USDA Fellows Classroom Lesson 3

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Soil Texture Activity

  • What was your groups soil texture ? ​
  • Was it what you expected ?​
  • What clues did you see or feel from the dry soil that helped you guess right ?

The Development of Agriculture

How would humans get food in the past before agriculture ?

  • Hunter-gatherer (Foraging): a member of a culture in which food is obtained by hunting, fishing, and gathering plants to eat rather than by growing crops and raising animals
  • Domestication: to breed and select animals and plants so that they are adapted to living with human beings and serving their purposes
  • Technology: the use of science and the application of knowledge to invent useful things or to solve problems
    • Tillage
    • Nutrients/pesiticides
    • Irrigation

Branches of Agriculture

Agronomy: crops which occupy a large area and form the bases of the food production systems of the world, which are often mechanized (rice, wheat, corn, alfalfa, soybean, and forage crops).​

Horticulture: production of plants for the restoration of a landscape, conservation of plants, management of soil, construction of landscape, maintenance.​

Animal Husbandry: animals that are raised for meat, fiber, milk, eggs, or other product.​

Hydroponics: a method of growing plants without soil, by instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.​

Different types of farms worldwide

Crop Practice

Monoculture Intensification

Subsistence Farming

Polyculture Intercropping

Other Agriculture Practices



Pest Control


Steps of the Scientific Method

Problem: What are we testing

Research: Look at the past work of others to see if this problem has already been tested

Formulate a hypothesis: identify variables and explain the expected outcome using an if/then statement

Design the experiment: Detail the materials and procedures that will be used. Identify the control variables.

Test the hypothesis: Follow the experimental design. make observation and collect data

Organize / Summarize the data: Make charts and graphs that explain the collected data summarize all observation

Conclusions: Share what was learned by the experiment. state any potential improvements that could be made.

Rhizotron Project: Weekly Observations

  1. Define our problem ​
  2. Make a hypothesis ​
  3. Measure the total growth of roots and above ground biomass ​
  4. Sketch pictures of what you see ​
  5. Write down any observations

Next Time…

Learn about the carbon cycle

Learn about other important plant nutrients

Continue collecting our observations from rhizotron project