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Change of Agriculture in Iowa

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade 4th Grade Class N/A Length of Lesson 45 Min
Lesson Title Change of Agriculture in Iowa
Unit Title Agriculture in Iowa
Unit Compelling Question What role does agriculture play for the people of Iowa?
Historical Context:

Overall- “Agriculture is another word for farming. It includes both growing and harvesting crops and raising animals, or livestock. Agriculture provides the food and many raw materials that humans need to survive.” (https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/agriculture/352715)


1700s Photo- 2018.039.004This axe head was used by a Native American society known as the Mill Creek culture. The Mill Creek culture was part of a larger group of horticultural villages that started to appear around 1000 A.D. near the Missouri River in northwest Iowa and central South Dakota. The Mill Creek people relied upon both farming and hunting as food sources. 


1850 Photo- The first plows were very rough wooden tools. They were made to break up the ground so seeds could be planted. They did not turn a furrow or groove, but simply loosened the soil. People most often used oxen to pull the plow,  a very difficult task. In fact, it took two yoke of oxen and three people to plow one acre a day.


1900s Photo- 2018.017.010This photograph shows a Chickasaw County farmer loading corn into his corn crib. A corn crib is a bin that is used for drying and storing corn after harvest.


Now Photo-Most of the field work on farms today is done with machinery. Seeds are planted with machines pulled by tractors. Crops are harvested with combines. And crops are transported to market by semi-truck or grain wagon pulled by a tractor, and not by horse and wagon! 

Lesson Supporting Question How has the agriculture in Iowa changed overtime?
Lesson Overview

In this lesson the students will focus on what agriculture is and how it has changed overtime. They will begin with reviewing the definition of agriculture and trying to list as many things they can think of that they use on a daily basis that are a product of agriculture. They will look at images of agriculture and farms from different times in Iowa ranging from the 1700s to now. Then they will read an article about different stages of the farming in Iowa and how it has changed overtime; they will take some guided notes while having a discussion about the article. They will predict where their images would go on a timeline of Iowa, see the final answer, and then reflect on what they were right and wrong about. Lastly they will write down the most important thing they learned about how the agriculture in Iowa has changed overtime. 

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed
Lesson Target
  • I can analyze an image and identify difficulties and opportunities for Iowans in the past in order to predict when it is from.
  • I can evaluate how technology has changed in Iowa in different places at different times
  • I can express how Iowa’s agriculture has changed from different steps in the past to now by making a timeline.
Lesson Themes No themes are assigned for this lesson.
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
Bell Ringer

This will be the second lesson on agriculture, so the teacher can ask the students if they remember what the word agriculture means. 

Have a few students share some of the keywords that they think go along with the word agriculture while the teacher writes them down on the board. 

By using the words students said, the whole class can come up with a definition of ‘agriculture’.

Then compare it to the official Britannica definition: “Agriculture is another word for farming. It includes both growing and harvesting crops and raising animals, or livestock. Agriculture provides the food and many raw materials that humans need to survive.” (https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/agriculture/352715)
8 Min   

The teacher will divide the class into 4 groups.

Each group will have a different primary image of agriculture in Iowa from different times to look at.
2 Min  The groups can be split into students that are at different levels in their learning, so the instructions can vary a little between groups. 

The students will have 3 minutes to look at the image and individually write down as many observations they can make about the picture while ‘Thinking Like a Historian’. 

Some ideas of things for the students to think about will be listed on the board to help them with looking at the picture.

Past: How does that past help us in the present?
Turning points: How did changes transform people’s lives now?
Continuity & Change: What is the same for us now? What is different?

Cause & Effect: Who or what made the change happen?
3 Min 

Tier 2- Only need to write down words for observations, try to come up with and share two.

Tier 3- Have extra time to look at the images and don’t need to write down their observations, but need to share at least one if possible.

After writing, the students will talk in their small groups about what observations they made.

Then the students in the group will have 1-2 minutes to work together to come up with an educated guess on when they think the image is from and why.

Then each group will show their image to the rest of the class and say what their prediction is for the time period.
5 Min   
Teacher After every group shows their picture, talk about the different things that are happening in each of the pictures. As a class, compare and contrast the different photos.  3 Min   
Students  Have students silently read the History of Farm Power in Iowa and the Farm Power Today sections from this website (it will be printed out) so they are able to see how farming and agriculture has changed in Iowa over the last few hundreds of years.(https://www.lhf.org/learning-fields/power/) 4 Min 

Tier 2- Hand out can be simplified so it isn't as much to read and extra time can be given if needed.

Tier 3- The students in this group can have the article read out loud to them if needed. Otherwise can be given an even more simplified version.
Students While the students are reading, have them write down 1-2 things that go with each of these categories: Farm Power, History of Farm Power in Iowa, Farm Power Today.   If it takes students longer to read, they can underline on the paper instead of writing it down. 
Students After the students are done reading and writing down the important parts, they can talk in their groups and share one thing that they wrote down from each of the sections. 2 Min   

Then the teacher will lead a class discussion about changes in agriculture. 

There will be something like this projected for the students to follow along with. The presentation will have the blanks empty at first and then after talking about it with the class the teacher will fill in the blanks 


Guided Notes/Presentation:

1700s-These Native Americans from the Ioway tribe used their own power to plant and harvest crops. Their tools were made with different supplies that were on hand, like wood, stone,and bone.

1850-From 1850 and on, the farmers did a lot of work by hand and with animals. The oxen had to do things like plow the ground or move trees. 

1900- In the 1900s, horses replaced the oxen on the farm. Different machines were created to help with the farm work, they were faster than farmers using their hands.  

Today- Now, most work is done by machines. The use of technology has really helped farmers produce faster and more efficiently.      
10 min The words will be projected, so there shouldn't be any issues with spelling. Make sure that everyone is done writing before moving on. 

While the teacher is leading the discussion, the students are answering the questions and taking guided notes on a worksheet that has blanks to fill in.  

When the teacher fills in the blanks the students can write the words on their paper in the correct spot.

  If students are not able to write, they can be given a handout that has the words filled in already as long as they are still listening to the discussion to the best of their ability. 

Instruct the students to turn back to their groups and look at their pictures again. Have the students decide if they would like to change their idea for when the image is from or if they want to stick with it. 

While the students are deciding, display/draw a timeline on the board that goes from the 1700s to now.     

1 min   

The groups have 1 minute to finalize what time period they want to go with for their picture. 

Then one at a time, one person from each group will tape their image to where they think it goes on the timeline on the board.

3 Min   

Then the teacher will give the students the correct answer about when the pictures are from and what the right order for the timeline is. 

2 Min   

Together reflect on the predictions the students made about when the pictures were from and when they were actually from.

Also, tie the lesson and how things have changed back to the theme of change and continuity. 

On a sticky note, have the students write a complete sentence about the most important thing they learned about how the agriculture in Iowa has changed in the past 300 years. 

6 Min 

Tier 2- Sticky note can be a few words or a short list instead of a full sentence. 

Tier 3- If they can’t write it out, they can share to just the teacher what the most important thing they learned was. 
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • - As the students are working in their groups, that allows time for the teacher to move around and listen in to see if the students are on track and able to notice different things in the images. - The guided notes will be checked and returned to the students to see if they were able to follow along and write down the key words of things that have changed. - The sticky notes will be collected and checked at the end of the lesson to see if the students were able to write down at least one important thing about how the agriculture of Iowa has changed overtime.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • - The summative assessment for this whole unit is to create a brochure with 6 sections that is targeted for people that are not from Iowa by explaining the role of agriculture in Iowa to them. - So, after this lesson the students would be able to create one of the sections by explaining how agriculture has changed overtime in Iowa. - They can make a timeline, write a paragraph, make a bulleted list, or any other way they are able to demonstrate in a brochure that they understand the change in agriculture over the past 300 years.
Author Information
Author Leah Edel Reviewer Dr. Chad Timm, Simpson College Created 05/21/2020 Last Edited 05/21/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Social Studies Methods, Simpson College, Spring 2020

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