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"A Love for the Land": Maine Grown - A Scavenger Hunt
Lesson 2

ALIGNMENT WITH MAINE'S LEARNING RESULTS:

Guiding Principles

1. A Clear and Effective Communicator

  • Reads, listens to and interprets messages from multiple sources

    2. A Self-Directed and Life-Long Learner

  • Finds and uses information from libraries, electronic databases, and other resources.

    3. A Responsible and Involved Citizen

  • Recognizes the power of personal participation to affect the community and demonstrates participation skills.

    4. A Collaborative and Quality Worker

  • Knows the structure and functions of the labor market.

    ECONOMICS: Economic Systems of the United States

    Elementary Grades 3-4 Explain how the economy of Maine affects families and communities.

    Middle Grades 5-8 Describe the roles and contributions of the principal contributors to the conomy.

  • Students will:
    • Be able to identify at least 10 foods that are important to Maine's economy and culture.
    • Begin to understand where their food comes from.
    • Identify change that has (or has not) occurred in Maine agriculture over time by comparing Maine foods sold today to those sold 100 years ago.
    • Learn how to find their way around a grocery store.
    Materials:
    • Scavenger Hunt Student Worksheets
    • Copies of the Food Manufacturers in Maine, ca. 1900 handout, or copy it onto a transparency
    Procedure:

    1. Watch the video A Love for the Land. Make a list as a class of the foods mentioned in the video as being important Maine foods. (Milk, blueberries, apples, seed potatoes, sweet corn). Ask students whether they've seen these being grown anywhere-whether they've ever been to pick apples or rake blueberries, etc. Do they know of other foods that are grown in Maine? Make a list on the board of the foods they know off hand. You may have some students in the classroom whose parents are farmers. Use their expertise to guide the discussion.

    2. Give students the Scavenger Hunt assignment. At their local supermarket, they will have to find at least 10 kinds of foods that are grown, manufactured, or packaged in Maine. Prepare with them by doing some thinking together about what they might look for.

    3. After students have completed their scavenger hunts, have the class share what they came up with. List all the foods together on the board, or on butcher paper (if you'd like to save the list).

    4. Give students the Food Manufacturers in Maine, ca. 1900 handout, or put it up on the overhead. What foods do they notice as being similar to what they found on their scavenger hunt? What foods or levels of food production are different?

    5. Discuss the connection between what consumers buy and the Maine economy. Ask students questions like the following:

    What foods are staples in your house? Where do they come from? Can you think of any foods that you often have in your house that you know come from Maine producers?

    How does what you buy affect the economy? Trace a dollar you spend on a bit of food (a bunch of California grapes, for example) back from your hand to its origin. It might go from your wallet to the grocers, to the distributors, to the grape vineyard, where it would go to the owners of the vineyard, as well as the workers who picked the grapes. Where does most of the money go? How does it get divided?

    In the video A Love for the Land, we learned that competition from the West in the late 1800s made it difficult for Maine farmers to make a living the way they traditionally had, using mixed husbandry. Farmers today have adapted to western competition, but it still poses a problem for some. As consumers, we are able to make choices about what we buy. What kind of an effect can you, as a consumer, have on Maine agriculture today, as well as the Maine economy?

    Extensions:
    Have students bring in labels from Maine-made foods. Make a class collage of labels. Or, create a mural together of Maine foods. Hang the mural or the collage in your classroom.

    As a class, make a catalogue of Maine foods. Have each student choose a Maine-made food, draw it, create a description of it, and include it in the catalogue. Distribute the class catalogue to parents and families in the school. Students might also write a preface detailing why it's important to buy food from local producers.

    Have students write letters to their favorite food manufacturers, asking where they get their ingredients. Count how many manufacturers buy food from Maine producers.

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