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Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

Lesson Plan

Thank You Farmers

Grade Level
K - 2

Students discover what farmers do and how they help their community. Grades PreK-K

Estimated Time
30 minutes
Materials Needed

Circle Time: Right This Very Minute

Literacy: Shared Writing: Thank You Farmer

Review: Farm Match Scavenger Hunt


crop: a cultivated plant that is grown and harvested, especially a grain, fruit, or vegetable

food processing: the process of transforming raw agricultural products, like grains, vegetables, meat, or milk, into end products to be sold to consumers

harvest: the process or period of gathering crops

livestock: farm animals (such as cows, horses, and pigs) that are kept, raised, and used by people

produce: fresh fruits and vegetables

Background Agricultural Connections

In an effort to simplify the idea of where food comes from, many early learners are implicitly taught that most farms look like the farms of the past: a single family living and working on a farm to provide for their day-to-day needs. In the past, the entire family would work on the farm and there was always work to be done. Typically, these farms would grow many different fruits and vegetables, with a big barn that housed a variety of livestock animals: a small brood of chickens, a horse, several cows and pigs, and a small herd of sheep. The family's food came from their own farm. Although some farms are still like that, today we get most of our food  from much larger farms—still family owned—that specializes in growing one type of food. There are egg farms, dairy farms, almond farms, and apple farms. Modern farms require specialized knowledge, skills, and machinery in order to survive the global marketplace.

This lesson is part of a series called, Life on the Farm. The remaining lessons can be found at the following links:

All of the food we eat has a story. Right this very minute someone is growing, harvesting, transporting, or processing our produce, crops, and livestock

  1. Ask the students what they think farmers are doing right this very minute.
  2. Allow the students to share ideas and discuss different possibilities. 
  3. Explain to the students that they are going to learn more about the food they eat and what farmers are doing right this very minute to produce our food.
Explore and Explain

Circle Time: Right This Very Minute

  1. Read the book, Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen. 
  2. After reading, review the Vocabulary Development Photo Cards
    1. Show the cards to the children and say the name of each photo on the card. Encourage the children to repeat the vocabulary words after you.
    2. Ask the children to identify the object or action on the card and describe what it is or does.
    3. Possible prompts:
      • Sap: Sap is a sweet and sticky liquid that comes from trees, especially maple trees. In the springtime, sap starts flowing in abundance through the tree's trunk and branches. Farmers collect the sap and use it to make maple syrup. What do you like to put maple syrup on?
      • Frost: Frost is a very thin layer of ice that forms on surfaces such as leaves, grass, and windows when the temperature drops below the freezing point. Heavy frost can damage crops. What does frost look/sound/feel like?
      • Soil Sensors: Soil sensors are little machines that tell us information about the soil, like how much water and nutrients it has. They help farmers take care of their plants and the environment. What do you think a farmer would do if the soil sensor said the soil was too dry?
      • Nutrients: Nutrients in the soil help plants grow big and strong. Just like we need to eat healthy food to grow and stay healthy, plants need nutrients to grow and stay healthy too. What plant do you eat that helps you grow strong and healthy?
      • Pollination: Pollination is when insects visit flowers and spread tiny particles called pollen. This helps plants make fruits and seeds. Have you seen any insects visiting flowers? Which insects?
      • Graze: Grazing is when animals eat grass or other plants that are growing in a pasture or field. What animals have you seen grazing in a field?
  3. Watch the Life on the Farm videos. One video features a sheep rancher who produces wool which is used to make socks, hats, and other fiber products. The other video spotlights a tomato farmer who produces tomatoes that are used to make salsa, ketchup, and other tomato products.
  4. Use the following to prompt a discussion:
    1. What farms did we learn about today? What products do these farms produce?
    2. How were these farms different from each other? How were they similar?
    3. What do you think these farmers are doing right this very minute? Make a list of tasks that the farmers might be doing.
    4. How do farmers and ranchers help our community?

Literacy: Shared Writing: Thank You Farmer

  1. Review the different agricultural products farmers grow and raise, and how the products sustain and improve our lives. Tell the students, "Today we are going to write a letter to a farmer and tell them how much we appreciate their hard work."
  2. Brainstorming: Ask the students what they want to say to farmers to thank them for the hard work they do. Encourage the students to share about their favorite crops and livestock animals, and what they appreciate about farmers and ranchers. Record their responses.
  3. Shared Writing: Using the ideas from the class, write a letter to a farmer. Invite the students to help with spelling, writing, and drawing pictures to go along with the letter. Read the finished letter out loud to the class.
  4. Independent Writing: Provide the students with the Thank You Farmer Template. Encourage them to use the ideas generated by the class or their own ideas to fill in the blanks. They may illustrate their writing in the space provided.
  5. After the students have finished writing and drawing, encourage them to share their letters with the class. Help them read their letters out loud if needed, and celebrate their achievements. By writing a thank you letter to a farmer together, students can learn the importance of showing gratitude and appreciation for the hard work that goes into growing their food and fiber.

Teacher Note: If your class is interested in mailing letters to a real farmer, please contact your state's Agriculture in the Classroom Program Leader.

Review: Farm Match Scavenger Hunt

Teacher Note: Prior to the activity, copy and cut one set of farm cards for each group. Hide the cards around the room, grouping the same cards together. For example, all the pig cards may be taped to the wall under a table.

  1. Introduce the activity. Tell the students that today, our classroom represents a community. In the community, there are many different types of farms and each farm grows or raises a certain agriculture product.
  2. Each group will send a representative, one at a time, to find and collect one Farm Card.
  3. After the group member collects the card, they return to their group and decide where the product is grown: in a field, orchard, or barn.
  4. The students glue the card in the appropriate place on the Farm Match Activity Sheet.  
  5. Each group member takes turns finding the cards around the room and returning to the group. Repeat the steps until all 15 cards are found and glued onto the activity sheet.
  6. Divide the students into groups of three or four students. Give each group a clipboard with an activity sheet and glue stick. Conduct the activity.
  7. Review each of the farm settings and the products grown there. 

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

  • Farmers grow crops and raise livestock.
  • There are many different types of farms.
  • Farmers help our community by providing products that we eat and wear.
  • Engage section adapted from the lesson Right This Very Minute by Bekka Israelsen, Utah Agriculture in the Classroom.
Mandi Bottoms & Molly Wong
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
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