Agriculture in Pennsylvania
Adapted from the USDA Agriculture Counts Lesson Plans
? Mathematics 2.8.3, 2.11.3
? Geography 7.1.3, 7.3.3
? Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.1.5, 1.6.5
? Environment and Ecology 4.4.4
? Students will identify and list 6 Pennsylvania agricultural commodities.
? Students will identify 6 products that include the agricultural commodities.
? Make copies of the information about the specific agricultural commodity the
group will be studying, the survey form, the data about their product and the map
of the US
Ask students to name their favorite foods. Write the foods on the board. Be sure to write
products that include corn (ex.- corn chips), potatoes (ex.-potato chips), apples (ex.-
applesauce), beef (ex.- beef jerky), wheat (ex.- pretzels), and milk (ex.- string cheese).
Ask students if they know what agricultural commodity these foods are made from and
where the commodities grow.
Share background material, and explore the meanings of the words “commodity”,
“product”, “end product”, and “byproduct.” To illustrate, bring to class some examples
of end products and the agricultural commodities from which they were made
Cotton ball, raw cotton, cotton shirt
Dry beans, bean dip
Tomato, tomato sauce
Apple, apple cider
Refer to the list of favorite foods on the board and write the agricultural commodities
make these foods.
Explain that each snack listed on the board represents a major agricultural commodity grown in the USA. Write the words “Corn”, “Potatoes”, “Apples”, “Beef”, “Wheat”, and “Milk” on the board accordingly to the favorite snacks already listed. Lead a class
discussion to help students determine what product each snack represents.
Instruct students to get into six groups.
Pass out the information about the specific agricultural commodity the group will be studying, the survey form, the data about their product and the map of the USA. Have students read the information and answer the questions on the survey form. Have the groups use the NASS data in the tables to determine where their assigned food grows and record that information on the survey form, using the questionnaire provided. Then have students locate the top five states where their snacks grow on the maps of the USA and color in those states.
Provide each group with a different color of map pins. Have each group report on its finding and mark the states where the designated food grows on a classroom map. Students should also report on growing conditions necessary for each product.
Lead a discussion in which you ask students what factors determine what is grown (climate, availability of land, transportation, storage capacities) in which states and how much is produced in Pennsylvania.
Have students report on what the cafeteria served for lunch on a daily basis. Identify what agricultural commodities are in the food and where they come from.
Ask students to bring in a PA Preferred sticker/tag from a product they bought and discuss the product with their classmates. Identify what agricultural commodity is in the product.