Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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Technology in Agriculture
6 - 8
Two 45-minute sessions
Students will explore technical careers in agriculture and learn how GPS and GIS technologies are used to improve agricultural production.
- What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech? video
- Farmers: These are the Droids You’re Looking For video
- Modern Marvels: Harvesting DVD
- Gearing up for Careers in Agricultural Technology activity sheet
- Where in the World activity sheet
- Computers with internet access for each student
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
precision agriculture : an information technology-based site-specific farm management system that collects and responds to data ensuring that crops receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity
Global Positioning Systems (GPS): a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites
Geographic Information Systems (GIS): a computerized data management system used to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and display spatial information
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Show students the videos What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech? and Farmers: These are the Droids You’re Looking For (both are very short).
- Ask students if they know of any other high-tech examples of agriculture. Keep a list on the whiteboard so that examples can be added during this lesson.
Activity 1: GPS and GIS Basics
- Define the acronyms GPS and GIS. Most students are likely familiar with GPS navigation systems on smart phones. Begin the lesson by asking students if they know how GPS works.
- Use the following video clips to further illustrate and describe the use of GPS in our everyday lives.
- How GPS Works from Discovery News
Activity 2: Modern Marvels
- The movie Modern Marvels: Harvesting from the History Channel gives great illustrations and descriptions of specific technologies used in agriculture. The first segment shows the use of GPS and GIS technology in a rice field. (Note: DVD can be purchased from Amazon.)
- Use the movie activity sheet, Gearing up for Careers in Agricultural Technology. Print one for each student, and ask students to list each job they see as they watch the movie.
- Before showing the movie, explain the difference between an entry-level position and an advanced-level position. Entry-level positions can be obtained with little or no outside education or training. Advanced positions usually require education, specific training, and/or years of experience in the career field.
- Stop the movie frequently and point out careers until students can recognize them on their own.
Activity 3: Where in the World?
- This activity allows students to discover their own geographic locations using latitude and longitude measurements (GPS uses latitude and longitude measurements in addition to time and distance measurements from GPS satellites).
- Print one copy of the activity sheet Where in the World? for each student.
- Provide students computers with internet access, and ask them to follow the instructions on the activity sheet.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Technology plays an important role in agriculture, which provides the food, fiber, and shelter needed to cover the basic needs of people everywhere.
- There are a variety of careers available in agricultural technology.
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!
Let students play the Range Rambler game available in the Utah Agriculture in the Classroom Student Center Ag Games. This challenge gives students four items that a park ranger is looking for, and students must use GPS coordinates to find them.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Fighting Weeds: Can we reduce, or even eliminate herbicides by utilizing robotics and AI? (Multimedia)
- What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech? (Multimedia)
State Standards for Utah
Grade 7: College and Career Awareness Strand 3Students will explore skills, knowledge and concepts related to CTE College and Career Pathways in Agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources.
Standard 1Explore the careers, education, and training related to agricultural systems technology, food production and processing systems. Meeting one or more of the following indicators: a) Identify 10 careers in the agricultural systems technology, food production and processing systems. b) Identify the skills and education required to work in agricultural systems technology, food production and processing systems careers. c) Describe the variety of work environments in agricultural systems technology, food production and processing systems careers. d) Recognize the sources of food, clothing, and shelter, and the processes that are used to deliver them to the consumer. e) Identify and demonstrate the uses of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other satellite technologies in agriculture. f) Evaluate facts and opinions about food technologies to enhance food safety and food availability. g) Use and apply learned knowledge through multi-day project based learning experiences.
Standard 2Explore the careers, education, and training related to plant and animal systems. Meeting one or more of the following indicators: a) Identify 10 careers in plant and animal systems. b) Identify the skills and education required to work in plant and animal systems careers. c) Describe the variety of work environments in plant and animal systems. d) Explain how supply and demand of agricultural products affect the marketplace and price (e.g., the supply, demand, and price of major grains such as wheat, corn, and soybeans). e) Explore biotechnology and its uses in agriculture. f) Use and apply learned knowledge through multi-day project based learning experiences.
Standard 3Explore the careers, education, and training related to natural resource systems. Meeting one or more of the following indicators: a) Identify 10 careers in natural resource systems. b) Identify the skills and education required to work in natural resource systems careers. c) Describe the variety of work environments in natural resource systems. d) Explain the dependence and interaction between people and natural resources (e.g., rangeland, wildlife, wilderness, soil, water, and air). e) Use and apply learned knowledge through multi-day project based learning experiences.
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
- Identify science careers related to both producers and consumers of agricultural products (T4.6-8.g)
Common Core Connections
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Career Ready Practices
CRP.10.1Identify career opportunities within a career cluster that match personal interests, talents, goals and preferences.