Ag's Cool Teacher Tips

All suggestions for activities are broken down into categories below. They are based upon the required curriculum for fourth grade according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Special emphasis was placed on information relating to the end-of-year examination; most activities under each study area relate to reading (through website), writing and mathematics.

All information needed to complete the projects can be found in this website whether directly or through links. If there are any questions on where to find/access information please call NCDA&CS Markets: 919-733-7912.

Healthful Living
Language Arts
Social Studies

Healthful Living

1. In small groups, find advertisements for 5 popular consumer items and identify the features of the advertisements that cause the items to be appealing. For example, its color, context, association with fun activities. Next, each group should create an advertisement for a GGINC product or GGINC commodity using similar techniques.
      Objective: 3.1

2. Ask a dietitian or nutritionist to visit the class and briefly describe the roles of carbohydrates and proteins in healthful eating. Ask the guest speaker to bring samples of GGINC foods to illustrate the talk (if possible, bring samples for students to taste as well as see). Following the talk, ask students, in small groups, to use the AG's COOL web site to find several examples of other GGINC foods. Have each small group add its findings to compile "master lists" on large paper posted around the room. For discussion, ask each student to identify one carbohydrate or protein he or she has never tasted, make a plan for getting to eat that commodity, and to report back to the class a week later on the student's opinion of the commodity.
      Objective: 5.1

3. Ask students in small groups to identify five snack foods that they currently consume. Ask each group to rate each snack food in its list as healthful or not healthful and to be able to provide the rational for the rating. Look at the GGINC products and GGINC commodities available and see which ones fit into which category. Discuss why they fall into each category.
      Objective: 5.2

4. Study a generic food label in order to understand the various parts of it, then select a GGINC commodity that is suitable for human consumption. Determine one method of preparation of one serving of that commodity, then create a food label for the serving of the commodity. (The teacher may have to help students determine the food label values by reference to labels of other foods prepared in a similar fashion. For example, deep fat frying a commodity versus steaming it may increase the saturated fat content by a similar amount for a variety of foods.) Have each student find a picture of the commodity, draw the food label, describe how the commodity is prepared, and make a poster from these items to share with the class. For discussion, ask students to identify which commodities they have actually consumed and if they know of alternate preparation methods. Ask students if they can detect any patterns in the labels according to how the food is prepared.
      Objective: 5.3, 5.4

5. Discuss how foods can be associated with feelings. For example, the food reminds you of an enjoyable picnic or visit to a fair or reminds you of visits to someone you care about. Then, give a list of GGINC foods, identify at least two that you associate with a particular feeling and describe. Discuss how the feelings may influence our food choices.
      Objective: 5.5
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Related Links
NC Commodities Goodness Grows in North Carolina GGINC Virtual Supermarket


1. Choose a commodity such as apples and estimate the number it would take to fill a container such as a bushel basket or a box. Estimate the weight of the filled container.
      Objective: 4.1, 4.3, 4.5

2. Start files either with a data base or file folder for different counties. Each student choosing his/her "own" county. Chart the commodities grown and prepare a graphics display of the four major products. Compare and contrast with other counties. Which types of graphs are easiest to make comparisons from? Why?
      Objective: 6.1, 6.3, 1.4

3. Choose a commodity and chart its production over the school year, month by month. Graph the amount produced and average cost for each month. What factors account for the differences? Is there a relationship between supply and cost? If so, what could account for it? Note any unusual occurences in a month such as storms, unusual weather patterns, rainfall that could affect production or price.
      Objective: 6.1, 6.2, 3.6, 1.4

4. Research the production and cost of a commodity over the past five years. Based on these data, predict the production and cost for the next three years. Be prepared to defend your predictions based on observed patterns.
      Objective: 6.1, 6.2, 3.6, 1.4

5. Select a commodity such as sweetpotatoes and determine how the grocer or wholesaler might classify or sort various sizes and shapes for market. Samll, medium and large at different prices? Price by number ($$ per dozen), by wieght ($$ per pound), by quanitity ($$ per bushel or quart), by volume ($$ per cubic foot). Research how the markets differ and which commodities are sold by the same or similar unit per cost.
      Objective: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.5, 5.6, 5.8, 4.1, 4.4, 4.11

6. Look up the statistical information on production and cost for a commodity in a specific county. Try several what ifs. What if the production was cut in half, how would this change the alue of the commodity? What if the product was harvested two months later (or earlier) how would this change the value the farmer receives? Make up and solve some what ifs of your own.
      Objective: 4.11, 5.8, 5.1, 5.4

7. Take a trip to the grocery store and bring back the weekly circular of specials and sale items. Make a graph of the number of North Carolina commodities, other U.S. commodities and foreign products. Would a chart made next month be similar? How might it differ? Do this each month for the school year. What do you notice? How can you explain the differences? What is the most valuable month for North Carolina? Why?
      Objective: 4.8, 3.6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4

8. Choose several different commodities for the following comparisons: Which is worth more? A foot of potatoes or a pound of apples? A yard of sweetpotatoes or a foot of eggs? A pound of cotton or a pound of soybeans? Fifty chickens or one hog? Can you make up some comparisons of your own? Which is worth the same? Two pounds of soybeans would have the same value as how many eggs? Ten pounds of peanuts is worth the same as how much wheat? A pound of pork is worth the same as how much milk? What other commodity equations can you create?
      Objective: 7.1, 7.2, 4.1, 4.11

9. Make a million! What three commodities can you select that would have a combined value of a $1,000,000.00? How much of each commodity would you need? Whose million dollar "package" would weigh the most? the least?
Objective: 4.1, 5.1, 4.2, 5.5

10. Covering with commodities!!! Select a commodity and estimate how many it would take to cross the state. Where will you start? finish? How about area? How many sweetpotatoes would it take to cover the floor in your classroom? To fill the room? How much would they be worth?
      Objective: 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 5.1, 5.2, 5.6, 5.7

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Related Links
NC Commodities NC Statistics Market News Goodness Grows in North Carolina

Language Arts

1. Have each student create a learning log out of notebooks. Students should write about their learning experiences with AG's COOL in response to open-ended questions. Questions should be: What did you learn? Did you enjoy the activity? What did you like least? Would you recommend the activity to a friend-Why? Each project can then be built upon knowledge learned in a previous activity.

      Objectives: 4.3
2. Break class up into small cooperative groups. Have students research a GGINC commodity or GGINC product. Students can do clustering (listing, idea organizing, brainstorming) to aid in their projects. Have groups present information to the class via a video, skit, pantomime, report, etc.
      Objectives: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

3. Invite a local farmer to your classroom or plan a field trip to a local farm. Have the class interview your guest speaker or host. Sample questions could be: how did he/she start? Why is he/she growing/raising that particular commodity(s)? How much land? What machines does he/she use? How do they sell product?
      Objectives: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3

4. Break class into groups and have them create jingles and/or advertising slogan for a GGINC product or GGINC commodity. Have groups then present their campaign to the class via skits. Before the groups actually write the slogan have them research the advertising field. Look at various propaganda techniques (ex. famous person, bandwagon) in class and see what works and what doesn't. After the groups present their ads, discuss as a group the ad's finer points along with whether they feel it would actually sell the product. Have students write about the experience in their learning logs.
      Objectives: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.3

5. Have students play reporters and have them use their journalistic abilities by researching various GGINC commodities and/or interviewing different people (Association members, farmers, packagers, etc.) related to various commodities. Have students prepare a 3 or 4 paragraph article on their research. Compile all the articles into a class newsletter to distribute amongst classrooms/schools/families. Write about experience in learning log.
      Objectives: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.3

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Related Links
GGINC Commodities GGINC Country Store Commodity Associations List Research Outline

Social Studies

1. Break class into groups and assign each of them a GGINC commodity to represent. Then create a set of circumstances (time of year, weather conditions, etc.) and have students come up with what they would need to do (would they be planting, feeding, harvesting, etc.). How would the process be done different now than in the past? Have the class put their answers in the form of an essay or skit.
      Objectives: 1.3
      Skills: Skill 1

2. Research festivals/fairs in your area related to foods. Why is that particular food important in your area? What is the history of it to your part of NC? Is it a tradition and if so, why? Write an essay depicting the event or have the class create ads to publicize the event as if they were the sole "ad agency."
      Objectives: 1.3, 4.3, 4.4, 12.2
      Skills: Skill 1

3. Invite a local farmer or local extension agent to come speak to the class on crops in your immediate area for an agricultural and community project (or plan a field trip). Have the class interview your guest speaker or host. Sample questions could be: how did he/she start? Why is he/she growing/raising that particular commodity(s)? How much land? What machines does he/she use? How do they sell product? How do they determine price? What factors determine price? Have students write their questions in advance as a writing assignment; after the interview have them write articles on it as a newspaper reporter would.
      Objectives: 1.3, 5.2, 9.2, 10.2, 10.3, 11.1 (most obj. can be met by organizing questions to meet needs)
      Skills: Skill 1

4. Research how farming has changed from the past to present. Compare the planting process, transportation process, etc. Discuss how technology has changed the industry.
      Objectives: 1.3, 10.3, 11.1, 11.3
      Skills: Skill 1

5. Discuss the impact of the farming industry to the state (NC's #1 industry) using statistical and economic data. Discuss how and where some of our products are shipped and how they are used.
      Objectives: 9.3, 10.1, 10.2

6. Arrange a field trip to a local supermarket. Challenge students to find all the GGINC commodities and as many GGINC products as possible. Have them track where in the store they found the merchandise. (You may want to visit the store in advance and give them a diagram representing each section and let them list products and number amounts that they found in the proper location). Or break class into groups with chaperone and have each group cover a section of the store in search of GGINC products (produce, meat, grocery, etc.) Research the products/commodities to find out where they grow in North Carolina. Classify information by regions and create maps to show where items are grown.
      Objectives: 4.2
      Skill Applications: Skill 1

7. If there is an agricultural fair in your area, contact the grounds and ask them about upcoming agricultural exhibits that will be showcased. Ask what will be in them and ask for a diagram of where they are located on the grounds. Then plan a field trip with your class during the event and set up a scavanger hunt on paper. List items they need to find (animals, crops, commodities, etc.) in each exhibit area. Perhaps have them list how much the biggest watermelon/pumpkin/etc. weighed, etc. Have students find out where the item (animal or crop) on display was grown or produced. Locate these on a North Carolina map. Categorize where items are produced by region. Give reasons why they are produced in these regionns. Compare characteristics of regions (soil type, climate, etc.)
      Objectives: 4.1, 4.2
      Skill Applications: Skill 1

8. Identify an agricultural conflict and identify possible reasons for the conflict and suggest solutions. Review how it is (was) handled by the public and its consitutients (gov't agencies involved. Have a mock public hearing and role-play representatives of institutions and associations. Discuss how your class' trial was similar/different to what is (was) happening in the actual incident.
      Objectives: 7.1, 7.3, 8.3
      Skill Applications: Skill 2, Skill 3, Skill 4

9. Survey/Poll your community (or school) on current agricultural topics. Identify the issues related to the topic (pros and cons) and write arguments for or against voting to support the issue. Develop slogans and campaigns to persuade the public to your point of view. Then have a vote taken and compare results to your survey information.
      Objectives: 8.2, 8.3
      Skill Applications: Skill 4

10. Look up statistical data on a certain region or crop and discuss why there is only a limited amount of the commodity; compare data to different percentages of "wants" to explain supply and demand.
      Objectives: 9.1, 9.2, 9.4
      Skills: Skill 1

11. Research Native American groups in North Carolina, past and present. Identify agricultural products produced by native Americans in the past. Which products are still produced today on reservations by these groups and by others?
       Objectives: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3
      Skills: Skill 1

12. Research religious groups in North Carolina. Identify foods related to customs or beliefs of the groups. Which are produced in North Carolina? Are demands for the products regional? seasonal? If so, explain.
      Objectives: 2.2, 2.3
      Skills: Skill 1

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Related Links
NC State Fair NC Mountain State Fair NC County Fairs GGINC Commodities
GGINC Country Store NC Statistics Commodity Associations List NCDA&CS Press Releases

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