Specialty Crop AgMag
Students will categorize plants into groups, describe what plants need for healthy growth, and start their own garden by planting seeds inside a cup.
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to MyPlate (2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and to reinforce the importance of making half your plate fruits and vegetables.
Students will learn the differences between needs and wants, goods and services, and producers and consumers by participating in a grocery store simulation, exploring the source of grocery store items, and designing their own products to sell.
Science, history, and geography topics are used to teach about the history of the Christmas tree, life cycle of a conifer, types of trees and how they adapt, working on a Christmas tree farm, and the ecology of conifer trees.
In this lesson students learn the definition of a pest and identify categories of pests including vertebrates, invertebrates, weeds, or disease. Through a classroom activity, students learn how pests affect the growth of crops and how integrated pest management (IPM) is used to control pests.
- Use the online Minnesota Grown Directory to investigate Minnesota grown specialty crops and the farms that produce them. See if there are any farms located close to your school. If possible, invite a specialty crop grower to your school or organize a field trip to his/her farm.
- Investigate your school lunch menu for a specific day or week. Challenge students to identify the specialty crops included. Discuss which plants would be grown in Minnesota and which items might be grown in another part of the United States or world.
- Have a Specialty Crop Chef competition! Encourage students to share a recipe that involves specialty crops or create their own. Use the smoothie recipe on page 8 for inspiration. Invite students to prepare their recipe for students and/or school staff.
Additional MAITC Resources
- Follow That Food Videos
- Minnesota School Garden Guide
- Food For Thought: Connecting Minnesota Geography with Agriculture
- 3rd-5th Grade Agricultural Literacy Book Bundle