Building Achievement with Ag in the Classroom


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Looking for some new and effective tools for your Middle School toolbox? Check out the blueprints for success offered by Ag in the Classroom. Receive free, grade-level specific curricula materials. Learn about free professional development opportunities and volunteers supporting your work as an educator.

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Building Achievement with Ag in the Classroom

  1. 1. North Carolina is home to a wide variety of agriculturalcommodities. Let’s see how many of them you know!Try to list the top ten agricultural commodities (ranked bycash receipts). They may be crops (plants) or livestock(animals).Commodity 1st guess 2nd guess Correct answer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
  2. 2. Corn Broilers Chicken Eggs Tobacco Hogs Cattle and Calves Cotton Soybeans Turkeys Greenhouse/Nursery
  3. 3. Human Math Directions1. Divide the class into groups with 6-8 students per group. It is not necessary for all groups to be made up of the exact same number of students, but they should be as nearly equal in size as possible.2. Give each group the following items: a. a set of number/symbol cards including more of each number and/or symbol than students will need to answer the questions correctly (i.e. if the greatest number of 0s needed is 8, include at least 9); composition of packets will be determined by the specific activity you choose b. a copy of the reading, chart or graph for each team member from which answers to questions can be derived (If word problems are being used, you will not have a specific reading.)3. Tell students that this is an activity in which they will work as groups to derive answers to mathematical problems. They will cooperatively determine and display their answers. When you read them a problem, their task as a group is to figure the answer, and then, using their number cards, display the answer by holding up the appropriate cards to show their answer. Verbal answers will not be accepted; only answers given by the students in the group holding up the correct cards in the correct order. For answers requiring commas, the commas must be in the appropriate location. The group to correctly display the correct answer first will be given five points; the second team will receive three points; the third place team will receive two points; and, the fourth place team will receive one point. There will be _____ (number) problems in all. You will give the problems one at a time; a new problem will be given only after the previous problem has been called, completed and teams have received their points for that problem.4. Before you ask each question, put the question (covered) on the overhead projector, ready to uncover as you read the problem aloud. This is especially helpful if the problem being read requires mathematical computations.5. As each group gives its answer to the problem (using their number cards), determine points earned for each group. Record scores as teams earn them to avoid confusion. Do not allow a student to be the scorekeeper; all students need to be involved as a team member in the activity. You, as the teacher, need to be prepared for quick responses from each group! Repeatedly throughout this activity, encourage groups to organize themselves for effective action and to work together to complete their tasks.6. As the first problem is been completed by all groups, assign points earned on the chalkboard, overhead or chart paper.7. Continue through the process, reading problems, determining winners, assigning points earned and subtotaling each time so groups know where they stand in the activity at all times.8. At the conclusion, award each group prizes according to the points earned. Award the winning group ribbons made from blue construction paper on which is printed - "Super Math Group." For the 2nd place team, prepared red ribbons with "Great Math Group." For the third place team, white ribbons with "Outstanding Math Group." For the fourth group, give them a pink or gold ribbon with "Good Math Group." If you have more than four groups, select a color and title for their ribbons. You might want to give each student a product made from a N.C. commodity. For example, a large bag of corn (or sweetpotato) chips for the group to share, popcorn, cheese and crackers, bags of peanuts, etc.9. Lead a group discussion in which students are focused on the content of the article or the information shared in their word problems.
  4. 4. Each One Teach One Directions1. “In this activity, you will have two roles: a teacher and a learner.”2. “You will receive a card which has one fact printed on it. Your job is to teach that one fact to everyone else in the group. Use whatever teaching strategies you wish to use to help your classmates learn. At the same time you are teaching your fact, you will also be learning as many facts as possible. Your goal is to be a good teacher and a good learner.”3. “There will be an evaluation at the end of the activity in which the good teachers and the good learners will be recognized.”4. “Any questions?” Distribute cards - one to each student. “You may begin.” The fewer instructions you give at this point the better; different groups will approach this activity differently - thats fine! Students like to talk and students like to move - this activity incorporates both.5. Walk among the group to observe methods being used. Make sure you have overhead projector with blank transparency and overhead marker ready during this time.6. When it is obvious it is time to stop, have students return to their seats.7. “Now it is time for your evaluation - this will be a group evaluation. Place the card with the fact you were teaching in a pile in the center of the table.” The teacher should pick up the cards. “Also, any notes you may have taken during the exercise should be turned face down.”8. “I want you to think of a fact someone else taught you - raise your hand when you have done so. I will call on you to share the fact.” As students share facts they remember, be sure to write the facts on the transparency so the visual learners can see them in print. Also, as facts are shared, ask the student who taught that fact to stand and take a bow.9. After all facts have been shared, or until no one is able to remember another fact, have all the students who shared a fact stand and take a bow. Recognize them as good learners.
  5. 5. Same and Different DirectionsThen and Now Farmsteads – Students will compare things we associate with farms of the past and farms of the presentusing the Same/Different strategy.Preparation: Copy “Pictures 1 and 2,” enough of each picture for half the number of students in the class. White out thewords “Picture 1” and “Picture 2” so they do not appear on the copies. Attach each Picture 1 to the inside of one color of filefolders. Attach each Picture 2 to the inside of the other color of the file folders. (For example, you will have 15 red folderswith Picture 1 inside, and 15 yellow folders with Picture 2 inside).Procedure:1. Pair students and have them sit at their desks or tables facing their partner.2. Assign one student in each pair to be the recorder. Distribute “Same-Different Answer Sheet” to the recorder for each pair of students.3. Explain to students that each pair will be receiving two pictures that are very similar, but have some key differences. Emphasize that students are to find as many similarities and differences as possible using verbal descriptions of their pictures and asking questions of one another.4. Stress that students must look only at their own picture, not at their partner’s picture.5. Encourage students to minimize the volume level of their conversations so other teams will not overhear answers.6. Student pairs raise their hands when they have found the assigned number of similarities and differences. When the goal has been achieved or the activity time limit reached, pairs open folders side by side on their desks and compare pictures while looking at both.7. Encourage students to find additional similarities and differences they did not identify during the activity. Ask students to discuss the verbal strategy they used to communicate, and suggest to each other more effective methods they could have used now that they see the both pictures at once.8. Repeat the activity again several times at later dates using teacher-made Same-Different pictures. Make sure each student eventually has the chance to record. Students hone verbal communication skills and pay closer attention to details with each opportunity they have to participate in this activity.9. To ensure success and a challenge for all, include in each Same-Different activity some differences that will be obvious for the slowest achievers and some that will be difficult for the highest achievers. The remaining differences should be distributed between the extremes.
  6. 6. Procedure for Making Materials1. White-Out Method Start with a drawing, map, photo or written material. Make two copies. Use white-out and a black line marker to add and subtract content from one copy. Add and subtract content to the other copy. Use the two altered copies as originals as you duplicate copies for your class. Try using different colored paper for each original to avoid confusion.2. Photo Method Arrange objects in a scene. Take a picture. Rearrange the objects in the scene. Take a second picture. Use the enlarging feature on copy machine on resulting photos to create two master copies and then duplicate copies of each for classroom use.3. Written Method Text can be altered to create Same-Different materials. For example, make two copies of a page from a textbook describing a currently studied topic such as crops and livestock. From one copy, white-out all descriptions of crops. Take out all descriptions of livestock from the other. The Same-Different Answer Sheet can be altered to ask compare-contrast questions about crops and livestock so students have to read copies carefully to each other to be successful.Adapted from Spencer Kagan’s Cooperative Learning Structures
  7. 7. Same/Different Answers1.______________________________________________2.______________________________________________3.______________________________________________4.______________________________________________5.______________________________________________6.______________________________________________7.______________________________________________8.______________________________________________9.______________________________________________10._____________________________________________
  8. 8. The Limits of the LandTo appreciate how little agricultural land is available, visualize the world as an apple cut into four parts. Three-fourths of the apple represents oceans. Now imaginethe quarter that is left – the land – cut in half to make two one-eighth sections. One represents areas such as deserts, swamps, polar regions, and mountains. If theremaining one-eighth piece is cut into four parts, three represent areas which are too rocky, too hot, too wet, or developed by man. Finally, peel the last small piece –one thirty-second of the world. This tiny bit of peel represents the soil on which we depend for food production.But the world population is skyrocketing. It took from the beginning of time to 1950 to reach 2.5 billion people, and just 40 more years to reach a population of 5.2billion. Today the earth’s population is 6 billion people. By 2025, it is predicted that there will be 8.4 billion of us. Practices that cause excessive soil erosion oractions that would sharply cut agricultural productivity – such as banning pesticides and fertilizers – could bring disaster.