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Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix


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Lesson Plans (7)

A Common Thread: The Significance of Wool in Medieval England

Students will understand how agriculture influenced and shaped culture, class, and society during the Middle Ages. Grades 6-8

A Tail of Two Sheep

Students compare and contrast hair sheep and wool sheep, discover the reasons why farmers raise sheep, and explore ways farmers meet the needs of the sheep they raise. Grades K-2

Baa, Ram, Ewe... Sheep Tales

Students explore the process of making wool into cloth. Grades K-2

Bartering Through the Seasons

Students investigate the seasons, explore the process of wool production, and discover how trade and barter have historically allowed people to satisfy their needs and wants. Grades 3-5

Clothes on the Grow

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

From Wool to Wheel

Students investigate the importance of wool in colonial America and compare and contrast the differences between processing wool then and now. Students spin, weave, and dye wool and watch videos illustrating how wool was processed in colonial times and how it is processed today. Grades 3-5

Growing a Nation Era 1: Seeds of Change

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 that cotton and wool played during this era. Grades 9-12

Companion Resources (29)

Activity
Hands-On With Wool
Spinning, dyeing, weaving, and felting wool can easily be done in the classroom. This activity provides instructions and a materials list, making it easy to prepare a hands-on wool project for your class. Wool processing is a topic that connects easily to lessons in history and science.
Book
A New Coat for Anna

In A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert, Anna needs a new coat, but her mother has no money, and the stores are empty. The story takes place in the hard times following World War II. Anna's mother barters, directly exchanging goods or services with a sheep farmer, a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor to produce the new coat. 

Charlie Needs a Cloak
A shepherd shears his sheep, cards and spins the wool, weaves and dyes the cloth, and sews a beautiful new red cloak for himself.
Farm Animals: Sheep
How do farmers keep sheep healthy? Find the answers to this and many other questions about sheep in this informative 32-page book. Fabulous photos illustrate various aspects of sheep farming, and make the book easy and fun for children to read. Includes table of contents, glossary, and index.
Farms Feed the World
A simple introduction to the beauty and variety of farms from a wheat field in Montana to a rice paddy in Indonesia to the harvesting of seaweed from the ocean, to corn, pigs, and wool on farms around the world. Through simple text and stunning photographs, this book shows how farmers provide the world with food and fiber.
From Sheep to Sweater
This book comes from the "Start to Finish" series.  It outlines the steps and process of how wool is taken from a sheep to make a sweater.
If You Lived In Colonial Times
If you lived in colonial times, what kind of clothes would you wear? What would you eat? Would you go to school? What would happen if you didn't behave? This book describes what it was like to live in the New England colonies during the years 1565 to 1776, providing illustrations of how people made their own clothes and furniture and more.
Sheep on the Farm
Students will read about the physical appearance and basic needs of sheep and will  learn why farmers raise certain types of animals.
The Shepherd's Trail
A wagon sits in the sagebrush-covered desert, while herders on horseback move sheep to high summer range. It looks like a scene from the Old West, but it's actually a sight you can see today. Shepherds still live in wagons, tending their flocks in Wyoming and other places in the American West just as they have done for more than a hundred years. From breeding season to lambing season, and shearing in between, this informative text filled with stunning photographs shows how sheep are raised over the course of a year. Use this book as an introduction for examining migrant workers and the importance of their contribution to the American economy or as a background text to provide context to lessons on wool or ranching.
The Surprise
A sheep shears, dyes, and spins her wool into a wonderful surprise.  True to its title, this wordless story will keep readers wondering what "sheep" is up to. After taking some measurements, she realizes that she has enough wool on her body to suit her purposes. She dyes the wool red, shears it off, and, donning a sweater to warm herself, takes the wool to a poodle to be spun into yarn. The sheep then works late into the night, knitting and sewing. Obviously she is preparing something special–but what is it? The final page turn brings a satisfying resolution to the mystery. Even the very young will be able to follow the story by reading the illustrations. A fine addition for wordless-book collections.
Warm as Wool
When Betsy Ward's family moves to Ohio from Connecticut in 1803, she brings along a sock-full of coins to buy sheep so that she can gather wool, spin cloth, and make clothes to keep her children warm. Based upon a true story.
Weaving the Rainbow
How do you make a rainbow? If you are a weaver you can make a rainbow with wool. If you are a sheep you can BE a rainbow! This book is filled with lovely watercolor illustrations that show the process of tending the sheep, shearing their wool, spinning the wool, using natural dyes, and weaving the colored yarn into a piece of art. 
Where Did My Clothes Come From?
Did you know that the cotton for your jeans was picked from a plant? How did the colorful wool in your sweater get from a sheep’s back to a ball of yarn? Where did your soccer uniform, your rain boots, and your fleece jacket come from? And what does recycling plastic bottles have to do with anything? This book will take you to visit farms, forests, and factories all over the world to find out how everything you wear has a story behind it. The fabrics covered include denim, wool, and synthetics, and suggestions on how to recycle or repurpose old clothes are also provided.
Wild Rose's Weaving
Rose’s grandmother wants to teach Rose how to weave, but Rose is enjoying the beautiful day outside far too much to come in and learn. It is not until Grandma shows Rose how she has woven the elements of nature into her rug that Rose wants to create a rug of her own. But now Grandma has spied a rainbow. Hand in hand, she and Rose head outside, and the next day, that rainbow reappears in Rose's own rug.
Kit
About Farm Animals Mini Kit
This kit contains a one-page coloring and activity sheet for kindergarten and first-grade-age students, complete with wool, felt, grain and other feed samples for students to paste into place. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
About...Books
If you are a teacher who creates educational books with your children, try creating the About Cattle, About Sheep, About Chickens, About Pigs, and About Goats books. Some of the books provide pages ready to color, others require the names of the animals be written, and other pages ask students to glue down feed samples or wool products. The books provide an opportunity to talk about animal needs, uses, offspring, seasonal changes, etc. The package of materials includes ready-to-copy booklet masters and enough samples of wool, hay, straw, cattle, pig, and chicken feed for the entire class to create the booklets. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Test Tube Hydroponics Kit
Investigate the importance of nutrients for plant growth and discover how plants grow without soil. Use this kit to grow and observe plants in a test tube hydroponic system. Kit includes rock wool, seed-starter trays, soybean seeds, plant tags, test tubes, and pipettes for 35 students. The Test Tube Hydroponics Kit complements the lesson Test Tube HydroponicsOrder this kit online from agclassroomstore.com. 
Wool Samples
Use these samples to show your students what minimally processed wool looks like. The kit comes with a sample of scoured wool and another sample of wool top. Scoured wool is wool that has been washed commercially so that grease and vegetable matter are removed. Wool top is wool that has been scoured, carded, and combed. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Wool Spinning Kit
Involve students with the materials and techniques that people have used for centuries to spin, dye, and felt wool. This kit comes with 15 feet of carded wool, 30 wool-spinning hooks, and instructions. Wool refills are also available. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Map
Interactive Map Project
Use this interactive map to help students see how geography and climate affects the production of agricultural crops. The map has USDA statistics built in to allow your students to answer questions such as, "Which state(s) produce the most cattle?" "Where does [my state] rank nationally in corn production?" "What region of the United States produces the most cotton?" etc. There are many agricultural maps available including field crops such as corn, wheat, barley, and alfalfa in addition to fruit and vegetable crops, ornamental nursery crops, and livestock.
Movie/Video
America's Heartland: Bachelor Sheep Ranch
This half-hour video will give your students a peek into the lives of sheep ranchers Don and Pete Meike (pronounced mikey), who say that time slows when they’re on the trail. These bachelor brothers have been running sheep into Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains all their lives, a ritual and a responsibility started by their grandparents way back in 1901.
America's Heartland: Wild & Wooly Roundup
This half-hour video visits the windswept plateaus of New Mexico, where some of America's best wool is being worn by sheep whose yearly shearing provides a valuable agricultural product for ranchers here. New Mexico claims that this region, also known for its sightings of UFOs, is the most productive wool gathering area in the nation.
From Fiber to Fabric... Wool's a Natural
This 15-minute, 1977 video narrated by Orson Wells provides a historical look at fiber, following the history of wool from before Egyptian times to the present day. This movie ties easily to social studies curriculum, as it discusses how England withheld sheep from the early colonists to control the economics of the colony. Old and new spinning techniques and looms in operation are shown. This video is available on DVD or YouTube. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
George the Farmer
Join George the Farmer from Australia in his YouTube video series to discover the paddock to plate or paddock to product journey of some of your favorite products, including apples, wool, dairy, chickpeas, potatoes, chickens, and wheat.
How It's Made: Wool
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.