For more than 150 years, agriculture has been an important component of our state's history. KFAC is excited to offer resources that focus on symbolic icons of Kansas to assist teachers and classroom volunteers in integrating agriculture into their Kansas Day lessons and celebrations. For lesson plans related to Kansas, visit Kansas Lesson Plans page.
Wheat is one of most important crops in Kansas – in fact, Kansas is known as “The Wheat State.” Wheat is a member of the grass family, and during the winter, our wheat is green like grass. Watch a Kansas wheat field grow from planting to harvest by visiting Wheat Watch.
The journey of wheat from the field to the table in an incredible one. The lesson plan Wheat: From Field to Table can readily be incorporated into a Kansas Day unit because it covers multiple curriculum subjects.
A fun Kansas Day activity is Bread in Bag. Youth can make their own loaf of bread, which allows them to see why wheat is an important crop and how wheat is important to their diet. The lesson plan includes important vocabulary associated with bread-making as well as thorough step-by-step instructions.
Sunflowers represent Kansas as our state flower. The abundance of wild sunflowers in the state is also why Kansas is known as “The Sunflower State.” Wild sunflowers can be seen along the roadsides in the summer and fall. Sunflowers are also raised as a food and feed crop in our state. Watch sunflowers grow from planting to harvest from K-State Research and Extension Sunflower Scene. Be sure to check out the pictures from last growing season!
The Sunflower Story from Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom allows students to see the growth cycle of a sunflower, learn what the sunflower needs to grow and raise more seed.
Additional resources on sunflowers include Sunflowers: Sunflowers Produce Cooking Oil and Seeds.
On the Kansas State Seal there is a picture of a farmer and his team of horses preparing the soil to be planted. Kansas is connected to the soil; in fact, we even have a state soil, which is Harney Silt Loam. Kansas farmers raise wheat, sunflowers, corn, soybeans, milo, alfalfa and prairie grasses using our state's soils that are rich in nutrients. The income for the State of Kansas from crops raised on Kansas soils is over $6 billion per year!
The Kansas State Historical Society offers a useful and fun lesson plan on our state soil, while The National Museum of Natural History has excellent, interactive information on Kansas' state soil as well as other states' featured soil.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers additional, more in-depth background information on Harney silt loam, and Kansas' very own Jackson County Conservation District has an informative newsletter about soil, survey maps, soil testing, careers in soil and much more.
In addition, the following websites provide basic soil information. Through these lessons, learn how soil is formed, how it benefits us and how to protect this precious natural resource. Many of these websites have great interactive lesson plans that can be used by students in a computer lab or in your classroom with an interactive whiteboard or LCD projector and computer.
The following print resources also provide additional soil information that may be helpful to include in a Kansas Day unit.
Kansas is one of the top beef-producing states in our country. Kansas beef contributed $6.24 billion of income to the state in 2009 (Kansas Ag Statistics). Additional Kansas beef statistics can be from Kansas Livestock Association. The following resources are recommended to share information about beef with students.
Connect the Dots: Where does my food come from? is an integrated educational kit designed for second and third grade students with portions expandable to first and fourth grades. As students explore their world, it is necessary to help them realize that the food system contributes significantly to this world. The lessons in the kit meet national education standards in science and social studies while reinforcing skill development in language arts and content understanding in health. The lessons can be taught in any order or can be used individually if time doesn't permit teaching all three.
More information about beef is available from the Kansas Beef Council. KFAC recommendsCaretakers All - Protection of Natural Resources.
Beyond the Beef will help your students learn about all the products we use daily that are made from beef byproducts, which include products for home, pharmacy, travel, and industry.
Photo: Keith Weller, USDA ARS
Don't forget to check out our Kansas Ag Facts for additional exciting information about our great state!