them to list characteristics of each

    that they observed in the book. Be sure to have them include areas where the two communities were similar in the middle part of the venn diagram.

    4. Have students discuss what characteristics define each community and which are similar to both communities.

    Lesson Extender! 1. What type of community do you live in? Ask students to cut out pictures from magazines

    or newspapers of anything that reminds them of their community. They will take these pictures and paste them to poster board to make a collage. In class, they can share their collages with their classmates and discuss similarities and differences of the collages that they have made. What type of community has the most people in it? How are the communities different? How are the communities the same?

  • 41 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Venn Diagram

    Write details that tell how the subjects are different in the outer circles. Write details that tell

    how the subjects are alike where the circles overlap.



  • 42 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: After completing this lesson, students will have more knowledge of Illinois pumpkin facts and will learn more about the process from the pumpkin seeds to the mature pumpkins.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3; W.4.2

    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Animals, Plants & their Environment: K-LS1-1

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-1

    Materials Needed:

    Orange construction paper

    Green construction paper

    Hole punch

    2 paper fasteners for each pumpkin



    1. Begin by reading the Pumpkin Ag Mag.

    2. Cut 3 strips about 1 in. wide down the short side of the orange paper.

    3. Write a pumpkin fact on each strip.

    4. Holding the strips together in a stack, use a paper punch to make 3 holes in the strips. Punch one in the middle and one 1/2 inch from each end.

    5. Cut strips of green construction paper into 1 inch by 1 inch squares. Punch a hole in the middle of these squares. This will be the pumpkins stem.

    6. Still holding the strips together, place the stem on top of the middle hole and put a paper fastener through the stem and the orange strips of paper in the middle hole.

    7. Bring the ends of the long orange strips and fasten them all together.

    8. Spread out the paper strips to form a pumpkin.

    Another Variation: Trace your hand for the leaf, keeping your fingers together. Cut strips of green and curl them with a pencil for vines. Finish pumpkin by completing steps 7 and 8.

    3-D Pumpkins

  • 43 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Objective: Use this activity to learn more about the life

    cycle of an Illinois apple.

    Common Core: Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3;


    Next Generation Science Standards:

    Animals, Plants & their Environment: K-LS1-1

    Weather & Climate: 3-ESS2-1

    Life Cycles & Traits: 3-LS1-1; 3-LS3-1

    Materials Needed:

    2 red paper plates per student (or white plates to be colored)




    Construction paper (yellow, pink, brown and green)

    Hole punch



    Apple Chain templates from



    1. Cut each item out of construction paper: seed, tree, blossom, bee, little green apple.

    Punch a hole on each side of the items you made with construction paper. The brown

    seed only gets one hole punch.

    2. Glue two red paper plates together around 2/3 of the edge. Leave the other 1/3 open. Allow time for it to dry. You can also staple plates together depending on age of student.

    3. Tape or staple a piece of yarn to the inside of the paper plates and extend the yarn out of the opening.

    4. Add a stem and leaf to the red paper plates to make them look like an apple.

    5. Tie the little green apple to the yarn coming out of the apple. Tie the bee to the little green apple. Tie the blossom to the bee. Tie the bee to the tree. Tie the tree to the seed. These should all form a chain.

    6. Tuck the green apple, bee, blossom, tree, and seed into the apple. Starting with the seed,

    slowly pull shapes out of the apple and tell the story of how apples grow.

    Apple Chain

  • 44 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Other Online Resources Illinois Farm Families

    Illinois Farm Families is a coalition of farmers committed to:

    Showing you how we grow your food

    Answering your questions about farms, farmers and farming

    Sharing with you what really happens on modern Illinois farms

    We know you care about how your food is raised. We do, too. Because we feed our families the same food

    we grow for you and your family. We also realize that you probably have a lot of questions about farming

    about why, when and how we use chemicals, antibiotics and hormones, about how we care for our animals.

    We want to answer those questions. We may not agree on everything, but we want you to know the facts

    about your food from the people who grow it.

    Emily WebelFarmington, Illinois

    I remember laughing when my grandma told my fiance

    (now husband) that everywhere in my background was

    "farm." My husband was in the ag industry, but I thought

    that moving to the farm was so far off, even far fetched!

    Ha! Now, nine years of marriage, four kids, and a remod-

    eled farmhouse later, we are here, in the thick of America-

    na, farming away.

    Holly SpanglerMarietta, Illinois

    Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for the past 13 years, beginning her ca-

    reer with Prairie Farmer even before graduating from college. As associate editor, she

    brings real-world production agriculture experience to the topics she covers, including

    a range of production, management and issue-oriented stories. She also shares the

    trials and tribulations of young farmers through her monthly column, My Generation,

    and her blog at

    Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans

    and cattle on 2,000 acres. Their operation includes 100 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation,

    plus several Shorthorns for the local show calf market. The family operation includes Johns parents, and their

    three children, Jenna, Nathan and Caroline.

    Find links to other useful websites, blogs, and online resources on our website:

    under the Links tab at the top, or the IL Farm Life link on the left


  • 45 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Recommended Reading

    Earth Day/Energy

    Ethanol and Other New Fuels by Tea Benduhn (ISBN-13: 978-0836893595)

    Generating Wind Power by Niki Walker (ISBN-10: 0836893646)

    Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel (ISBN-13: 978-1600102240)


    A Handful of Dirt by Raymond Bial (ISBN-13: 978-0802786982)

    Seed Soil Sun by Cris Peterson (ISBN-13: 978-1-59078-713-7)

    Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (ISBN-13: 978-0060001506)

    Investigate Rocks and Soil by Charlotte Guillain (ISBN-13: 978-1-4329-1411-0)


    Annas Corn by Barbra Santucci (ISBN-13: 978-0802851192)

    Awesome Agriculture: Corn an A-to-Z Book by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-02-0)

    Awesome Agriculture: Corn in the Story of Agriculture by Susan & JoAnne Buggey (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-03-7)

    Corn by Gail Gibbons (ISBN-13: 978-0823422456)

    Corn Belt Harvest by Raymond Bial (ISBN-10: 0-395-56234-1)


    Awesome Agriculture: Soybeans an A-to-Z Book by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey (ISBN-13: 978-0-9811335-1-5)

    Awesome Agriculture: Soybeans in the Story of Agriculture by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey

    (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-03-7)

    Oh Say Can You Seed? by Bonnie Worth (ISBN13: 9780375810954)

    One Bean by Anne Rockwell (ISBN-13: 978-0802775726)

    The Super Soybean by Raymond Bial (ISBN-13: 978-0-8075-7549-9)


    Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas (ISBN-13: 978-1590784600)

    Bread Comes to Life by George Levenson (ISBN 1-58246-114-7)

    Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris (ISBN-13: 978-0-688-12275-1)

    From Wheat to Pasta by Robert Egan (ISBN 0-516-26069-3)


    Amazing Grazing by Cris Peterson (ISBN-10: 1-56397-942-X)

    Awesome Agriculture: Pigs an A-to-Z Book by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-00-6)

    Awesome Agriculture: Pigs & Pork in the Story of Agriculture by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey

    (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-01-3)

    Awesome Agriculture: Beef Cattle an A-to-Z Book by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-08-2 3)

    Awesome Agriculture: Beef Cattle in the Story of Agriculture by Susan Anderson & JoAnne Buggey

    (ISBN-13: 978-1-926781-09-9)

    Heart of a Shepherd by Roseanne Parry (ISBN-13: 978-0375848032)

    Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace (ISBN-13: 978-0375860973)

    Pig 05049 by Christien Meindertsma (ISBN-13: 978-90-812413-1-1)

    The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts (ISBN-13: 978-0440422709)

    War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (ISBN-13: 978-0439796644)

    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (ISBN-13: 978-0140384512)

    ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold (ISBN-13: 978-0064401432)

    Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley (ISBN-13: 978-0439769877)


    Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More by Cris Peterson (ISBN-10: 1-59078-310-7)

    Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin (ISBN-13: 978-1442433700)

    Extra Cheese, Please! by Cris Peterson (ISBN-13: 978-1590782460)

  • 46 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

    Recommended Reading


    Pizza for the Queen by Nancy F. Castaldo (ISBN-13: 978-0823418657)

    Hungry Planet: What The World Eats by Peter Menzel & Faith DAluisio (ISBN-13: 978-0984074426)

    What the World Eats by Peter Menzel & Faith DAluisio (ISBN-13: 978-1582462462)

    What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Peter Menzel & Faith DAluisio (ISBN 978-0-9840744-0-2)


    Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe (ISBN-13: 978-0-8109-5475-5)

    Enjoy Your Cells by Fran Balkwill (ISBN-13: 978-0879695842)


    Country Kid, City Kid by Julie Cummins (ISBN-13: 978-0805064674)

    The City Kid & The Suburb Kid by Deb Pilutti (ISBN-13: 978-1402740022)


    Apples by Gail Gibbons (ISBN-10: 0-8234-1669-0)

    Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson (ISBN-10: 0689847696)


    How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara (ISBN13: 9780375940149)

    Pumpkins by Gail Gibbons (ISBN-10: 0-8234-1636-4)

    Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White (ISBN-10: 0-8234-1320-9)

    Specialty Crop

    Harvest Year by Cris Peterson (ISBN-10: 1-56397-571-8)

    The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller (ISBN-13: 978-0805068313)

    Who Grew My Soup? by Tom Darbyshire (ISBN-13: 978-1412745444)

  • 47 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

  • 48 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

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