Lesson Seven: Evolution of Tools & Equipment

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Grade Level:

2nd Grade


Have students describe and sequence the evolution of tools and equipment (technology) used in farming. Students will be able to discuss how the equipment has changed.


45 – 60 minutes


  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYHeUSrjpxE Peterson Brothers Farming video. (source 1) Video length: 5 minutes 2 seconds.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLt5I-YFbU Self Driving Tractor (source 2) Video length: 1 minute 51 seconds.
  • Photo cards with images of machines used in crop production for each category: plowing, planting, irrigation, and harvesting.(one set per group)
  • Evolution of Tools Grid (included)
  • Evolution of Tools Grid answer key (included)
  • Chart paper to record the students’ compare and contrast observations during discussions.
  • Optional text: Big Tractors: With Casey & Friends by Holly Dufek
  • Individual group charts (see the attached document for full sized chart below) – (one per group)

Optional resources to be located in your community

– farm implement dealerships such as John Deere, Ford New Holland, Case International to contact for speakers or field trips.

Teacher Preparation:

  • Preview the two videos used during the lesson. The Peterson Brothers Farming video shows many aspects of modern farm life. Students will enjoy the song, and the video includes subtitles. However, it is a parody of a rap song that many students might not be familiar with or is necessarily age-appropriate. This should not distract from the content though.
  • Cut card sets apart for student small groups to use. Place the cards in envelopes labeled by process: plowing/tilling, planting, irrigation, harvesting (one set for each group).
  • Copy the chart so the groups can lay the cards down on the chart for observations. Have a sample chart to model the process in step 3.
    Review the Evolution of Tools Grid answer key

Supporting Questions:

How is agriculture developed, used, and cared for? How does agriculture impact Wyoming’s culture? Who is involved in agricultural production?


Science: K-2-ETS1-2 (practiced/encountered)
Social Studies: SS2.3.3, SS2.4.2 (both explicitly taught)
CVE: CV5.2.2 (practiced/encountered)


(use as a reference as needed)

  • GPS – (Global Positioning System) a navigational system using satellites and computers
  • Till – prepare and cultivate land for crops
  • Plow -(verb) turn up an area of land so it is ready to be planted
  • Harvest -gather a crop
  • Farmer -a person who cultivates land or crops and may also raise livestock

Teacher-Instructional Procedure/Steps:

  1. Review pollination and how seeds are dispersed through pollination and wind. Begin discussing how tools can also be used to plant and disperse seeds.
  2. The teacher plays the Peterson Brothers Farming video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYHeUSrjpxE. After viewing the video, ask the students to pair share:
    • what they noticed
    • what they found interesting
    • any questions they have

    TEACHER NOTE: If available, read the book Big Tractor: With Casey & Friends by Holly Dufek.

  3. Students will be comparing their card sets to show the evolution of tools and equipment over time. First, the teacher should discuss what each category/tool does (plowing/tilling, planting, irrigation, harvesting) then model placing the tools on the chart. Draw out a picture, vocalize what attributes of the photo you are attending to, and then place it on a section of the chart, noting that you might move it as you look at the additional pictures. For example, say “This is a tractor that is getting the land ready to be planted by plowing. The tractor in this picture looks big and seems to be complicated. I’m guessing that it’s fairly modern, so I’m going to place it on the right-hand side of my chart.” Practice with a different picture from another category if students seem confused about the activity.
  4. In small groups, have the students compare the photos for each category: plowing/tilling, planting, irrigation, harvesting. Encourage the students to vocalize their reasoning since it will be needed for the next activity. Monitor students to ensure that photos are being placed in the correct categories.
  5. To further explore modern advances in farm equipment, say: “Today’s tractors use GPS systems and in-cab computers for many farm tasks.
    They navigate in fields, calculate the most efficient patterns for fieldwork, and measure the amount of seed or fertilizer needed. This allows farmers to tend to their crops more efficiently. We will now watch a video to see an example of GPS in tractors.” Play the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLt5I-YFbU
  6. Keep students in their small groups and have them compare and contrast the ways that the tools/equipment of different categories have evolved or changed over time noting which stages are the same and which are different. Students should focus on the ideas of human power, horse power, and mechanized equipment. Teachers should also note that although some tools are more modern than others, many of the older tools/methods could still be used by farmers today if farmers chose or needed to use them.

    TEACHER NOTE: Monitor the small group discussions and prompt students towards those ideas if they are not getting to them by themselves.

  7. Reconvene the whole class for a discussion and record the students’ observations on chart paper during the discussion. Ask the following questions:
    • When looking at the equipment over time, what does the equipment have in common?
    • How are pieces of equipment different from one another?
    • Why did these changes occur in the farming equipment? Possible answers include: To produce more crops, to get work done faster, to use less fuel, to use less water, to make farming easier for people, to help farmers produce
      more crops on less land
    • How does the evolution of tools (how tools change over time) help us to be good stewards of Wyoming? Possible answers include the following: it lets us use the land more efficiently, it lets us not waste water, and it allows us to continue griculture for future generations.
    • How might tools and equipment change in the future? Possible answers include the following: they have less need for humans; they are safer, they produce more food.
  8. Closure- Have students draw a picture of a piece of equipment that they could use on a farm. This could be one that was studied or one of their own invention. Students should label the different parts of the equipment and what they do. They also need to explain what farming task it makes easier/ more efficient and/or how it can help farmers be better stewards. Collect the drawings.


  1. Peterson Farm Bros. (2014, July 14). All I Do Is Farm (All I Do is Win Parody)-Feat. Lil’ Fred and Farmer Derek. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYHeUSrjpxE
  2. CBS FS Bay Area. (2016, September 14). Farmers Take a Big Leap with Self- Driving Tractors. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLt5I-YFbU

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