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Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Four Seasons on a Farm

Grade Levels
K - 2
Purpose

Students identify the characteristics of the four seasons of the year, investigate what causes seasons, and observe the affects changing seasons have on farms.

Estimated Time
Two hours
Materials Needed

Interest Approach—Engagement:

  • Season Card
  • Magnets, tape, or reusable mounting putty (teacher tack)

Activity 1: Reasons for the Seasons

Activity 2: Season Acrostic Poems

Activity 3: Four Seasons on the Farm

Vocabulary Words

axis: a real or imaginary line on which something rotates

equator: an imaginary line drawn around Earth equally distant from both poles, dividing the Earth into northern and southern hemispheres

equinox: either of the two times each year (about March 21 and September 21) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of approximately equal length everywhere on earth

North Pole: the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface

Northern Hemisphere: the half of the Earth that is north of the Equator

season: one of the four natural divisions of the year—spring, summer, autumn, and winter—in the North and South Temperate Zones

solstice: one of the two times during the year (about June 21 and December 21) when the sun is farthest north or south of the equator, resulting in the longest and shortest days of the year

South Pole: the point in the Southern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface

Southern Hemisphere: the half of the Earth that is south of the Equator

Background Agricultural Connections

Earth's axis is an imaginary pole that goes through the center of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole. The Earth is tilted and spins around this axis, one complete turn each day, as it travels around the sun. Throughout the year, the sun's most direct rays hit different areas on Earth. Earth's tilted axis is the reason we have seasons.

The equator is an imaginary line that divides the Earth into a Northern and Southern Hemisphere. When the North Pole tilts toward the Sun, it's summer for the Northern Hemisphere. When the South Pole tilts toward the Sun, it's winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For people living in the tropical zone near the equator, there is not much change in the temperature between the seasons. For people living in the temperate zones in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, there are four seasons, each with its own characteristics.

The first day of winter, on or around December 21st, is the shortest day of the year and is called the winter solstice. Solstices occur when the sun shines farthest away from the equator. The spring equinox, the first day of spring, is on or around March 21st. An equinox occurs when the sun's rays shine directly on the equator. On an equinox, the length of the day and night are approximately equal. The first day of summer, on or around June 21st, is the longest day of the year and is called the summer solstice. The autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, begins on or around September 21st.

Seasonal changes affect farm activities. In winter, it is cold, the days are short, and many farms are covered in snow. During this season, plans for next year's crops are made, farm equipment and machinery is maintained and repaired, and animals are fed, cared for, and kept warm.

Spring is a busy season full of new life on the farm. The days become longer, trees bloom, and seeds begin to sprout. There are new farm animal babies to care for. Fields are tilled, planted, and fertilized.

In summer, it is hot and the days are long. The crops and baby animals grow bigger. Weeds must be controlled and crops need water. Hay is cut and baled and silage is chopped and stored. Many fairs and livestock competitions occur in the summer.

Autumn is harvest season. The days become shorter and the leaves turn red, yellow, orange, and brown before they fall from the trees. The baby animals are big now, and some animals are sold to market.

Interest Approach - Engagement
  1. Draw four columns on a whiteboard, and write one of the four seasons at the top of each column. 
  2. Give each student a Season Card and ask, "What is you favorite season?" Have them complete the sentence on their card, "My favorite season is ________________ because ______________________."
  3. Ask each student to read their sentence to the class and then place it in the correct column on the board with a magnet, tape, or reusable mounting putty (teacher tack) to create a bar graph.
  4. Discuss the results of the bar graph. Which season do most students in the class like best?
  5.  Explain to the class that they will be exploring seasons and how the changing seasons affect farms.
Procedures

Activity 1: Reasons for the Seasons

  1. Give each student a Birthday Sign, and ask them to write their birthday on it (month and day).
  2. Place a Season Sign in each corner of the room. Have the students stand by the sign that shows the season they think their birthday is in.
  3. Ask the class, "What causes the seasons?"
  4. Project the Reasons for the Seasons PowerPoint onto a large screen. On Slide 2, point out the Earth's axis on one of the Earth images. Explain to the students that the Earth's axis is an imaginary pole that goes through the center of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole. The Earth is tilted and spins around this axis, one complete turn each day, as it travels around the sun. Throughout the year, the sun's most direct rays hit different areas on Earth. Earth's tilted axis is the reason we have seasons.
  5. Point out the equator on one of the Earth images. Explain to the students that the equator is an imaginary line that divides the Earth into a Northern and Southern Hemisphere. When the North Pole tilts toward the Sun, it's summer for the Northern Hemisphere. When the South Pole tilts toward the Sun, it's winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For a person living in the tropical zone near the equator, there is not much change in temperature between the seasons. For people living in the temperate zones in the northern and southern hemispheres, there are four seasons, each with its own characteristics.
  6. Show Slide 3. Explain that the first day of winter, on or around December 21st, is the shortest day of the year and is called the winter solstice. Solstices occur when the sun shines farthest away from the equator.
  7. Ask the students standing by the Winter Sign to check and make sure their birthday is actually in the winter (December 21- March 20). If not, they should move to a different season.
  8. Show Slide 4. Explain that the first day of spring, on or around March 21st, is called the spring equinox. An equinox occurs when the sun's rays shine directly on the equator. On an equinox, the length of the day and night are approximately equal.
  9. Ask the students standing by the Spring Sign to check and make sure their birthday is actually in the spring (March 21- June 20). If not, they should move to a different season.
  10. Show Slide 5. Explain that the first day of summer, on or around June 21st, is the longest day of the year and is called the summer solstice.
  11. Ask the students standing by the Summer Sign to check and make sure their birthday is actually in the summer (June 21-September 20). If not, they should move to a different season.
  12. Show Slide 6. Explain that the first day of autumn, on or around September 21st, is called the autumnal equinox.
  13. Ask the students standing by the Autumn Sign to check and make sure their birthday is actually in the autumn (September 21- December 20). If not, they should move to a different season.
  14. Read The Reasons for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons for additional facts about the science behind the changing seasons.

Activity 2: Season Acrostic Poems

  1. Read one of the poems from Seasonal Acrostic Poems.
  2. Explain that an acrostic poem is a poem where letters on each line (often, but not always, the first letters of each line) spell out a word or phrase. Highlight the letters from the lines of the example poem that spell out a word. Point out that the poem describes or tells about the word. An acrostic poem does not need to rhyme and can be as long or as short as the poet wants it to be.
  3. Arrange the students into their birthday season groups from Activity 1. Tell them that they will be reading a book about their birthday season that has acrostic poems on each page. Provide each group with the book that matches their birthday season:
    • Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
    • Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
    • Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
    • Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
  4. Have the students work with their season groups to complete the Seasons Graphic Organizer:
    • Weather: Identify the characteristics of the season and describe the weather during the season.
    • Clothing: Describe the clothing people wear during the season.
    • Plants/Animals: Explain what happens to plants and animals during the season.
    • Celebrations: Identify the holidays that occur during the season and foods that are often associated with those holidays.
  5. Using the graphic organizer as a prewriting tool, have the students write an acrostic poem that describes their birthday season. Publish their poems in a class book and/or do a poetry reading to allow students an opportunity to share their poems.

Activity 3: Four Seasons on the Farm

  1. Organize students into five groups. Assign each group one different type of farm:
    • Dairy farms 
    • Egg and poultry farms 
    • Grain farms
    • Fruit and vegetable farms
    • Livestock farms and ranches
  2. Allow time for the groups to discuss what types of activities they think need to take place on their farm during each season. 
  3. Read Farming by Gail Gibbons. Tell the students to listen for activities that take place on their farm during each season.
  4. Provide each student with the three printouts of the Four Seasons on a Farm Wheel for their farm, a brass fastener (brad), and access to scissors and crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
  5. Have the students draw pictures of activities that take place on their farm during each season in the appropriate sections of the printout of the four seasons.
  6. Students should then cut out each of the three printouts on the dashed circles and lines. 
  7. Using a thumb tack, have the students or an adult helper make a hole in the marked center of each cutout and use a brass fastener (brad) to attach them with the title on top, the drawings in the middle, and the season dates on the bottom.
  8. Reorganize the class into groups of four students, so that one student represents each season in the group. Have the students share their season wheel with their new group.

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:

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

  • There are four seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall—and each has its own characteristics.
  • Seasons are a result of Earth's tilt on its axis as it spins and travels around the sun.
  • Seasonal changes affect farm activities.
Author
Lynn Wallin
Organization Affiliation
National Center for Agricultural Literacy
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