Students will distinguish between natural and artificial selection and use a student-centered learning activity to see how science and genetics have been used to artificially select apples for specific traits like color, texture, taste, and crispness. Grades 9-12
Students will explore careers in the fields of agriculture and natural resources through online research. They will check their understanding by playing Career Trek—a board game that requires students to identify careers in agriculture and natural resources. Grades 6-8
Students will explore the path food takes along the Farm-to-Table Continuum. They will begin on the farm and investigate food safety issues during processing, transportation, at restaurants and supermarkets, and finally, in their own homes. Teams will identify how food can become contaminated along the continuum and develop and present strategies for preventing contamination at each step. Grades 6-8
Students will explore the path food takes along the Farm-to-Table Continuum. They will begin on the farm and investigate food safety issues during processing, transportation, at restaurants and supermarkets, and finally, in their own homes. Teams will identify how food can become contaminated along the continuum and develop and present strategies for preventing contamination at each step. Grades 9-12
Students will gain a broad understanding of the types and sources of different fibers, examining their origins and observing their differences. Activities in this lesson include examining clothing and clothing labels and observing how different types of fabrics burn. Grades 6-8
Through a series of 4 Labs, students will explore the 4 Cs of Food Safety: clean, cook, chill, and combat cross-contamination (separate.) Hamburger is used for the labs, as it is a food that students are familiar with and may be cooking at home. Lab 4 is a review and summary of what the students have learned about the 4 Cs and encourages them to apply these principles to their everyday life. Grades 9-12
Students investigate the impact of cotton on the history and culture of the United States. Students will discover the growth and processing requirements for cotton, recognize how the invention of the cotton gin affected slavery, explain how the plantation system was organized, and ultimately understand the role of cotton in the Civil War. Grades 6-8
In this lesson students will learn that product packaging is a balance between function, food safety, and economics by designing a protective package for shipping perishable fruit. Each package will be presented to the class for evaluation, and the best design will be shipped to test the product's durability. Grades 6-8
This lesson introduces students to the relationships between chromosomes, genes, and DNA molecules. Using the example of a strawberry, it also provides activities that clearly show how changes in the DNA of an organism, either naturally or artificially, can cause changes. Grades 9-12
Students will learn the versatility, function, and nutritional benefit of eggs in a healthy diet, identify the function and role of eggs in a recipe, identify forms of technology used on an egg farm, and understand how eggs are classified by size. Grades 6-8
Students read the novel Esperanza Rising written by Pam Munoz Ryan to examine the lives of migrant workers, agricultural economics, the impact of agriculture to rural communities, agricultural history, and how fruits and vegetables have been harvested historically and are harvested currently. Grades 3-5
While many view bioengineered crops (GMOs) as a promising innovation, there is controversy about their use. This lesson provides students with a brief overview of the technology, equipping them with the ability to evaluate the social, environmental, and economic arguments for and against bioengineered crops (GMOs). This lesson covers a socioscientific issue and aims to provide students with tools to evaluate science within the context of social and economic points of view. Grades 9-12
Students pursue a process of inquiry to profile George Washington, evaluating the personal characteristics that made him a great leader while also exploring historical and modern food systems. Grades 3-5
Students will explore how retail foodservice establishments ensure that food is safely stored, prepared, and served. Through inquiry they will also learn about local health regulations and how the 4 Cs of Food Safety apply to all aspects of foodservice. Grades 9-12
Students will view the documentary Food Evolution to evaluate the polarized debate surrounding bioengineering (GMOs). In this film director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy travels from Hawaiian papaya groves to Ugandan banana farms, to cornfields in Iowa to document how agricultural technology can be used in such varied crop settings. This lesson covers a socioscientific issue and aims to provide students with tools to evaluate science within the context of social and economic points of view. Grades 9-12
In this lesson students will learn about foodborne illness, its prevention, and the people and organizations that are involved in food safety. Students will conduct an experiment to learn how hand-washing affects the presence of bacteria on their hands. Grades 6-8
Students explore the phenomenon of what makes bread dough rise. Using baker's yeast, students will observe alcoholic fermentation and its connection to cellular respiration as they are challenged to act as food scientists and develop the best recipe for quick-rising bread dough. Grades 9-12
Students will learn how the events of World War I helped spark the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the resulting New Deal by watching a video and participating in a round robin, responding in writing to images and sound bites from the Dust Bowl, and observing a wind erosion demonstration. Grades 9-12
Students will participate in a foraging activity, gaining perspective on how scarcity of resources can affect well-being and how agriculture provides the benefit of a steady, reliable food supply. Then they will read about hunter-gatherers and early agriculture and use maps to explore how geography affected the development of early civilizations. Grades 6-8
Students investigate the collaborative work of an agricultural scientist and engineer who found new uses for soybeans and discuss careers in science and engineering, biobased products, and the use of renewable resources. Grades 3-5
This lesson explores common biotechnology methods and their applications in agricultural sciences. Students will examine DNA analysis techniques, become familiar with the process of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and evaluate methods of DNA analysis as they learn how the biological techniques can be used in the process of developing specific traits within a crop. Grades 9-12
Students investigate how the need for wool impacted the American colonists by examining the Wool Act of 1699, determining the importance of wool in colonial America, and comparing and contrasting the differences between processing wool then and now. Students spin, weave, and dye wool to explore how wool was processed in Colonial times. Grades 3-5
Students will determine the presence of DNA in their food by extracting it from a strawberry. Then, students will compare and contrast GMOs and organic foods in order to evaluate the nutrition, safety, economic, geographic, and environmental impacts of these agricultural production practices. Grades 9-12
Students will engage with the Growing a Nation timeline to explore the significant historical and agricultural events and inventions from American history during the years 1600-1929. Students will recognize the importance of labor in agriculture, discover how the implementation of technology increased agricultural production, and explore the role wool played during this era. Grades 9-12
Students investigate the impact of cotton on the history and culture of the United States. Students discover the growth and processing requirements for cotton, recognize how the invention of the cotton gin affected slavery, explain how the plantation system was organized, and ultimately understand the role of cotton in the Civil War. Grades 9-12
Students engage with the Growing a Nation timeline to explore the significant historical and agricultural events and inventions from American history during the years 1950-1969. Students examine the cause and effect relationships of many post-war advances that took place in our country and discover how increases in science and technology changed agriculture, leading to fewer farmers being necessary to provide food and fiber. Grades 9-12
Students engage with the Growing a Nation timeline to explore the significant historical and agricultural events and inventions from American history during the years 1970-2000. Students recognize the importance of labor in agriculture and determine how the implementation of technology in agriculture increased agricultural production. Grades 9-12
Students will be introduced to technologies currently used on farms by engaging in an AppQuest to discover how farmers use mobile apps to manage farm production systems, marketing options, and make timely decisions. Grades 9-12
Students will explore the major events and changes in agriculture related to science, technology, and policy in the era of 2001 to the present, taking an in-depth look at how these elements have impacted American families and communities through the passage and enactment of government programs and policies. Grades 9-12
This lesson teaches about invasive species: what they are, the threats they pose, and damages they can cause. Students will identify individual pests and invasive species and discover what they threaten, where they live, and the pathways hungry pests use to enter new locations. Finally students move into action and explore what they can do to prevent the spread of invasive species. Grades 6-8
This hands-on lesson teaches students how precision agriculture uses geographic information systems (GIS) to help farmers and manufacturers make smart, efficient, and responsible decisions about how and when they plant, grow, irrigate, harvest, and transport crops. Grades 6-8
Students will discuss the limited amount of fresh water on earth, identify how best management practices can reduce water consumption, discuss the need for water conservation and protection, and compare and contrast methods of irrigation for water conservation. Grades 6-8
Students will discuss the limited amount of fresh water on earth, identify how best management practices can reduce water consumption, discuss the need for water conservation and protection, and compare and contrast methods of irrigation for water conservation. Grades 9-12
Students will explore new technologies that will impact the future of farming, understand the role of developing countries in food security, and explain how consumers influence the production of food. Grades 6-8
Students will explore new technologies that will impact the future of farming, understand the role of developing countries in food security, and explain how consumers influence the production of food. Grades 9-12
Students discuss the definition of “fertilizer” and relate it to plant nutrition and the need to restore nutrient balance in agricultural soils. They discuss how people and crops can suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Students assume the roles of plant doctors and diagnose nutrient deficiencies in corn plants. Grades 6-8
Students will recognize that plants, like people, require essential nutrients to be present in the right amounts in order to be healthy, use reference materials to diagnose plant nutrient deficiencies, define fertilizer as a type of “food” for plants, and appreciate that fertilizers are used to replenish nutrients in agricultural soils. Grades 9-12
This lesson compares and contrasts prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and examines the form and function of the plasmid found in prokaryotic cells. Students will then use these principles to simulate how a desirable gene can be isolated and inserted into a plasmid as one step in the process of creating a bioengineered (GMO) plant variety. Grades 9-12
Through project-based learning, students examine fruit and vegetable farms to discover the amount of manual labor required to plant, grow, and harvest some of our food. They research the business economics of farm management, the plant life cycle, and the requirements and challenges faced in reducing manual labor through mechanization or robotics. Students present their findings to an agricultural engineer to begin developing a solution to farm labor shortages. Grades 6-8
Students explore the scientific processes used to make the crops we grow and the livestock we raise (commodities) into some of the foods we eat every day. Students will discover how science and technology work together to create foods like pickles, bread, yogurt and more! To engage further in the topic, students will make their own cheese using enzymes produced through the fermentation of genetically engineered yeast. Grades 6-8
Students will simulate the process of gene splicing, understand the application of transgenic organisms in agriculture, and see how goats can be used for the production of goods other than meat and milk through the use of biotechnology. Grades 9-12
Students explore the carbon cycle, evaluate natural and human-induced activities that drive the carbon cycle, and discover climate smart agricultural practices that can be used to produce our food. Grades 9-12
Students will map the scientific process of creating a bioengineered (GMO) plant, compare bioengineered soybean seeds to conventional soybean seeds, describe the impact weeds have on plant growth, and understand how a bioengineered seed can help farmers manage weeds. Grades 9-12
Students will simulate how a type of biotechnology called Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is used to identify crop plants that have desirable traits such as sweet tasting fruit or natural resistance to a pest or disease. Grades 6-8
Using the claim, evidence and reasoning model, students will compare and contrast organic vs conventionally produced foods to discover the differences and similarities of each farm production style. Grades 6-8
Students will explore the importance of wheat in the development of culture by learning about the advent of agriculture, discussing wheat cultivation in ancient Egypt, threshing a head of wheat with their hands, and making a corn dolly out of wheat stems. Grades 6-8
“Bringing Biotechnology to Life” is an activity resource for science educators and others interested in learning more about biotechnology and its role in food production. There are seven lessons and activities covering topics such as DNA, selective breeding, agricultural biotechnology, and more.
The Enhancing Our World research activity provides instructions and a rubric for students to create and promote a potential new agriculture product using genetic technology and science. The activity would be best placed after students understand basic terms and concepts of genetics, heredity, and biotechnology.
In addition to selective breeding, genetic engineering tools such as transgenics and CRISPR gene editing can be used by plant breeders to solve agricultural challenges. Plants can be engineered to be more nutritious, more resistent to pests, drought tolerant, etc. This activity challenges students to match several crops and the challenges faced in growing them to potential solutions that could be reached with genetic engineering.
Farm fields can span hundreds of acres. With so much area to cover, checking crops and livestock can be difficult. But with an agricultural drone, this job becomes much simpler. Young readers will discover how drones help farmers maximize efficiencies and bring abundant harvests.
Historically, farming was an exhausting, physical task. Bright-minded individuals revolutionized agriculture with inventions that eased tasks and sped up production. The invention of milestone machines, such as Eli Whitney's cotton gin, are explored chronologically.
This book shows the progression of technology through history as human civilizations progressed from foraging to farming. Agriculture enabled humans to stop wandering from place to place to find food. This chapter book includes text as well as photographs and reproductions to illustrate the implementation of agriculture in our daily lives.
Read the story of a New England barn that was raised in the 18th century. The Barn is a tale of change over time. It tells the story of life in many generations and different cultures. The story is told from the Barn's voice. The text shows how communities, cities, and people adapt to changes in the land and technology.
By featuring a single cow (Clarabelle) and her calf on a large, modern-day Wisconsin dairy farm, Peterson describes all the latest technology that enables farmers to create energy and other by-products from their herds. And yet none of the modern-day machinery matches the miracle of production that is the cow herself. Vibrant, close-up photographs capture Clarabelle with her herdmates and her newborn calf as well as the family members of Norswiss Farm who live and work together.
Can a quiet Iowa farm boy grow up to change the world? Norman Ernest Borlaug did. Hero for the Hungry is a moving and informative biography of the 20th-century American agriculture scientist whose innovations in crop varieties founded the Green Revolution and fed hundreds of millions of people around the world.
What is commercial fishing? What are fish farms? How do fish get from the sea to the supermarket? This book looks at the history of fishing, discusses commercial fishing and aquaculture, and explores how technology has impacted the fishing industry.
What's that you say? You're hungry? Right this very minute? Then you need a farmer. You have the stories of so many right here on your table! Award winners Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renee Kurilla's delicious celebration of food and farming is sure to inspire readers of all ages to learn more about where their food comes from – right this very minute!
This book provides a fun-filled exploration of the history and field-to-table processes of onions, garlic, leeks, celery, asparagus, and rhubarb. Examine the discovery and migration of these vegetables as well as their roles in cooking, technology, and world cultures.
Wanda proudly hosts this year's school harvest feast, but she was so busy promoting it she forgot to get the food! Luckily, Ralphie happens to know of a farm that grows the finest produce around, but there's a problem—he thinks it's haunted! There are tractors driven by ghosts, plants that climb walls, and so many robots! Could the spooky discoveries actually be helping the farm?
Join Cas, Kanga Blue, and their new friend Tillie on an adventure through a wide range of agriculture careers as they imagine the exciting things they might do someday. Agriculture is the backbone of society, and it goes far beyond farming or ranching. In The Things You'll Grow, young readers get a firsthand glimpse of how multiple fields are connected to agriculture: culinary, technology, aviation, engineering, supply chain, and conservation, to name a few. This light-hearted adventure encourages children's interest in career and technical education (CTE) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Get a glimpse inside some of the STEM career paths available in agriculture and see women in STEM. Edition 1 is available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Edition 2 is available in English and Spanish.
Agriculture is everywhere! From the time we wake up in the morning until we end our day at night, we have encountered agriculture through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the fuel we use for transportation. Ag Today is a great reading supplement for upper elementary students to learn about agriculture. The six issues correlate with the themes of the National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes and can be integrated into science, social studies, and language arts curriculum. Each reader provides real-world connections to STEM and makes learning relevant for students in becoming agriculturally literate.
The AgBadging Field Guide will lead you through an exciting exploration of agriculture—what you eat, wear, and use every day. Throughout your journey, you will have the opportunity to earn five different badges—Agriculture & the Environment, Plants & Animals, Food & Health, Technology & Engineering, and Geography & Culture. The AgBadging Field Guide was developed for youth ages 8-11. Preview the digital version of the field guide here. Order field guides online fromagclassroomstore.com.
Use this monthly bulletin as a companion resource for secondary lessons about DNA, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and many other related topics. Each 2-page bulletin addresses current topics in biotechnology including the development and safety of GM crops, GMO product labeling, plant breeding, GMOs and human healthy, and many more.
Make cheese in your classroom using the same fast methods as industry. This kit includes the recipe to make cheese (also available to download), cheesecloth, and two different types of rennet - one from an organic animal source and one from a genetically modified yeast source. You add water, powdered milk, and buttermilk. This is a great activity for exploring enzymes and chemistry as well as the benefits and concerns surrounding genetic modification. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
This kit allows students to take home visible proof that plants have DNA. Each kit contains enough supplies for 100 students to make their own DNA necklace. The kit contains cheesecloth, funnels, pipettes, test tubes, flasks, microcentrifuge tubes, and yarn, all in a sturdy plastic storage container. Refill kits are also available. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Use this 8-minute video clip to profile a career in Agricultural Engineering. Learn how agricultural engineers apply engineering technology and science to help farmers be more productive, reduce environmental impacts, and keep our food affordable, safe, healthy and delicious.
Robots, drones, and lasers...oh my! Western growers has produced a series of one-minute videos highlighting the newest technologies in agriculture. From flying autonomous robots working alongside harvest crews to AI-directed blades and lasers that zap weeds with ruthless efficiency, the next generation of farmers have access to cutting-edge technologies that will help them meet the challenges of the future.
America’s Heartland is a magazine-style, half-hour video series. The website and YouTube channel offer more than 700 episodes about farmers and ranchers providing food, fuel, and fiber for America and the world. The series strives to give urban viewers a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing modern agriculture today by providing informative and compelling stories about topics ranging from agricultural technology to consumer issues to crop sustainability. Video segments can be viewed from the website or YouTube and can be easily integrated into classroom discussions. Visit the website and search for videos by topic (e.g., dairy farm, cotton, cattle ranch, etc.).
Animal biotechnology encompasses a broad range of techniques for the genetic improvement of domesticated animal species including selective breeding, artificial insemination, cloning, and genetic engineering. Learn about both biomedical and agricultural applications of animal biotechnology and some of the science-based and ethical concerns that are engendered by certain applications.
The CRISPR-Cas9 system has revolutionised gene-editing, but cutting DNA isn’t all it can do. From turning gene expression on and off to fluorescently tagging particular sequences, this animation explores some of the exciting possibilities of CRISPR.
Colonial House is a reality-style show that was filmed over a 5-month period on an isolated stretch of the Maine coast. The adventurers arrived in their New World on a period tall ship and struggled to create a functioning and profitable colony using only the tools and technology of the era. Provides a glimpse into the daily life and experiences that helped shape our national character.
This 17-minute video is a great way for students to learn about how agriculture connects to their lives. Animation, fun facts, and farmers tell the story of agriculture and how it relates to economics, science, and business. Interwoven through the commodity stories of corn, cotton, apples, dairy, and soybeans are important concepts such as: biodegradable properties, renewable resources, biotechnology, foreign trade, pest management, conservation practices, and food quality. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
View an animation of Ely Whitney's Cotton Gin. Separating the cotton seeds from the cotton fiber was a very labor-intensive task before the invention of the cotton gin. This animation can help students visualize how the cotton gin worked and see the impact of labor-saving technology.
This 3-minute video highlights how drones can be used to identify specific plants in a farmer's field that are diseased or infested with bugs. A great illustration of a technology that is improving agricultural production and efficiency.
How could robots impact agriculture? Use this video to engage students in discussion about how robots could change food production as we know it. Discuss topics such as efficiency, food production, sustainability, and farm labor.
This video is the first episode of the PBS series, "America Revealed." Show host Yul Kwon explores how the "Food Machine" (agriculture) feeds nearly 300 million Americans every day. The video highlights farm practices, machines which make the production of our food easier and more productive, and the requirements of nature and our natural resources in order to produce our food. This secondary resource addresses topics such as sustainability, GMOs, pests and pesticides, global food trade, and food marketing.
In this PBS production three families traveled back in time to the days of the Wild West, living as settlers did on the frontier in the 1880s. Each family took over their own 160-acre plot of homestead land in a remote region of Montana. They were then filmed as they built their homes, tended livestock, and planted crops, all without the assistance of modern technology. Their triumphs and frustrations provide a unique account of an important period of American history and a unique perspective on the practice and importance of agriculture.
Use this 5-minute video to illustrate the complete process for developing a GMO through the scientific method and research. The Hawaiian papaya story is used as an example for resolving the papaya ring spot virus that had devastated the crop until a GMO variety was developed. Researchers and farmers turned to the development of GMOs as early as 1985 to improve the quality of plants to resist insects and disease while battling problems in production.
Learn how CRISPR gene editing is being studied and implemented to improve food. This form of gene editing holds promising applications to cure diseases and improve food. Can allergenic proteins in foods be removed? Can cassava be engineered to remove the cyanide responsible for growth stunting in malnourished children?
Use this TedEd video to support reasons why early civilizations moved from hunting-gathering to farming as a major innovation for the current world we live in today. All the essential advancements are depicted throughout this video stemming from agriculture to include the development of cities, division of labor, governing institutions, and advanced technologies - without agriculture none of these advancements would have occurred.
In five minutes this video covers the history of wool production, the qualities of wool fabric, and everything that goes into producing wool fabric. See a sheep being sheared, and watch as the wool travels through a factory where it is cleaned, blended with other fibers, carded, and spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven into fabric and finished.
Join director and writer, Nick Saik on his skeptical adventure to understand GMOs. Videos address specific questions such as Why are there two kinds of farming? Is the glass half empty or half full? or Why are there two kinds of food?
Modern Marvels: Harvesting traces the development of the massive machines that have transformed a season's labor into the work of mere hours. Cutting, digging, picking, stripping, shaking and raking--whatever the crop, there's a custom machine to harvest it. It all began with hand picking, but today it's often one man and one machine harvesting hundreds of acres in a matter of hours. Harvesting 2 explores the efficient and sometimes bizarre harvesting methods that have arisen from the constant struggle between hand labor and mechanization in America's orchards and farm fields.
The Lexion 590R is the largest farm combine of its kind. Harvesting exponentially more and faster than hundreds of human laborers, see why this machine is at the top of its class. Use this three-minute video to give students an example of the importance of technology in agriculture.
This link highlights the growth and production of the cotton plant. Begin with a short video clip about the growth of cotton including its history with slaves. Continue by learning about the modern use of genetic engineering in the cotton industry today. Following the video you can learn where cotton is grown across the world and what technology is used to plant, harvest, and process it into fabric.
The University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics are pioneers when it comes to robotic farming. Having developed a series of driverless tractors, they give us a sneak peek of how future farms and orchards will operate in the era of mass automation.
Preserving the environment and developing agricultural products that do not harm unintended targets are top priorities for many scientists, farmers, and environmentalists. See how new sensors aid with precision agricultural practices—maximizing productivity while minimizing energy use and environmental impacts.
A 13-minute video to answer questions about genetically modified BT corn. Understand questions such as Why is it safe to consume BT corn? What is BT (bacillus thuringiensis) and where does it come from? How is BT corn (and other GMO plants) regulated?
If we told you traditional agriculture was on the brink of a massive shift towards autonomy with machines doing the bulk of all the harvesting, would you believe it? Discover how robot farming machines are already doing the dirty work in more fields than people may realize.
Farming is being revolutionized by a technological wave. This 12-minute video highlights technological advancements in both animal and plant agriculture. Learn how drones, robots, GPS systems, hydroponics, vertical farming systems, and more can help grow and harvest crops more efficiently. You can also see tools used in livestock production such as activity monitors, thermal imaging tools, and 3-D imaging which assist farmers in keeping their animals healthy.
In this virtual farm tour, go inside a modern brooder barn to see two-week-old turkey poults and a grow out barn with 10-week-old turkeys. Learn how farmers use technology every day to regulate barn temperature, air flow, feed and water use, and monitor turkey health.
Soil maps, GPS guidance, and even drones are becoming critical tools for modern farmers. These methods of precision agriculture can help increase yields and save farmers a surprising sum along the way.
This video clip provides a brief, but comprehensive introduction to GMOs. The video defines what a GMO is, the history of genetic engineering, how GMOs are created, what traits genetically modified crops exhibit, how traditional plant breeding differs from genetic engineering and how all methods of plant breeding have been used to improve crops through the years.
The Living Science Career Cards feature 32 science careers associated with our nation's food, agricultural, and natural resource system. This is a great resource to help your students better understand the exciting and diverse array of employment opportunities for scientists working to generate new knowledge and to advance technology. These cards are available for free download.
What is Agricultural Biotechnology and how is it used? This informative text breaks down the questions surrounding biotechnology and how it is used for agricultural production. The article breaks down four topics: Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops, How Other Countries Gain Access to GE Technology, How Crops and Foods are Assessed for Safety, and Developing a Biosafety System.
Take a quick look at some of the technical strategies being pursued in farming, robotics, and AI. Which of these robots do you think you'll see in the future? Could robotics revolutionize farming practices for weed control?
A treasure trove of scientific and comprehensive food safety information in one user-friendly, alphabetical format. Use this guide as a research tool for reinforcing the science concepts in the video, performing the activities and labs, and to further enhance your knowledge of food safety.
Despite the rapid increase in the adoption of genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybean, and cotton varieties by US farmers, questions persist regarding their economic and environmental impacts, the evolution of weed resistance, and consumer acceptance. This report examines issues related to three major stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology: GE seed suppliers and technology providers (biotech firms), farmers, and consumers.
Many key food crops require nitrogen fertilizer, which can have negative effects on the environment if not managed correctly. Other crops, such as those from the legume family have special nitrogen fixing characteristics which return nitrogen to the soil. Read this article to discover how scientists are trying to transfer the nitrogen fixing trait to other plants.
Read about the research for a mobile system designed to remove phosphorus from cow manure. This technology may offer dairy farmers greater flexibility in where, when, and how they use the nutrient to fertilize crops.
Genetically modified crops have specific genes transferred from one genome to another. Typically it is believed that this could not happen naturally without human assistance. However, this article reports on the evidence that the sweet potato has a gene originally found in a bacterium.
Precision agriculture technologies are playing an increasing role in farm production. Examples include GPS tractor guidance systems and GPS soil and yield mapping for variable-rate applications. This USDA report discusses adoption rates for using these technologies and factors impacting adoption of use.
On the cramped urban campus of Boston Latin School, students grow an acre’s worth of vegetables in an old shipping container that’s been transformed into a computer-controlled hydroponic farm. Using a wall-mounted keyboard or a mobile app, the student farmers can monitor their crops, tweak the climate, make it rain and schedule sunrise. Use this article to illustrate an example of hydroponics, the use of technology in agriculture, and/or urban farming.
Use this article when talking about alternative sources for creating a biodegradable plastic. Scientists working at the United States Department of Agriculture have created a type of plastic safer for the environment which is made from sugar beet pulp that is added to a biodegradable polymer.
Is a smartphone really that smart? In this article a research scientists from Penn State and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are joining together in an effort to develop a smartphone app that will diagnose a crop disease from an image. Healthy crops can become infected by thousands of pests and the first line of defense is the farmer. This is a good article for illustrating the use of modern technology to increase and encourage crop health.
Use this resource when discussing the future use and demand of fresh water. Sixty percent of the world's fresh water is used by farmers which has a large impact upon its availability in meeting the challenge of producing food for a growing population. This article explains how scientists in the southwest are developing tools for saving water with the help of satellites, computer models, remote sensors, and other types of technologies.
Farmers are faced with the potential of crop damage each year that stems from migrating insects such as the corn earworm. However, signals taken from the National Weather Service Doppler radar network has the potential for tracking insects that move through the night such as the corn earworm. This resource supports reasons why farmers are concerned with productivity in crops that can be completely devastated by migrating insects.
GMO Answers is an educational website to answer your questions about GMO's, or Genetically Modified Organisms. You will find infographics, images, videos, posters, and handouts to use as learning tools.
The Genetic Science Learning Center provides many teaching tools to supplement lessons on genetics, heredity, cells, cloning, and more. You will find virtual labs and simulations, graphics, and animations.
This multimedia timeline pairs with Growing a Nation lesson plans using interactive technology to bring depth and meaning to historical events. The timeline includes stories and is linked to lesson plans that merge seamlessly with existing American history textbooks and high school history curricula. The program covers historical events such as the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Civil War, and the impact of science and technological growth.
This website engages students in the genetic engineering process in a problem and solution format. The video series describes a plant disease in soybeans and then illustrates the steps in genetic engineering that could be employed to develop seeds that are resistant to the disease.
This site provides a collection of educational online games exploring agricultural topics. Games are labeled with grade level (preK-K, K-2, and 3-5) and subject (math, health, science, geography, etc.).
We pay less for food than citizens of other nations; the United States enjoys the cheapest food in the world. Each year, dozens of improved products and new varieties of fruits, nuts, and vegetables emerge from the laboratories and greenhouses of the Agricultural Research Service. But walking through the grocery store, do we ever consider where such an abundance and variety of food and products come from? Learn about ARS research and how it affects your food using the "Science in Your Shopping Cart" Factsheets and podcast.