Agriculture in the Classroom

Whiteside County News & Notes


  • Diane Baker: Greetings from AITC!
  • Grants for Your Classroom
  • Pumpkin and Apple Buckets
  • Ag Mags and Ag Readers
  • AITC Websites Full of Resources
  • Nourish the Future
  • Purple Plow: Save the Soil Challenge
  • Destination Pork
  • There's a Pig In My Classroom Virtual Field Trip


How are you using agriculture in the classroom? The paper we use, the food we eat and the clothes we wear all got their start on a farm. Are you incorporating agriculture into your curriculum? Whether you teach at the elementary, middle school or high school level, you can easily incorporate agriculture into your content to make real-world connections for your students. From science to literature to the social sciences and even to math and art, you can apply your content to the agriculture that we all depend on daily. Illinois Ag Mags are a free and simple way to enrich your content on a variety of topics. Guest speakers who work in agriculture are a great way to enhance the literature and documentaries that you may currently use in your classroom. There are extensive collections of free lesson plans for all ages on a wide variety of ag topics available from both Illinois Ag in the Classroom and national Ag in the Classroom. We also have grants available for special projects and to purchase ag-accurate books for your classroom. Whether you’re teaching about pumpkins in an elementary class, careers in a middle school class or technology and innovation in a high school class … check out how Ag in the Classroom can support you.

Contact Diane Baker, Whiteside County Ag Literacy Coordinator, with questions or requests –

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  • Whiteside County Agriculture in the Classroom
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  • Whiteside County Ag in the Classroom

You can also follow Illinois Ag in the Classroom on Instagram and Twitter.

Grants for Your Classroom

Illinois Ag in the Classroom provides grants to teachers to support the content taught in your classrooms. Illinois grants are due no later than October 14.

Illinois Ag in the Classroom Book Grants:

Illinois Ag in the Classroom Project Grants:

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Pumpkin Buckets and Apple Buckets

Elementary teachers – if you’re already teaching about apples or pumpkins (or you’d like to, but you just need some quick resources) – we’ve put together two different basic buckets. The Pumpkin Bucket contains copies of our Pumpkin Ag Mag for each student in your class and a resource list for the teacher with current lessons and videos available online from Illinois Ag in the Classroom and national Ag in the Classroom. The Apple Bucket is similar, but based on apples. We’ve done the searching for you to compile accurate ag resources to supplement content you’re already teaching. To schedule your bucket, contact and we’ll drop it off at your school within a few days.

Ag Mags and Ag Readers

Are you looking for accurate agriculture facts that are great resources for you and your students? Check out our Ag Mags (4-pages of photos, facts and content geared to upper elementary and beyond) and our Ag Readers (reading level geared to middle school and older). Both are available for free on the Illinois Ag in the Classroom website The electronic versions also contain some links to additional resources and the Ag Readers are available in Spanish as well as English.

If you would like free print copies of the Ag Mags, contact – let us know how many copies you would like (in packs of 30) and which school you’re at in Whiteside County. We have nearly twenty different topics available.

AITC Websites Full of Resources

Illinois AITC

Ag Mags, dozens of free lesson plans, links to great content resources … you’ll find them all at the Illinois Ag in the Classroom website. IAITC staff worked hard to develop a new site that teachers will love and are now patiently waiting for IT to work their magic and have the new site operational.

National AITC

Nationally, we also have a great website full of resources for teachers of all grade levels, too!

Nourish the Future – excellent resource for middle school and high school teachers

Nourish the Future is an education initiative designed by science teachers for middle and high school science teachers and is based in modern agriculture. They are hosting a one-day FREE workshop, FREE Saturday, October 29, in Normal, Illinois. The workshop is sponsored by Illinois Ag in the Classroom and Illinois State University. All participants will receive .7 CEUs and supplies.

Are you interested in helping to create the next generation of scientists? In mentoring students as they do real science to solve industry-relevant problems? As our population grows, so will the demand for food, renewable fuel sources, and bioproducts to support our growth. This workshop will introduce you to NGSS-focused curriculum which teaches students how to do science—solve problems, collect data, drive innovation, develop more sustainable and efficient practices, and discover connections to food, fiber, and fuel.

Participants will learn about the science of food production and sustainable fuels through engaging activities and lessons related to current science standards. Topics will include:

  • plant science
  • biotechnology
  • soil health
  • water quality
  • fermentation
  • populations

They also have excellent lesson plans and resources available on their website at no cost for teachers.

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Purple Plow: Save the Soil Challenge

Purple Plow is an initiative of the American Farm Bureau Federation and is a great resource for engaging students as you teach about the history and/or future of agriculture. This year’s Purple Plow Challenge is focused on the impact of soil erosion. This is a great opportunity for your students to work in teams to identify and solve a problem with both local and global relevance. Entries for the national contest are due December 16.

Challenge Rationale

Students can help conserve natural resources locally and protect local ecosystems by addressing current and historical problems associated with the erosion of topsoil that limits the ability to grow food. After thoughtful research to evaluate how these challenges exist globally and locally, students will design, test, and demonstrate a solution that reduces topsoil erosion for their unique location or situation to help conserve productive soil. The final product will be a model which demonstrates a measurable reduction in soil erosion.

Discover more about the challenge here: and get complete details at:

Destination Pork

This comprehensive new resource is designed for high school teachers who are teaching about pork industry jobs and career opportunities:

There's a Pig in my Classroom Virtual Field Trip

Illinois Pork Producers has teamed up with the LEAP Foundation to bring a pig farm into your classroom! These 45 min tours are intended for early elementary ages. That's right - a FREE virtual farm tour is available for your classroom this OCTOBER!

DATE: WEDNESDAY, 10/26/2022 at 10:00 AM or 1:00 PM CST

Registration includes pre and post-lesson planning materials to boost your tour experience. Packets will be mailed immediately upon registration. You may register up until the day before each tour. Find more details here: