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Planting The Seeds of Knowledge

Sandra Trapp - Wishon Elementary  

Lesson Summary:
Study of Cotton in relation to United States History.

To relate the significance of cotton to the Civil War period and to study the cotton industry in general and its history relating especially to the Civil War period specifically.

"Cotton's Journey-A Field Trip In A Box" kit (includes video, teaching guide, "Clever Cotton" student booklet and samples of cotton and its products); "Story of Cotton" found on the website, National Cotton Council map of cotton growing areas; world map; United States map.

Put map of cotton area in the United States (inside teaching guide) on an easel or copy on to transparency for easy viewing; watch video; read books on cotton; set out books on cotton for the students to read; set up large post-it chart.

Some work will be done with the whole class to introduce the study; some assignments will be done individually, as journal writing for example and some in small groups at stations. This will be a study done during our history of the Civil War period. Each station will cover a different aspect of cotton: some activity pages from the kit, viewing of the video, and art activity, a research activity on the computer, and a music activity.

Introduce the cotton study with brainstorming map (see below) and by making a chart of what they know already and what they need or want to learn; show the video as an introduction (will view again at the stations); make a chart of vocabulary as we proceed; set out the station activities.

Write a paragraph about what they learned about cotton and its histrory using the information gained from the stations, video, class discullion, books, charts, journal writing, and maps. Take a fill-in the blank test (modified form the one in the kit) and use the "Story of Cotton" sample questions found on the Website

Invite a cotton farmer to talk with the class; take a field trip to a cotton farm, textile or cottonseed oil mills, and/or cotton gin.
1. Theme-Cotton in U.S. History.

2. Reading-Read "The Story of Cotton",; "Unraveling Fibers", by Patricia Keeler; "Cotton", by Millicent Selsam; "Mr. Blue Jeans", by Mary Ann Weldt.

3. Written Language-Keep a journal of responses to each area of the study. Research report on the computer on various aspects of cotton. Report could be in different forms: paragraph, news report, diagram, question/answer.

4. Oral Language-Present research report to the class.

5. Geography-Map of U.S. showing cotton growing areas. Identify the states. Identify the countries on a world map where cotton is grown.

6. Art-Draw a cotton branch. Draw a diagram of the cotton process from beginning to end. Make a picture using cotton for part of the picture. Draw a picture of something(s) made from cotton or a collage.

7. Science-Use "Cotton's Journey-A Field Trip In A Box" kit.
Social Studies/History: Tie in cotton study with significance and importance of cotton during the Civil War.

8. Music-Sing "Pick a Bale of Cotton" song. Some may make up a rap about cotton if they're so gifted.

American Pima cotton is a different type (species) of cotton than most cotton consumed worldwide. It is a premium cotton fiber that accounts for approximately 3% of all the cotton grown in the United States.

Better than 90% of all U.S. Pima cotton is grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Pima is a longer and stronger fiber which is spun into higher count yarns for better quality apparel, towels and sheets.

To learn more about the Pima crop, markets and promotional activities go to the Supima Association web site,

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