Helping Teachers and Students learn about Agriculture



“The Ram brand declares 2013 the Year of the Farmer”

“School campuses going back to the garden” St. Paul Pioneer Press

These headlines illustrate the state and nationwide interest in finding the source of our food.  The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program (MAITC) is working to use this surge of excitement centered on the food, land and people that allow for our survival, as an opportunity to increase student enthusiasm, achievement and future success!

MAITC is a program based within the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with the mission of “promoting understanding and awareness of the importance of agriculture.”

Why is agriculture an important context that educators should utilize?  First of all, less than 2% of our citizens are involved in production agriculture and most people are two or three generations removed from a farm.  These statistics have led to a low-level of agricultural literacy.  Agricultural literacy can be defined as an understanding of agricultural, food and natural resource systems.  These systems involve production, processing, domestic and international marketing and consumerism.  Increasing agricultural literacy is important so individuals can make informed choices as consumers.

Secondly, teachers, parents and community members are all working together to prepare students for a successful future, including careers in agriculture. Students in all geographic areas (rural and urban) need to be exposed to the endless possibilities for their future in agriculture, food and natural resources.

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom has a variety of free educational resources to assist educators and parents in growing agricultural literacy in their community.  We look forward to featuring fun, family friendly activities in this eBites newsletter that can serve as an awesome opportunity to discuss the connection between agriculture and concepts in science, social studies, language arts and health/nutrition.  We’ll start by providing instructions for making super-simple ice-cream in a bag!

Ice Cream in a Bag


  • ½ cup milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ cup salt
  • Ice

  • 1 gallon size zip-lock bag
  • 1 sandwich size zip-lock bag
    ** Use heavy duty (freezer) bags to prevent leaks


  1. Add milk, sugar, and vanilla to the sandwich bag and seal.
  2. Fill the large zip-lock bag about ⅔ full of ice.
  3. Add approximately ⅓ cup of salt to the ice in the large bag.
  4. Place the sealed sandwich bag containing the milk, sugar and vanilla in the large bag containing ice and salt.
  5. Close the large bag and shake

Shaking vigorously for 5-10 minutes will result in a change from the liquid milk to a semi-solid ice cream that is a mixture of all ingredients and delicious to eat!

Discussion Starters:

  1. Where did the ingredients come from?  Which ingredients were produced in Minnesota?
  2. What causes cows to produce milk?  How much milk does one cow produce each day?  Each year?
  3. Why does the milk change from a liquid to a semi-solid?  (Science Connection)
  4. Why is salt added to the ice? (Science Connection)
  5. What steps did you follow to make ice cream?  What would happen if you did not follow the steps? (Language Arts Connection)
  6. Where do milk and ice cream fit in the MyPlate diagram?  What nutritional value do dairy products have? (Health/nutrition Connection)

For a complete Ice Cream in a Bag lesson plan and background information click here!

For further information about the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom program visit or contact Al Withers, Program Director at or Sue Knott, Education Specialist at

This entry was posted in Fun Activities, Minnesota Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, MN Ag in the Classroom. Bookmark the permalink.

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