Montana Department of Agriculture logo

Students look at soil as part of Montana Agriculture in the Classroom.

This agriculture curriculum program provides schools and communities with opportunities to learn about agriculture in a fun and effective way, and seeks to instill appreciation for local agriculture and food production.

 

Some students today may not realize where their food, fiber products, and alternative energy originate. Agriculture in the Classroom is working to provide educational opportunities to discover agriculture's many benefits for today and tomorrow.

The Mission of the Ag Literacy Specialist is:

  • To provide teachers with timely, accurate, and integrated standards-based curriculum on Montana agriculture through "hands on, minds on" activities.
  • To encourage Montana student critical thinking about the role of agriculture in tomorrow’s world.
  • Lesson
    Plans
  • K-8
    Projects
  • MDA
    Publications
  • Harvesting:
    Crops & Careers
  • For
    Students
  • For
    Teachers
  • More
    Resources

We invite you to use our lesson plans in your daily teaching. Many of our lesson plans spark great science fair project research and activities. All of the lesson plans are aligned with Montana standards and have been integrated into current subject areas. (See age categories below, or refer to the K-8 Projects tab for additional lesson plans.)

There are many opportunities to teach students vital information about agriculture through math, science, social studies (economics), and other subject areas. Behind the title of each lesson plan, the subject areas are listed for your convenience. Many of the lesson plans have external links in them so you can take your class on virtual tours and in-depth investigations of the subjects.

If you have favorite agriculture lesson plans that you would like to share with other teachers please contact us.

Refer to the tabs below for lesson plans, or click the K-8 Projects tab above for additional lesson plans appropriate for grades K-8.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Visits Montana

Science, math, and reading integrated lessons inspired by Eric Carle's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (Aligned to Montana State Standards.)

K-3 educators can find many additional integrated Montana agriculture standards based lesson plans for science, math, ELA, reading, social studies, and art connections to use in their classrooms in the K-8 Projects tab.

Additional Resources

For the Montana Pollinator Education Project, Plant Science/Gardening, or Rangeland Projects refer to the K-8 Projects tab.

Air, Water & Wind

Energy

Careers in Agriculture

Cattle Industry

Economics & Agriculture

Farm Safety

Forages

Forestry

Insects & Agriculture

Land Use

Health & Nutrition in Montana Agriculture Crops

Montana Rangelands, Getting to Know the Pieces

Montana Rangelands Lesson Plans

Additional Resources

Economics & Agriculture

Energy/Climate Status

Health & Nutrition

Additional Resources

Explore the tabs below for a variety of education projects and curriculum materials related to Montana Ag topics!

Lesson plans for K-8 covering the importance of pollinators to agriculture and our food.

We would like to welcome you to the Montana Pollinator Education Project (MPEP)! This educational project has many components, including posters, pollinator ID cards, lesson plans, illustrations, and resource documents. The project was a collaborative effort between the following organizations: DNRC, NRCS, the Montana Department of Agriculture, and the Gallatin County Conservation District. Other agencies whose help was certainly appreciated include Montana State University Entomologists and the Xerces Society. Many photographers donated their photos so that students could see actual exceptional photos of pollinators, to them we give a huge thanks!

Pollinator Lesson Plans

Learning & Bulletin Board Resources

Pollinator ID & Information Cards

  1. Bumble Bee
  2. Mason Bee
  3. Alkali Bee
  4. Leafcutter Bee
  5. Sweat Bee
  6. Honey Bee
  7. Yellow-Faced Bee
  8. Monarch Butterfly
  9. Hawk Moth
  10. Tiger Swallowtail
  11. Yucca Moth
  12. Mining Bee
  13. Cuckoo Bee
  14. Digger Bee
  15. Polyester Bee

Montana Wildflower Illustrations

  1. Alfalfa
  2. Blanket Flower
  3. Blue Flax
  4. Common Yarrow
  5. Harebells
  6. Indian Paintbrush
  7. Prairie Coneflower
  8. Purple Prairie Clover
  9. Sunflower

Montana Pollinator Illustrations

  1. Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee
  2. Alkali Bee
  3. Bumble Bee
  4. Carpenter Bee
  5. Cuckoo Bee
  6. Digger Bee
  7. General Hawk Moth
  8. Hawk Moth
  9. Honey Bee
  10. Leafcutter Bee
  11. Long-Horned Bee
  12. Mason Bee
  13. Mining Bee
  14. Monarch Butterfly
  15. Polyester Bee
  16. Swallowtail Butterfly
  17. Swallowtail Butterfly
  18. Sweat Bee
  19. Yellow-Faced Bee
  20. Yucca Moth

Teachers may order a complete color set of the pollinator cards, a poster, seeds for a pollinator garden, and other educational materials through the contact below. (Postage fees will be charged for orders outside of the continental U.S.) Contact Montana Agriculture in the Classroom to place an order.

Additional Resources

Educational Extensions: Online Videos & Websites

Be sure to share any other resources you find excellent for teaching about pollinators by sending the links to: lbrenneman@mt.gov. We will add them to our list and share them!

Pollinator Education Reading List

Click on the images below for more information about each book.

Getting Started

We would like to welcome you to the Montana Noxious Weed Education project. This educational project has many components, including posters, noxious weed identification and fact cards, common core aligned lesson plans, illustrations, and resource documents.

Lesson Plans for Grades K-9

All lessons are Common Core Aligned.

Also refer to the What Plants Talk About documentary, available on YouTube.

Learning & Bulletin Board Resources

One way we can communicate educational materials to a wide variety of learners on subjects as important as noxious weeds is to create school bulletin boards. This information packet has illustrations on all of the 32 noxious weeds in Montana. Please have students color the illustrations according to the correct colors of the noxious weeds, paying attention to the plant details.

Photos for all weeds are on the illustration pages and also on each of the 32 cards. Photos of each noxious weed can also be seen on the accompanying poster for this educational unit.

The 3 Ways to Know Montana Noxious Weeds lesson plan for grades K-2 and Unwanted Neighbors lesson plan for grades 5-7 both include activities for preparing a bulletin board.

We invite you to PLEASE share photos of your bulletin boards with us and other classrooms on Facebook. Our Facebook site is Montana Agriculture in the Classroom. Thank you for your educational help in the fight against noxious weeds in Montana

Noxious Weed Information Cards

All info cards linked below are in PDF format. If you are not able to view or download the files, click here to download and install Adobe Reader.

Introduction Information Card (please read first)

     
1. Yellow Starthistle 12. Yellowflag Iris 23. St Johnswort
2. Dyer's Woad 13. Blueweed 24. Sulfur Cinquefoil
3. Japanese Knotweed 14. Hoary Alyssum 25. Common Tansy
4. Purple Loosestrife 15. Canada Thistle 26. Oxeye Daisy
5. Rush Skeletonweed 16. Field Bindweed 27. Houndstongue
6. Scotch Broom 17. Leafy Spurge 28. Yellow Toadflax
7. Tansy Ragwort 18. Whitetop 29. Saltcedar
8. Meadow Hawkweed Complex 19. Russian Knapweed 30. Curlyleaf Pondweed
9. Orange Hawkweed 20. Spotted Knapweed 31. Eurasian Watermilfoil
10. Tall Buttercup 21. Diffuse Knapweed 32. Flowering Rush
11. Perennial Pepperweed 22. Dalmatian Toadflax  

Noxious Weed Coloring Page Illustrations

All illustrations linked below are in PDF format. If you are not able to view or download the files, click here to download and install Adobe Reader.

     
1. Yellow Starthistle 12. Yellowflag Iris 23. St Johnswort
2. Dyer's Woad 13. Blueweed 24. Sulfur Cinquefoil
3. Japanese Knotweed 14. Hoary Alyssum 25. Common Tansy
4. Purple Loosestrife 15. Canada Thistle 26. Oxeye Daisy
5. Rush Skeletonweed 16. Field Bindweed 27. Houndstongue
6. Scotch Broom 17. Leafy Spurge 28. Yellow Toadflax
7. Tansy Ragwort 18. Whitetop 29. Saltcedar
8. Meadow Hawkweed Complex 19. Russian Knapweed 30. Curlyleaf Pondweed
9. Orange Hawkweed 20. Spotted Knapweed 31. Eurasian Watermilfoil
10. Tall Buttercup 21. Diffuse Knapweed 32. Flowering Rush
11. Perennial Pepperweed 22. Dalmatian Toadflax  

Additional Educational Curriculum & Resources

Links for More Information

For more information on classroom integration of this project, please contact:

Shantell Frame-Martin: shantell.frame@montana.edu
Lorri Brenneman: lbrenneman@mt.gov

Getting Started

We would like to welcome you to the Montana Invasive Species Education project (MISE). This educational project has many components, including posters, invasive species ID cards, lesson plans, and resource documents.

The project was a collaborative effort between the following organizations in order to combine resources into one comprehensive educational unit: DNRC, NRCS, the Montana Department of Agriculture, Fish Wildlife and Parks, Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign, and other agencies who supplied time and funding. Many photographers donated their photos so that students could see actual exceptional photos of pollinators, and to them we give a huge thanks!

Reference Materials

Note: All materials listed below are in PDF format.

Lesson Plans

Note: All lesson plans listed below are in PDF format.

Recommended Reading List

For Students:
For Teachers:

Extended Online Resources

Download Extended Online Resources List as a Single PDF File (.8MB)

Montana Resources:
National Resources:

We would love to hear from you! Please contact Lorri Brenneman at LBrenneman@mt.gov and share your questions and classroom success stories about your invasive species projects, or to request lesson plans or other resources.

Montana Rangelands, Getting to Know the Pieces

Download a Montana Rangelands Poster
Download a Montana Rangelands Poster: Vocabulary List

Montana Rangelands Lesson Plans

We would love to hear from you! Please contact Lorri Brenneman at LBrenneman@mt.gov and share your questions and classroom success stories, or to request lesson plans or other resources.

Grow and Know with Montana Agriculture

Science, Math, Reading, Communication Arts, and Art integrated lessons. (Listings by Grade Level, Title, and Montana Standards)

Additional Gardening Curriculum Resources

We would love to hear from you! Please contact Lorri Brenneman at LBrenneman@mt.gov and share your questions and classroom success stories, or to request lesson plans or other resources.

Screen and print versions of most publications can be viewed and downloaded below. Hard copies can be ordered by contacting Lorri Brenneman, Agricultural Literacy Specialist, at LBrenneman@mt.gov, (406) 437-1906.

Commodity Map
Montana Pollinator Education Project Poster
Montana Pollinator Education Project Poster

Montana Pollinator Education Project Poster

 

Refer to the K-8 Projects tab for more Montana Pollinator Education Project materials.

Montana Noxious Weed Poster
Montana Noxious Weed Education Poster

Montana Noxious Weed Poster

 

Refer to the K-8 Projects tab for more Montana Noxious Weed education materials.

Montana Rangelands

Refer to the K-8 Projects tab for more Montana Rangelands education materials.

Montana Invasive Species Education
Montana Invasive Species Education Poster

Montana Invasive Species Education

 

Refer to the K-8 Projects tab for more Montana Invasive Species Education materials.

Careers in Agribusiness Student Ag Mag

View the online Flip Book, or use the links below for more:

Northern Plains Pulse Crops Student Ag Mg

View the online Flip Book, or use the links below for more:

Montana Wheat Student Ag Mag

View the online Flip Book, or use the links below for more:

Who Knows Who Grows Smackin' Snackin'?

View the online Flip Book, or use the links below for more:

Who Knows Who Grows Muffin' Stuffin'

View the online Flip Book, or use the links below for more:

An educational unit, based on the award-winning film The Great American Wheat Harvest, that familiarizes K-12 students with agricultural production, harvesting and careers. Click on the lesson titles below to download individual lesson plans (in PDF format), and refer to the videos for more.

Lessons

Lesson 1: Little Red Hen's Harvest
Download
Lesson Plan 1

Students will read the story, “The Little Red Hen,” discuss all the different careers involved in producing a loaf of bread and act out a play based on the story. Students will sprout wheat seeds. Grades K-2

Click here for video.

Lesson 2: Enjoying the Harvest
Download
Lesson Plan 2

Students will read about the history and science of wheat and learn why wheat varieties are bred for different growing conditions. Students will learn about the anatomy of a wheat plant and a wheat kernel. Students will grind wheat and make tortillas in a bag. Grades 3-5

Click here for video.

Lesson 3: Timing is Everything - The Wheat Crop Depends on the Weather
Download
Lesson Plan 3

Students will play a game to determine how much wheat a section of land will yield based upon a series of setbacks caused by weather, insects, etc. Students will read about the impacts of weather on wheat production. Students will use online resources to find statistics about wheat production and annual precipitation in your state. Students will graph the information. Grades 5-7

Click here for video.

Lesson 4: Helping the Little Red Hen - Careers in Wheat Production
Download
Lesson Plan 4

Students will read about the many careers involved in wheat production. Students will identify careers related to their own interests and research to find more information about those careers. Students will play the role of wheat scientist by conducting an experiment to find the DNA in wheat germ. Grades 5-7

Click here for video.

Lesson 5: Who Will Help Me Harvest the Wheat - Combines and Careers in Ag Mechanics
Download
Lesson Plan 5

Students will read about the development and operation of a combine harvester and learn about careers in agricultural mechanics. Students will build a model of a Archimedes’ screw, analyze design flaws and improve on the design. Grades 6-12

Click here for video.

Lesson 6: Government Work - Agricultural Research, Education and Farm Support
Download
Lesson Plan 6

Students will read about the history of government policy and legislation related to wheat research, education, extension and farm support and debate the role of government in these areas. Students will research career opportunities in government agencies that address wheat production and other agricultural issues. Grades 6-12

Click here for video.

Lesson 7: Sensors and Satellites - Careers and Technology in Agriculture
Download
Lesson Plan 7

Students will discuss modern applications of electronics and sensors in wheat production and harvest, conduct an experiment to find infrared light, and interpret satellite images as applied to farming.

Click here for video.

This educational project was developed by National Ag in the Classroom, with funding provided by U.S. Custom Harvesters and New Holland. "Harvesting: Crops and Careers" is based on the Emmy Award winning film The Great American Wheat Harvest.

New Holland Agriculture Logo
US Custom Harvesters Logo
NAITCO Logo
GAWH Logo

Check out these student-focused websites to find opportunities that will further your understanding of agriculture.

National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agriculture in the Classroom is a grassroots program coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. (grades K-12)

Challenge yourself and expand your mind!

Top Agriculture picks for grades 5-9!

Ag Day!

(grades K-12)

Gardening!

(grades K-12)

Integrated Pest Management!

(middle school grades)

Montana Links!
Nutrition!

(Teacher resources for grades K-12)

Contests!

Essay contests are held through several organizations:

Agricultural Research Service

See available Lesson Plans and K-8 Projects using the tabs above.

Professional Development

Montana Agriculture in the Classroom program offers workshops for teachers year around. Our workshops bring the latest agriculture literacy to your classroom through integrated "hands on, minds on" lesson plans that are aligned to state educational standards. All of our workshops offer OPI teacher licensure renewal units. Visual aids and hands-on kits are provided for your classrooms during the workshops.

View Upcoming Events on this page to find available workshops. To schedule a workshop for your school, or for more information, contact Lorri Brenneman at (406) 437-1906 or email LBrenneman@mt.gov.

Grants
DuPont Pioneer Excellence in Agricultural Science Education Award

A partnership with DuPont Pioneer and the National Science Teachers Association, this award is to recognize excellence and innovation in the field of agricultural science education. One award will be awarded annually. The awardee will receive a $5000 grant for their classroom/program, paid travel expenses to attend the NSTA national conference on science education, mentoring with a DuPont Pioneer scientist, classroom resources from DuPont Pioneer, and access to a DuPont Pioneer product plant or research facility. The awardee will be presented the award at the Teacher Awards Banquet at the National Conference.

Apply for a Small Grant from the Captain Planet Foundation

The Captain Planet Foundation will fund as many projects as its annual resources allow. Deadlines are typically September 30th for spring and summer projects and January 31st for fall and winter projects. Grants must be project-based, performed by youth, have real environmental outcomes, and be based in the U.S.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's Gro1000 Campaign

For the fifth year, National Gardening Association is excited to participate in the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's Gro1000 campaign to establish gardens across the United States. The Gro1000 program will establish 1,000 community gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2018. The program is designed to help communities and its residents experience the benefits of community gardening and green spaces and support local hunger needs. National Gardening Association is working in partnership with the U.S Conference of Mayors, Garden Writers Association, Plant a Row for the Hungry, Botanical Gardens, Communities in Bloom, and the Franklin Park Conservatory. This year's winning cities are: Sacramento, CA - Edible Sac High with Mayor Kevin Johnson; Fort Worth, TX - Fort Worth Botanic Garden with Mayor Betsy Price; Tuscaloosa, AL - Alberta Parkways Gardens with Mayor Walter Maddox; Bridgeport, CT - “Little Asia” Athletic Field and Community Garden with Mayor Bill Finch; Cincinnati, OH - Mill Creek Edible Forest Garden with Mayor Mark Mallory.

Annie's Grants for Gardens

Gardens are places for kids to connect to real food, explore new flavors and talk about where our food comes from. For many years, we've offered Grants for Gardens donations to schools and other educational programs that help put children in direct contact with growing real food. Since 2008, we've offered funding to more than 200 gardens.

This changes often. Be sure and check back for grant notifications.

National Professional Development

Increase your knowledge of agriculture literacy by applying to be a Montana representative at the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference. Each year the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Consortium recognize five exceptional teachers by presenting them with the Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award. This nationwide competition recognizes successful efforts in teaching agricultural concepts within the school curriculum. Click here for more information and to learn about previous winners. Award recipients receive an honorarium of $500 and up to $1,500 for travel related expenses. If you are interested in applying, please contact us using the contact information below.

Student Contests

Essay contests are held through several organizations:

For more information on any of the programs above, please contact Lorri Brenneman at LBrenneman@mt.gov.

Check out the resources below for additional lesson plans and activities:

Grades K-3
Grades 4-6
Grades 6-8

Montana Farm to School

Montana Farm to School enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following core elements:

  • Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test;
  • Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition; and
  • School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.

Learn more about Farm to School in Montana:

Local Farms, Local Kids

From the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center:

Click here for video.

Lorri Brenneman
Agricultural Literacy Specialist

Phone: (406) 437-1906
E-mail: LBrenneman@mt.gov

Stay connected with us on Facebook & Twitter. Up-to-date-information will be shared about grants and workshops.


Shantell Frame-Martin
Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign Coordinator

Phone: 406.444.9491
E-mail: Shantell.Frame@montana.edu
Fax: 406.444.6410
Scott Hart Building, Room 70
302 N Roberts
PO Box 200202
Helena, MT 59620

Agriculture in the Classroom Files

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