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In this lesson students will learn that agriculture provides nearly all of the products we rely on in any given day by participating in a relay where they match an everyday item with its "source."
Interest Approach – Engagement
*These items are included in the Source Search Kit, which is available for purchase from agclassroomstore.com
agriculture: the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products
mineral: a solid inorganic substance of natural occurrence obtained from mining
natural resources: materials or substances such as minerals, forests, water, and fertile land that occur in nature and can be used for economic gain
source: a place, person, or thing from which something originates
If you were to take a moment to look around and identify the items you rely on every day, they would likely include food, clothing, modes of transportation such as cars or bikes, building materials such as steel or wood, various technological devices such as cell phones or computers, and several tools and machines. Where did these items and raw materials used to make them originate? This lesson helps students answer that question.
Many people might recognize that farms provide us with whole, raw foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, and eggs. They might even recognize that foods such as bread, pasta, cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, and canned foods also come from a farm, but are first prepared and packaged at a food processing facility. However, in reality, agriculture also provides us with a wide variety of raw materials used make clothes, books, cosmetics, medicine, sports equipment, and much more.
Everything we make and use in society can originally be found somewhere in our environment or it is produced on farms by using natural resources such as land and water. Resources such as metal and glass are made from minerals that are extracted from the earth through the process of mining. Most plastics are a byproduct of oil which is extracted from beneath the Earth's surface. Other items we rely on from day-to-day are products of agriculture. Farms exist in numerous sizes and various locations and include many different products ranging from food and clothing to fuel and building supplies.
While many day-to-day items were built, processed or manufactured at a factory and eventually sold at a store, it is important for students to understand that they each began as a resource of the natural world and/or a product of agriculture.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting this activity, consider repeating the relay a second time using only two containers, "Farms" and "Natural Resources" to assess student understanding.
Review and summarize the following key concepts:
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!
Ask your students to create a concept web with one of the pictures used in the “Source Search” activity. Each picture should be place in the center of a piece of large paper and the web drawn to identify associations or links to careers, natural resources or other products.
Read Issue 1 of Ag Today titled Agriculture is Everywhere! This reader can be printed or accessed digitally. It describes the connections humans make daily with agriculture from business and science to the practices of growing and selling row crops and animals to be used for food, fiber, and fuel.
Discuss the importance of conserving and managing natural resources.
Activity adapted from Project Season, by Deborah Parrella.
Utah Agriculture in the Classroom