Image of wheat

In this module, students will build upon their knowledge of regional agricultural trends to explore the impact that changes in technology had on everyday life, ranging from the use of simple hand tools to the introduction and use of gasoline-powered agricultural tools.

Essential Question
How have advances in technology and transportation affected the nature of farming in NY? Consider the environmental, social, and economic impacts that technological advances have had upon farming (pros and cons).

New York State Standards

Social Studies Standards

  • Standard 1: Elementary: History of the United States and New York #3 Study about the major social, political, economic, cultural, and religious developments in New York Sate and United States history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.

  • Standard 4: Elementary: Economics #1 The study of economics requires an understanding of major economic concepts and systems, the principles of economic decision making, and the interdependence of economics and economic systems throughout the world

Math, Science, Technology Standards

  • Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design: Elementary: Scientific Inquiry: #1
    The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.

  • Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design: Elementary: Engineering Design: #1
    Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization finding the best solution within given constraints which is used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.

  • Standard 4: Science: Elementary: The Living Environment: #1
    Living things are both similar to and different from each other and nonliving things.

  • Standard 4: Science: Elementary: The Living Environment: #2
    Organisms inherit genetic information in a variety of ways that result in continuity of structure and function between parents and offspring.

  • Standard 4: Science: Elementary: The Living Environment: #3
    Individual organisms and species change over time.

  • Standard 4: Science: Elementary: The Living Environment: #7
    Human decisions and activities have had a profound impact on the physical and living environment.

  • Standard 5: Technology: Elementary: Tools, Resources and Technological Processes: #2
    Technological tools, materials, and other resources should be selected on the basis of safety, cost, availability, appropriateness, and environmental impact; technological processes change energy, information, and material resources into more useful forms.

  • Standard 5: Technology: Elementary: History and Evolution of Technology: #5
    Technology has been the driving force in the evolution of society from an agricultural to an industrial to an information base.

  • Standard 5: Technology: Elementary: Impacts of Technology: #6
    Technology can have positive and negative impacts on individuals, society, and the environment and humans have the capability and responsibility to constrain or promote technological development.

Desired Outcomes/Indicators of Success

Students will:

  • use oral and written histories and other local resources to learn about their region
  • examine how advances in farming technology and transportation have effected the farm
  • develop an understanding of plant anatomy and adaptations using plants grown in and harvested from your school garden and discuss what parts of the plants have had large social, economic and cultural impacts
  • learn how to plant and maintain a garden
  • develop an understanding of the importance of plant breeding to present day agricultural production.

Student Inquiries

Students will:

  • interpret documents, combine facts and observations, and conduct interviews to define the social and economic impact of technological advances in farming.
  • examine photographs, artifacts, historical literature and newspaper archives to investigate the transition of farming methods
  • investigate how the cycle of seasons on farms was impacted by changes in technology and transportation
  • design and implement kitchen gardens that represent the farming techniques, and the types of vegetables, herbs, and flowers used in each time period
  • Discover what grows where and determine origin. (There are often big differences between nativity (crop origin) and current areas of production.)
  • Plant and maintain their school farm project.
  • Compare the efficiency of different types of garden tools.
  • Categorize the advances impacting agricultural production.
  • Learn about basic plant genetics including plant breeding and the Green Revolution.



  • Gifford, Amy. Steps to a Bountiful Kids' Garden by the National Gardening Association. South Burlington, VT: National Gardening Association, 2001.
  • Wilkes, Angela. A Farm Through Time. New York, NY: DK Publishing Inc., 2001.