- Students will identify which crops are grown in different areas of the state.
- Students will explain why certain crops grow better in different areas.
- Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom map (a copy per student)
- Elevation map (a copy per student)
- Irrigation map (source 1) – (a copy per student)
- Blank Wyoming map with county lines (optional)
- Markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Review pictorial map to gain understanding of crops grown in Wyoming
- Review additional maps to make generalizations about areas where crops grow
What is grown in Wyoming and where? The purpose of this lesson is to learn where certain crops are grown in Wyoming and to hypothesize reasons for some areas being better suited for growing crops than others (water availability, elevation, and topography). This will move the students toward the big ideas of what crops (plants) need in order to grow (the DCI for 2-LS2-1), and how we can be stewards of Wyoming’s agriculture for current and future generations.
Explanation of how the activity enables students to answer the essential question:
By understanding where and why certain crops are grown, the students will learn the necessity of being good stewards of the state.
How is agriculture unique in Wyoming? How is agriculture developed, used, and cared for? How does agriculture impact Wyoming’s culture?
Science: 2-LS2-1 (practiced/encountered)
Social Studies: SS2.5.1 (explicitly taught)
(use a reference as needed)
- Irrigation – the process of delivering water to crops
- Precipitation – the amount of water an area receives through weather
- Hypothesis – an idea or theory that is not proven but that leads to further study or discussion
- Hypothesize – to suggest an idea or theory
- Tell students that we will examine maps to understand why crops are grown in different areas of Wyoming.
TEACHER NOTE: One possible suggestion at this point of the activity would be to give each student a copy of the blank map of Wyoming and have the students make a prediction either in groups or individually of where Wyoming crops are grown based on what they have learned from the irrigation and elevation maps. Students should place dots (that represent each crop) with markers or draw the crops on the map. Once the students are done, introduce the crop map.
- Have students compare and contrast one part of Wyoming to another using land and agriculture maps.
- What do you notice about crops and water availability in a given area?
- How does elevation affect crops growth?
- Why are crops grown in some areas but not in others?
- Refer to maps: elevation map; crops map; precipitation map
- Introduce students to the terms “hypothesize” and “hypothesis”. Ask them to make hypotheses regarding why they noticed crop growth or did not notice crop growth in particular sections. Reasons could be one of the following: water availability, mountains, elevation, temperature, etc.
TEACHER NOTE: Possible suggestions for this activity are to put students in small groups and give each group a section of the irrigation map. Students could report out to the other groups what they observed being grown in particular sections of Wyoming.
- Check for understanding: Have students report out their observations of the maps. Points that should be brought out in the discussion are:
- What connections can they make to crops being grown and what plants need to grow?
- Can students explain the connection to evidence of agriculture in Wyoming to availability of what plants need to grow?
- Can students explain why the crops can be grown there and why crops are not grown in other areas of the state?
- How does this connect to being a good steward of the land?
TEACHER NOTE: It is important that students see the connection between crop growth, land care/management, and how this contributes to being a good steward in Wyoming.
- Water Resources Data System. (2017 April). Irrigation Map. Retrieved July
5, 2017, from http://wwdc.state.wy.us/surveys/PWS_IS_Large.html
- The Homestead Act of 1862: A Primary Source History of the Settlement of the American Heartland in the Late 19th Century (Primary Sources in American History)
- The Homestead Act (True Books: Westward Expansion) by Elaine Landau
- Hammerlink, J.D., Webster, G.R., & Berendsen, M.E. (2014). Wyoming Student Atlas: Exploring our Geography. Laramie:Wyoming: University of Wyoming.