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Connie Niemann
Program Coordinator, Agricultural Literacy
University of Illinois Extension
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804

Macoupin County Ag Literacy

Macoupin County Ag Literacy

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Agricultural Literacy Resources & Kits

mAGic Kits

Abracadabra! Alohomora! Open the doors. . . of active discovery and watch your students explore the depths of the Agriculture industry. The lessons in the mAGic kits are multidisciplinary, all inclusive, and designed to bring math, science, social studies and Language Arts to life through agriculture. The mAGic kits address the Illinois Learning Standards and the assessment frameworks are identified. The lessons include exercises for grades 4-8 in mapping, graphing, sequencing, reading, writing, experimentation, research and much more. These kits are available on a free-loan basis. Kits may be reserved in advance. To see a detailed table of contents with student objectives, please select the kit title.

Insect mAGic

Insects have a tremendous impact the quality, quantity, and cost of crops and food products. Students will discover this through the lessons and activities in this kit. Mapping exercises allow students to follow butterflies on migration patterns. Students spend the day in the life of a variety of insects, discovering wingspan, life cycles, anatomy, economics, and social hierarchy patterns of common insects.

Dairy mAGic

This kit provides hands-on experiences for students as they become involved in exploring the processes of using milk, acids, enzymes, bacteria, heat and cold to make cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Students will solve math logic puzzles, determine how much one cow produces in it's lifetime. Students will also dive into history and explore some of our economy's top issues of supply and demand.

Plant mAGic

Lessons take root in addressing a variety of problem solving topics in plant propagation, production and processing. Students conduct experiments in discovering plants differences and learning plant ecosystems. Students will sequence Illinois plant products moving throughout the state, research the discoveries of George Washington Carver and add up the money Illinois plants funnel into our state and national economy.

Soil mAGic

Soils are alive and students will discover this by conducting experiments in soil pH, creating soil profiles, learning the soil scientific components and speaking out for soil issues. Students will unveil the history of crop rotation, dig into the Dust bowl, discover the symbols of Illinois and what makes Illinois a unique state. The kit includes math logic puzzles, word and graphing problems.

Poultry mAGic

Poultry mAGic doesn't solve the looming question of, "Which came first the chicken or the egg?" Yet, students will uncover interesting facts about poultry production in the United States. The kit includes math logic puzzles, graphing problems, mapping activities, and a variety of experiments that allow for hands on learning in an industry that they experience in their daily lives.

Machine mAGic

Students will learn about the history of farm machinery and the impact of modern farming techniques on families and communities. They'll also learn how inventors John Deere and Cyrus McCormick helped shape modern agriculture. Hands-on exercises let students identify machinery parts and estimate machinery costs. This kit has a series of lessons that will allow students to "Tinker Outside of the Box". These "Tinker" lessons utilize all four disciplines and enable your students to use common everyday products to construct a machine that possesses mobility. By utilizing all four "Tinker" lessons, students will take a project from design development, through machine construction and prototype testing, to learning about scale drawings and even applying for a patent.

Illinois mAGic

Open the doors of active discovery and watch your students explore every geographic region of Illinois and bring Illinois agriculture to life in your classroom. This kit provides hands-on experiences for students as they map their route through Illinois, all the while, stopping at locations taking them from stockyards to skyscrapers, looking into the land of the livestock and trading futures on the Chicago Board of Trade. Students will see the 7 Wonders of Illinois, watch prairie plants adapt right before their eyes and tour Illinois Indian cultures. As the prairie state unfolds in these lessons, students will experience the Lincoln Douglas debates, investigate Illinois sites, meet famous Illinoisans, stop at McDonald's for a bite of history, and discover all the great things that come from Illinois. Navigating Illinois waterways will allow the students to see just how diverse our state is, with Amish settlements and coal mines throughout the state. Yet the wealth of our state is found in its' soil. Students will measure and learn to treasure Illinois trees and discover how Illinois products are processed. This kit provides lessons that move Illinois plant products throughout the state, unveil the history of Illinois agriculture, dig into the research of Illinois inventors and add up the money Illinois agriculture funnels into our economy. Students will solve logic puzzles, dive into history and explore some of our Illinois' greatest attributes.

Farm Fun Resource Kit

Doing a farm unit? The Farm Fun kit provides lesson ideas, several videos and lots of nonfiction books, activity books and coloring sheets for students, posters, bulletin board materials, stickers, stamps, grain samples, and more. Grades PreK-5

AgriLearning Kits:

These cross-curricular thematic kits contain a collection of resources – lessons, books, videos/DVDs and more. Many lessons are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards. Ideal for grades K-4. These kits are available on a free-loan basis. Please select the kit title for a description of the kit.

AgriScience Kits:

Students learn science concepts through hands-on applied agricultural activities utilizing these self-contained teaching units. Kits come with teachers guide and materials for activities. They address the Illinois learning standards. These kits are available on a free-loan basis. Please select the kit title for a description of the kit.

Additional Resources:

The following items are available on a free-loan basis.

  • Field Trip Pack for Early Childhood Educators includes many items to assist your early childhood students as they explore nature. Hands-on equipment will encourage self-initiated learning. Suggestions for teachers on how to incorporate natural-resources activities into your lessons are also included. Suggested grades: Prekindergarten - 3. Provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Illinois Birds Trunk: Studying birds can jump-start your students' interest in nature and conservation. The Illinois Birds Trunk is a great way to enhance your lessons. This trunk is filled with field guides, books, track and egg replicas, CD-ROMs, videos, DVDs, CDs with bird songs and calls and even bird replicas that sing! Suggested grades: PreK - 8, but can be modified for other grade levels. All items are correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards and the Illinois Early Learning Standards. To see a list of items included in the trunk, please visit Provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Illinois Insects & Spiders Trunk: Insects and spiders fascinate students. Encourage them to learn more about these organisms by using the resources in this trunk. Books, CD-ROMs, student activities, field guides, posters, insect/spider observation equipment and a video are just some of the items included. Targeted Grades: PreK-6. To see a list of items included in the trunk, please visit Provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Wild about Turkey Education Box: Developed by the National Wild Turkey Federation this to teach children about the comeback of the wild turkey – one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time – and the importance of managing wildlife resources properly. The box is a scaled replica of an actual wild turkey transport box used by wildlife biologists. It is full of activities and educational tools correlated to national education standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students including a colorful bulletin board, display, a DVD of wild turkey history, communication and habitat videos, turkey caller, wild turkey anatomy replicas, a wild turkey biology and anatomy poster, a Making Tracks habitat management poster, and a multimedia CD with turkey sounds, NWTF Wildlife Bulletins, activities and much more!

For more information, please contact Agricultural Literacy Coordinator Connie Niemann by telephone at (217)854-9604 or e-mail at