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Iowa Helps the World

Lesson Plan Item

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

Overall-Iowa’s farms help the rest of the world with the many things that they produce. “Iowa continues to be a national and global leader in agriculture, ranking No. 1 in production of hogs, corn, eggs and soybeans – while ranking in the top 5 for red meat production, number of farms, cattle on feed, cash receipts and total value of ag exports.”



Tyden Farm Photo-Aerial view photo taken in March of 2015 of Tyden Farm No. 6,  a farm originally owned by Emil Tyden. Tyden was born in Sweden in 1865 and immigrated to Illinois. Eventually, he got farm land in Floyd and Butler counties in Iowa, and in 1941, he opened Tyden Livestock and Feeding Company in Dougherty, Iowa.


Iowa Farm Stock Photos- Recent images from farms in Iowa featuring corn, soybeans, a windmill, and machinery. 


Graph-Graph from 2017 that shows the percent of total U.S. corn exports by country.

~ Leah Edel
Lesson Supporting Question How does agriculture in Iowa help the world?
Lesson Overview

In this lesson the students will focus on the agriculture in Iowa and how it helps the rest of the world. They will start with thinking about the everyday things that they use and how they were only possible because of agriculture and farming in Iowa. Then they will look at different pictures of farms in Iowa and think about the different things that are on Iowa farms; the crops, animals, and technology. They will try to think about where the different things that are grown on the farm are used and where they go. To go along with this they will watch a 30 second video about how the corn that is grown in Iowa is used in thousands of different things all around the world. They will also read some facts about Iowa farms and look at a graph of where the corn goes. To conclude the lesson, the students will write a complete sentence about a way that the agriculture in Iowa can help people from all over the country and world. 

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed

Blank piece of paper for the first activity
4 pictures of Iowa farms & 4 big pieces of paper to go with them
Computer projector for the short video
Iowa facts printed out and separate

An exports graph for each table group

Lesson Target
  • By using examples, explanations, and important details, I can form an answer to the lesson’s supporting question.
  • I can analyze the causes and effects of different events that happened and things that were made.
Lesson Themes No themes are assigned for this lesson.
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
Bell Ringer 

The teacher will ask the students to think about everything that happened from the time they woke up in the morning to when they got to school. 

To get the students thinking more, some questions will be listed on the board…

What did you eat?
What did you do to get ready?
How did you get to school?
Who did you talk to?

Each student will turn to one person next to them and share what they did. (2 min)

Then each student will try to think of and write down how many things that they did were only possible because of agriculture and farming. To indicate they are done writing, the students will put their pencil down and fold up their paper. (3 min)

5 Min 



If students don't look like they are talking at all or what they are supposed to be about, the teacher can walk around and interrupt. 


If a student is not able to write then the teacher can go over to the individual and do it verbally.

Teacher  The teacher will explain the gallery walk activity to the students, then divide them into 4 groups so each group is looking at a different picture of an Iowa farm.  (Before the lesson starts the teacher should put the pictures in the corners of the classroom with a big piece of paper) 2 Min 

Be sure to mix the students up so they aren't working with the people they are sitting by, and so students at different levels of understanding are working together. 


The students will split up into their 4 groups, each group will start at a different picture of an Iowa farm. 

The students will have 3 minutes at each picture. When they are at the picture, the groups will talk about what they see and work on thinking like a geographer by observing the land. Each group has to come up with 1 question that someone would have about what is in the picture. Then one student in the group will write down the question. 

Then they will rotate and do the same thing at each picture station. The students need to make sure that different people write the question and that there are no repeats of the same question that another group put.
13 Min   

As the students are in their groups looking at the pictures, the teacher is roaming around and listening to the students’ conversations. If any group seems to be stuck then the teacher can ask a prompting question to get them thinking more about the picture. 

The teacher is also paying attention to the time and warning the students of how much time they have left. 

While the teacher is walking around try to make sure that every student has a chance to talk. 


When each group has seen all of the pictures, the students will return to their seats. 

As a class we will talk about the main things in each picture and the different things that the students were wondering. 
4 Min   

Along with what is in each picture, the teacher will guide a discussion about all the different things that are on a farm in Iowa. 

If the students are stuck at all the teacher can ask additional questions like… What plants do you see? What animals are there? What do the farmers use to work in large fields?

Then the teacher will ask the students if they know where everything from Iowa’s farms go and how it's all used. 
3 Min  The teacher needs to be the leader of this discussion so it goes in the direction it is supposed to, which is eventually talking about where the produce from Iowa farms goes. 

Before the students make some predictions, the teacher can show the students this short video to spark some ideas and prove that the corn that is grown in Iowa is used in thousands of different things all around the world and country. 

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=xqSYDAGthyI&feature=emb...
1 Min  Be sure to introduce the video by explaining the purpose in watching it.
Students After watching the video, a few kids that raise their hand can share their predictions about where everything goes and how it's all used.   1 Min   

The teacher can connect some of the students’ guesses with facts about Iowa farms. 

The different facts will be printed on pieces of paper and the teacher will hand them out so each table group will be given a fact or two. 
1 Min   

The table groups will read aloud their fact(s) to the rest of the class.


Iowa is No. 1 in production of hogs, corn, eggs and soybeans 
Nation’s top producer of corn and soybeans

Stats from this website: (https://www.supportfarmers.com/resources/iowaagintel/) The class can also look at the specific facts for their county in Iowa.

Corn ingredients can be found in almost 4,000 everyday products – like lipstick, paper, plastic water bottles, crayons.
“In an average year, Iowa produces more corn than most COUNTRIES! Seriously, Iowa grows about three times as much corn as a country like Mexico.”
Iowa is the best place on the planet to grow corn.
Most of Iowa’s corn becomes livestock feed and ethanol fuel, or is exported as value-added products.

Stats from: https://www.iowacorn.org/education/faqs
5 Min 

Tier 2- If they are not able to read then have the difficult words underlined and go over them before they are given the fact.


Tier 3- Read the fact out loud to them so they know what it says then are able to make connections. 

After all the facts are read, each table will also have a copy of this graph so they can see all the places outside of the U.S. that corn is being exported. Be sure to mention that this graph is for all of the U.S. not just Iowa.

Graph from: https://iowaculture.gov/history/education/educator-resources/primary-sou...
3 Min  Can differentiate for interest at this part based off of where the students have been or are from.

After all the facts have been read out loud and the class looked at the graph, the teacher will help summarize everything the students worked on and talked about in class during the lesson. 

An example of something the teacher may say would be… “Today we looked at different pictures of farms in Iowa to try to discover how many different things come from Iowa farms. Then we looked at some facts about Iowa’s farms and learned about the specific things they produce and how it's all made to make other things. 

Also at the beginning of class everyone thought of what things that you did in the morning were only possible because of agriculture and farming in Iowa, I want you each to get your paper out and unfold it.”
2 Min 



This step is important to help the students remember what they learned and did throughout the lesson.

Each student will go back to and look at their piece of paper from the beginning of class where they listed the things they did in the morning that were only possible because of farming and agriculture. 

Then they will edit their lists how they need to, by getting rid of things that don't make sense now or adding things that come from farms that they hadn't thought of originally.
2 Min   
Closure  Lastly, to finish up the lesson, each student will write a complete sentence on the back of their paper about a way that the agriculture in Iowa can help people from all over the country and even world.  3 Min 

Tier 2- The students can write down phrases or make a list if writing a complete sentence would be too difficult. 

Tier 3- They can have an option to just write down words or to do it verbally with the teacher.


Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • When the students are in their groups looking at the pictures of Iowa farms, the teacher has that time to walk around and listen to the students to make sure they understand and see all the different things in the pictures.
  • The paper with the lists that the students made at the beginning of the lesson and then edited at the end with their complete sentence on the back will be turned in. The teacher can check to see if the students really understand the impact of things that come from Iowa on the rest of the world.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • The final assessment for this unit is to create a brochure with 6 sections that is targeted for people not from Iowa that explains the role of agriculture in Iowa to them.
  • After this lesson, the students should be able to fill in one of the sections on how the farming and agriculture in Iowa helps the rest of the world.
Author Information
Author Leah Edel Reviewer Dr. Chad Timm, Simpson College Created 05/11/2020 Last Edited 05/11/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes:

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