Ag literacy lesson for large classes - K-12 Agriculture Literacy Program | Pizz-A-Thon

Ag literacy lesson for large classes

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Each Conservation Team member experiments with a plant/root observation box, discovering the soil is a living and breathing soil organism!

K-12 Large Class "creation of mock pizza business" Version

Educational Model for K-12 Ag and Science Teachers

EXAMPLE: Beginning Teachers With Large Class (provided to Ag Teacher at North Scott School, Eldridge, IA)

I look forward to assisting you in adapting the Pizz-A-Thon to your large class (example 85 junior high students). The creating of a "mock pizza" business is excellent for high school students to include "Supervised Agriculture Experience" (SAE) students who would assist you plan and carry out the program with your 7th graders. This is especially great experiential education for kids who want to be educators. 

Normally the various options of the program results in students working in teams of 5 or 6 students per team. For instance in the Cedar Rapids area, teachers with that many students create, market and bake pizzas where sponsor reps judge the competition of 14 to 19 teams and winners are awarded t shirts, medallions and ribbons. This takes lots of logistics, including ovens and help to carryout the baking competition version where 14 to 19 pizzas are prepared, tasted and judged.

Unless  you want to use the above option, I suggest you consider another option at least your first year. One option is described below:


One or more pizzas may be created, baked and judged to select a "featured company pizza."

(One option, a family night could feature the newly created pizzas at an awards program.)

Teams should have a leader , a team member responsible for communicating team decisions among other teams liaison, a note-keeper to keep a journal and specialists from the list of following careers: ___chef, ___researcher, ___scientist, ___grower, ___gardener, ___artist, ___business manager, ___photographer, ___journalist, ___sales-advertising-marketing, ___assist in planning the awards ceremony. Teams may be combined.

To keep team sizes smaller, use two company divisions each with the following teams.

The following teams develop recommendations for the company to consider, present their findings at the awards ceremony. Each team will use oral and visual communications in their presentation: (Sponsor Reps Could Judge and present awards.)

  1. Agriculture/Fresh Produce Team -  Research and report on how agriculture plays a role in the pizza business. Where feasible plan and harvest a garden of pizza ingredients.
  2. Conservation Team – Experiment and demonstrate why it is important to use conservation practices to protect our top soil and prevent water pollution. Using Plexiglas plant/root observation box compare growth in topsoil vs. sand.
  • exploring, demonstrating & discovering the importance of  conservation (comparing growth in topsoil vs. sand).
  • Plant/Root boxes. SUGGESTION: Each team member of the Conservation Team use an individual box so members can research best growing soil medium allowing them to develop a conservation plan for the company’s land for producing ingredients.
  1. Career-Jobs “Soil to Slice” Team – Through oral and visual communications trace the ingredients of the “prize pizza” from soil to slice through processing, distribution, marketing and growing and the jobs available throughout the journey of the ingredients from soil to slice.
  2. Research Team - Use surveys, Internet and interviews to determine the most popular pizza for the future. Based on names presented by all teams, arrive at the name of your “prize pizza.” Or researching the most healthy pizza or determining best fresh produce ingredients in pizza garden, or in science project, analyzing beneficial insects and pests in pizza garden.
  3. Dietary Team – Research and arrive at the recipe of the “prize pizza” and determine the nutrient and calorie estimate in a slice of the pizza. Research combination of tastes for example – someone determined that combined pineapple and ham had a desirable flavor-try taste combinations. Is there a balance of ingredients included in all the food groups?
  4. Marketing Team – How will the “prize pizza” be marketed (business name, logos, place mats, jingles, Ads, commercials, billboards? Assist in raising funds on line (25%) percent profit.
  5. Business Management Team – Price the “prize pizza” for a profit. Determine price if ingredients were purchased for one pizza as opposed to buying in volume. Determine some alternatives for using coupons and discounts.
  6. Media Team – Assist in maintaining the web site writing news stories  and taking photos to publicize team activities and accomplishments.


  • T Shirts, Medallions, ribbons  Team or individual with best logo, placemat, pizza, marketing presentation or leadership displayed by individuals in forming the “mock pizza” Company.i

Facilitator Guide

Example of Points To Award For Individual Achievements Or Best Performance

Pick and Choose: Optional for team competition or individual achievement activities.

Students could select the activities of most interest to them.

Select the activities which best suit your program goals (program is available year around):

News Reporting -team members could prepare news releases and take pictures of activities.

·   News Reporting –10 points possible

·   2 points—*arrange for media representative to lead the first session of this activity

·   2 points--take pictures and attach to email to

·   2 points—write news story on each activity and email to

·   2 points—place pictures and news stories in a team journal

·   2 points—enter highlights of each activity on the BLOG

*This activity may lead to the media’s interest in publicizing your Pizz-A-Thon.

Researching and Analyzing the many careers involved in the food and fiber industry.

Trace pizza ingredients back to the source through the journey of “a slice to the soil” (marketing, distributing, transporting, processing & growing).

·   Researching and Analyzing--10 points possible

·   2 points—make a drawing tracing one ingredient back to the soil (illustrating careers)

·   2 points—write a 25-50 word description as to how a farmer or grower is involved

·   2 points—describe the careers involved in getting the ingredient from soil to pizza

·   2 points--present your findings orally or in a drawing and journal

·   2 points—describe your work in contributing to your team’s report

Surveying to determine preferences of pizza by specific age groups.

·   Survey--10 points possible

·   2 points--write survey questions to determine popular pizza toppings, crusts, brands, etc.

·   2 points--as homework, each student interviews five people - returns results to class

·   2 points--create bar/circle graph illustrating findings (use labels and color)

·   2 points--present your findings using a visual

·   2 points--team cooperation (describe how you contributed to the team’s success)

Experimenting and Discovering the value of protecting top soil for food production.

·   Plexiglass plant/root growth--10 points possible

·   2 points--make predictions for what will happen to the seeds you planted

·   2 points--draw pictures and record measurements of seeds when they germinate

·   2 points--at the end of two weeks, describe what you observed…any surprises?

·   2 points—describe what you learned about the need for conservation practices.

·   2 points—assist in caring for planting during experiment period

Planning and/or Planting a Pizza Garden, harvesting ingredients for team pizzas.

·   Planning a garden--10 points possible

·   2 points—research and describe ingredients you will grow and planting instructions

·   1 point--make a diagram showing the garden dimensions-vegetable location in garden

·   2 points—describe fresh vegetables value for health vs. processed food on pizza

·   1 point—describe how your garden will look at the end of two weeks

·   1 point--what did you learn about planting seeds of pizza ingredients you will grow

·   3 points—describe how you will manage your garden schedule, planting & harvesting

Developing Culinary Skills in creating a recipe, calculating calorie content, and baking their pizza.

·   Culinary skills--10 points possible

·   2 points---write a 25-50 word description of ingredients on team pizza and their origin

·   2 points—describe the food groups represented on the team pizzas

·   2 points—describe in 25-50 words the nutritional content and value of a slice of pizza

·   2 points—make a drawing illustrating the ingredients and how they fit into food groups

·   2 points—describe how each team member participated in preparing of the pizza

Marketing the Team Pizza using a logo and/or place mat

·   Marketing skills--10 points possible

·   2 points--write a description of your mock pizza business, it’s name & advertising

·   2 points—describe how the team arrived at the name of their pizza

·   2 points—draw a logo and/or place mat to present to your team for their consideration

·   2 points—illustrate how much you will charge for your pizza to make a profit

·   2 points—develop a business motto to present to your team like “The Best in the West”

Presenting (5 minute marketing report). Each team member participates.

·   Presentation skills--10 points possible

·   2 points—describe your public relations & sales technique in promoting your business

·   2 points—describe your portion of the presentation

·   2 points—describe how your logo and/or placemat will be used in marketing

·   2 points—explain visual aids used in your presentation and your part in it

·   2 points—take part in your team’s 5 minute marketing presentation

Preparing for judging, introducing the team pizzas to the community and considering a project to further community assistance to needy causes. (This could be a county fair or fund raising activity.)

In addition to the learning activities described above, kids could be assistants in photography-video and photos, journalists in preparing news releases,  on the website & Ads in recruiting sponsors. Eldon would encourage photos to be taken and description of activities being photo graphed and emailed to him

Eldon Weber, Program Director, 4001 Fletcher Blvd, Ames, IA 50010,

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