Rice Harvesting

Overview

The lesson, Rice Harvesting: The Economic Importance of Rice Throughout the World, looks at rice cultivation and the economic importance of rice throughout the world. In this lesson, students will pay special attention to Asia, where the livelihood of the masses depends on rice consumption and production. The lesson will also bring the theme “home” with a look at rice’s economic importance in North and South Carolina.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

Gain a better understanding of the importance of rice cultivation around the world

Gain an appreciation for cultural nuances inherent in the way rice is prepared and valued

Learn to analyze charts and graphs to make global comparisons

Learn to analyze photos to learn the traditions of global cultures

Learn to analyze auditory material to learn the traditions of different cultures

Teacher Planning

Time: 3-6 hours

Materials Needed:

Computer with projector and internet access

A globe (optional)

Graph of Rice Production

Rice Production Throughout the World

Powerpoint: Rice Farming and Rural Life in Vietnam

Background Information to Activities:

Rice, consumed in diverse ways worldwide, is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population.  In particular, rice is crucial to the peoples of tropical Latin America, and parts of Africa, and the entire Asian continent.   Following only corn, rice has the second highest worldwide production rate of any grain.  Rice also provides more than one fifth of the worldwide caloric intake, making it the most important grain with respect to human nutrition.

At least 114 countries grow rice and more than 50 have an annual production of 100,000 tons or more. Asian farmers produce about 90% of the global total, with two countries, China and India, growing more than half. Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam come next, accounting for 8.4%, 6.9% and 5.4%, respectively. Today, there are about 645 million tons of paddy produced annually over roughly 1.5 million sq km. Ninety per cent of it is grown in Asia over about 1.3 million sq km. The top exporters of rice are Thailand, Vietnam, India, the USA, and Pakistan in order of volume.

Rice is normally grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial. The plant itself can grow to 1–1.8 m tall, sometimes even higher depending on the variety and soil fertility.

Rice cultivation, the production of rice grain, is best-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is very labor-intensive to cultivate and requires plenty of water for cultivation.  Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its parent species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide.  The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. While with rice growing and cultivation the flooding is not mandatory, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.

Activity I.

Prep students about the lesson activity. Do they know what rice production is? Do they know how to read charts and graphs?

Project the Rice Production Graph or distribute printed copies for students to share.

Have students analyze the graph to discover which countries and world regions have the highest levels of rice production.

Brainstorm why rice production is more prevalent in some regions than others.

Discuss the potential economic and cultural implications that rice has in high-producing nations.

Activity II.

Show the powerpoint  Rice Production Throughout the World Go through the slides of the presentation to take students around the world to discover the wide-spread importance of rice cropping.  Make sure that you use the notes provided to give information about each region presented.

Have students analyze the photos as you go through the presentation. Ask students the following questions:

What is the landscape of this country like?

How do the people pictured interact in rice cultivation (if applicable)?

If you have time, have students use GoogleEarth, a globe, or a world map to identify each country mentioned.

Finish by presenting and discussing the LearnNC slideshow, Rice Farming and Rural Life in Vietnam. Again, incorporate as much discussion as possible.

If time permits, reflect on the different photos presented to draw comparisons and contrasts:

What similarities do you notice among all of the rice harvesting pictures?

What did you see in the photos that surprised you?

Did you change your mind about how you view other cultures or people?

Why do you think that some traditional harvesting methods still exist today, when technology allows for mechanized production?

Assessment

Assess student responses and adjust questioning and activities as needed. Students can be graded on completeness of work and participation during discussion. You may also gauge students’ level of thinking and understanding through the photographs and multimedia presented in the various activities. In addition, you can assess students based on their ability to completely and thoughtfully answer questions on the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Links

General Information on Rice:

Educational website on rice and its various uses across the globe.

Incredibly informative website on rice’s cultivation and cultural significance around the world.

Rice Growers’ Association of Australia: offers educational tools on rice.

A particularly interesting resource, especially in terms of cultural traditions.  This site focuses mostly on rice in Asia.

A site entirely dedicated to the rice traditions of Southeast Asia.

A great resource for exploring the many varieties of rice.

Interesting information on the origins of rice.

Gives an overview on the origins of rice, rice varieties, and rice cultivation.

Multimedia:

Database of rice songs

Mochi rice making in Japan

Sticky Rice Dumplings

Greek Wedding Rice tradition

The World’s Largest Paella

LearnNC: Vietnamese water puppet show

Wikipedia’s List of Rice Dishes

Rice Production Chart

CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

Social Studies

Grade 6

Goal 1: The learner will use the five themes of geography and geographic tools to answer geographic questions and analyze geographic concepts.

Objective 1.01: Create maps, charts, graphs, databases, and models as tools to illustrate information about different people, places and regions in South America and Europe.

Objective 1.02: Generate, interpret, and manipulate information from tools such as maps, globes,charts, graphs, databases, and models to pose and answer questions about space and place, environment and society, and spatial dynamics and connections.

Objective 1.03: Use tools such as maps, globes, graphs, charts, databases, models, and artifacts to compare data on different countries of South America and Europe and to identify patterns as well as similarities and differences among them.

Goal 2: The learner will assess the relationship between physical environment and cultural characteristics of selected societies and regions of South America and Europe.

Objective 2.01 Identify key physical characteristics such as landforms, water forms, and climate, and evaluate their influence on the development of cultures in selected South American and European regions.

Objective 2.02 Describe factors that influence changes in distribution patterns of population, resources, and climate in selected regions of South America and Europe and evaluate their impact on the environment.

Objective 2.03 Examine factors such as climate change, location of resources, and environmental challenges that influence human migration and assess their significance in the development of selected cultures in South America and Europe.

Goal 12: The learner will assess the influence of major religions, ethical beliefs, and values on cultures in South America and Europe.

Objective 12.01 Examine the major belief systems in selected regions of South America and Europe, and analyze their impact on cultural values, practices, and institutions.

Objective 12.02 Describe the relationship between cultural values of selected societies of South America and Europe and their art, architecture, music and literature, and assess their significance in contemporary culture.

Objective 12.03 Identify examples of cultural borrowing, such as language, traditions, and technology, and evaluate their importance in the development of selected societies in South America and Europe.

Goal 13: The learner will describe the historic, economic, and cultural connections among North Carolina, the United States, South America, and Europe.

Objective 13.02 Describe the diverse cultural connections that have influenced the development of language, art, music, and belief systems in North Carolina and the United States and assess their role in creating a changing cultural mosaic.

Grade 7

Goal 1: The learner will use the five themes of geography and geographic tools to answer geographic questions and analyze geographic concepts.

Objective 1.01: Create maps, charts, graphs, databases, and models as tools to illustrate information about different people, places and regions in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Objective 1.02: Generate, interpret, and manipulate information from tools such as maps, globes, charts, graphs, databases, and models to pose and answer questions about space and place, environment and society, and spatial dynamics and connections.

Objective 1.03: Use tools such as maps, globes, graphs, charts, databases, models, and artifacts to compare data on different countries of Africa, Asia, and Australia and to identify patterns as well as similarities and differences.

Goal 2: The learner will assess the relationship between physical environment and cultural characteristics of selected societies and regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Objective 2.01: Identify key physical characteristics such as landforms, water forms, and climate and evaluate their influence on the development of cultures in selected African, Asian and Australian regions.

Objective 2.02: Describe factors that influence changes in distribution patterns of population, resources, and climate in selected regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia and evaluate their impact on the environment.

Objective 2.03: Examine factors such as climate change, location of resources, and environmental challenges that influence human migration and assess their significance in the development of selected cultures in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Goal 12: The learner will assess the influence of major religions, ethical beliefs, and values on cultures in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Objective 12.02: Describe the relationship between and cultural values of selected societies of Africa, Asia, and Australia and their art, architecture, music, and literature, and assess their significance in contemporary culture.

Objective 12.03: Identify examples of cultural borrowing, such as language, traditions, and technology, and evaluate their importance in the development of selected societies in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Goal 13: The learner will describe the historic, economic, and cultural connections among North Carolina, the United States, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Objective 13.02: Describe the diverse cultural connections that have influenced the development of language, art, music, and belief systems in North Carolina and the United States and analyze their role in creating a changing cultural mosaic.

About the Author:

Amy Stelling majored in international studies at UNC Chapel Hill and graduated in 2009. Amy created this lesson plan as part of an assignment in “Intercultural Education in K-12 Classrooms,” a service-learning course taught by Tara Muller through the International and Area Studies Curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill.


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