A Day in the Life Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan 3

Farming Today and Tomorrow

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  1. Students will recognize the historical context of modern farming.
  2. Students will match facts about modern farming with important agricultural themes.
  3. Students will identify and practice the steps involved in conducting an oral interview.
  4. Students will collect information related to agriculture in the community by interviewing a local farmer.

Activity Summaries

  1. FARMING THEN AND NOW: Students will read a narrative that traces the self-sufficient pioneer farm to the modern large-scale farming operation characterized by specialization and complexity.
  2. TODAY'S FARMER - FUN FARM FACTS: Recognizing that farms are growing increasingly large, complex and specialized, students will classify FUN FARM FACTS KEY according to six themes identified below. While six categories have been provided, some facts may fit under more than one theme:
    • Education
    • Farm Size
    • Products
    • Ag Business
    • Computers on the Farm
    • The Hard Work of Farming
    1. Prior to introducing the interview experience to students, determine whether students will go into the community to conduct interviews on their own or whether you will have a farmer or farmers visit the school for interviews.
    2. The following resources will be helpful when introducing students to an interview experience:
      A Shared Experience
      Immigration Oral Histories
      Using Oral History
      Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History
    3. Students should work with a partner or a small group to conduct the interview, and complete the following steps:
    • Choose a partner or form a small group.
      Depending upon the maturity of the students, they should work in pairs or small groups to conduct their interview.
    • Brainstorm a list of interview questions related to the work of a farmer.
      This can be done in small groups or as a class. If done as a class, have each student take out a piece of notebook paper, and fold their paper in half and in half again. When unfolded, the paper will have four sections separated by fold lines. On each section ask students to write one question he/she would like to ask the farmer. Students should separate their questions by tearing along the fold lines. When all students have written four questions, have one student share a favorite. Collect from other students all similar questions. When all questions have been shared or collected, categorize the questions and type the list.
    • Type your questions and print copies for each person in your group.
      Students can help word process the lists if computers are available in the classroom.
    • Assign questions to each person in the group.
      Each student should have one or two assigned questions to ask during the interview experience.
    • Practice reading your questions into a tape recorder. Make sure you know how to use the recorder.
      Provide time for students to become acquainted with the recording equipment and practice reading their questions.
    • Set up an interview date.
      Make certain that the appropriate release forms are completed when conducting an oral interview.
    • Conduct the interview.
    • Write a summary of your interview using the tape recording.
      Writing good summaries of oral history material can be difficult. Have students focus on writing statements that describe the main ideas discussed during the interview.
    • Your summary should include quotes from the person interviewed as well as summaries of what the person said. Do not transcribe the tape word for word.
      Encourage students to support generalizations about what the interviewee said with sample quotes that capture the essence of the conversation.
    • Your interview summary should cover the important points of your conversation.
    • Share the results of your interview with your classmates.
      The interview summaries could be bound to make a classroom book.
    • Complete a T chart to compare early farm life with farm life today.
      A T chart has been provided with this module. However other formats include the following:
      Modified T Chart
      Pro/Con Format
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