Target Grade Level / Age Range:
Students will understand that people in Iowa, around the country, and around the world produce lavender.
- Access to a printer
- Projector and flat surface or white board
Vocabulary (with definitions)
- Acre: a unit of land similar in size to a football field.
- Porous: has many small holes, which allow air to pass through.
- Sachet: a small perfumed bag used to scent clothes.
- Artisans: a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
- Bud: a compact growth on a plant that develops into a leaf, flower, or shoot.
- Bath Salt: a crystalline substance that is dissolved in bath water to soften or perfume the water.
- Retail: the sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale.
- Rain Shadow: a region having little rainfall because it is sheltered from winds carrying rain by a range of hills.
- Bed and Breakfast: sleeping accommodations for a night and a morning meal, provided in guest houses and small hotels
- Labyrinth: a structure with many connected paths or passages in which it is hard to find your way- a maze.
- Solar Power: power generated directly from sunlight.
- Geothermal heat: heat from under the earth’s surface.
- Well water: water drawn (brought up) from underground
- Distill: The process of vaporizing a liquid by heat, condensing it at a cooler temperature and collecting the condensate.
- Hectares: a metric unit of square measure
- Arid: having little or no rain
- Bouquet: an attractively arranged bunch of flowers
- Wholesalers: a person or company that sells goods in large quantities at low prices, typically to stores.
- Agritourism: the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and often to participate in farm activities.
Background – Agricultural Connections
Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 39 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, lamiaceae. The most common cultivar of lavender is English lavender (lavandula angustifolia). Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. The Loess Hills of Iowa in southwest Iowa are perfect for lavender as the loess dirt on a gentle slope naturally drains water. All types of lavender need good air circulation and little or no fertilizer. In areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Lavender grows in many areas around the world, but Bulgaria in eastern Europe is the number one producer.
Lavender oil is thought to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used medicinally for centuries. Roman soldiers used lavender to dress battle wounds. In 16th century, lavender was used as protection against the Plague, and Queen Elisabeth used lavender tea to treat her frequent migraines. Lavender oil is commonly used today as a home remedy for acne, insect bites, burns and headaches. It can also be used in cooking and can be dried and used to decorate ones’ home.
The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.
Interest Approach or Motivator
This lesson is best taught after the lesson on Lavender Investigators. This first activity can help review some of the concepts learned in that lesson. Start by playing a modified game of 4 Corners. Read the questions and assign and label each corner of the classroom as one of the answer options – A, B, C, or D. Students should listen to the question and then decide what they think the correct answer is and go stand in that corner. If they are wrong, they are eliminated and have to sit down. Have the remaining students move quietly to answer all four questions.
- Where do you think lavender grows? (No students will sit down this round)
- Western Iowa
- What do you think lavender can be used for? (Students that stand in the “Fuel” corner will be eliminated)
- Which is not a type of lavender? (Students that stand in the “American” corner will need to sit down.)
- What region of the world did lavender come from originally? (All students except for those standing in the “Mediterranean” corner will be eliminated. Congratulate the students still standing, and then instruct students to take a seat.)
- Northern Japan
- Western United States
- Before class, print out the Farmer Profile sheets. Choose seven students from the class to each read one of the lavender farmer profiles aloud when their lavender farmer is displayed on the board from the PowerPoint. Provide the printed farmer profiles to each of those six students so they can become familiar with them.
- Explain to students that they will be learning about different lavender farmers from around the world. The class will explore where they grow lavender, what they use it for, and who they sell it to through a series of farmer profiles.
- Begin the PowerPoint with the opening slides. The first farmer profile is the Loess Hills Lavender Farm. Instruct the student with that Farmer Profile to read their profile, beginning with the farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary words. When they get to the location, point to the map displayed on the PowerPoint and compare it to where your school is in Iowa.
- The next slide on the PowerPoint introduces that lavender is grown around the United States and then moves on to the Plant Hardiness Map. Make sure to emphasize the final point on the Lavender: There slide- “Lavender can survive in hardiness zones from 5-9, depending on what type it is.”
- The Plant Hardiness Map shows where different kinds of plants can grow. The key on the right shows the “Average Annual Extreme Minimum Temperature.” The Fahrenheit temperatures are on the right of the key and the Celsius temperatures are on the right. This is a map put out by the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Tell the students that the colors on the map correlate to different zones on the key. Point out the at the colors grow warmer (from purple to yellow) from the Northern part of the United States to the Southern part, and that different plants survive well in some climates compared to others.
- Ask for one student (without a Farmer Profile sheet) to find Iowa on the map and ask them to identify which zones are in Iowa. (4a, 5b, and 5a). Next, ask another student to find Washington and ask them to identify which zones are in Washington. (5b, 6a, 7b, 8a, and 8b.) Ask if someone can identify New York’s location and their zones. (2b-6a) Ask another student to point to Texas on the map and ask them to identify which zones are in Texas. (6b through 10a).
- Move on to the Texas Lavender Farm- Lacey Farms. Have the student who has been given Farmer Profile #2 read their profile, beginning with the farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary. If you want, you may flip back to the Plant Hardiness Zone slide to point out where Texas is.
- Next, move on to the Washington Farm- Washington Lavender. Have the student who has been given Farmer Profile #3 read their profile, beginning with the farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary. If you want, you may flip back to the Plant Hardiness Zone slide to point out where Washington is.
- Next, move on to the New York Farm- Lavenlair Farm. Have the student who has been given Farmer Profile #4 read their profile, beginning with the farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary. If you want, you may flip back to the Plant Hardiness Zone slide to point out where New York is.
- Next, the class will look at global lavender production. Tell them that before each Farmer Profile, the class will look at a map to understand where each country is.
- Start by looking at Bulgaria. Show the class where Bulgaria is on the global map and ask if anyone (a student who has not participated yet) can find where the United States is on the map.
- Flip to the slide with Pure Bulgarian Lavender and have the student with the Bulgarian Farm (Farmer Profile #5) read their profile. You may want to choose a confident reader for this profile, as there are some more difficult words. Have the student start with the farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary. Encourage the student with the Farmer Profile to do their best with pronunciation and explain that they do not have to pronounce them perfectly.
- Next, move on to France. Show the students the global map and then go to the Les Grandes Pourraches farm slide. Again, this may be a good Farmer Profile to give to a confident reader. Have the student read their farmer profile, once again beginning with farmer, location, farm, and vocabulary.
- Finally, move onto Australia. Show Australia on the global map and point out how it is very far from the United States and even experiences seasons differently than we do in Iowa because it is on the opposite side of the Equator. Go to the farm slide and have the student with Farmer Profile #7 read their profile. Have them start with farmer, location, and farm.
- Next, facilitate a class discussion. Keep the PowerPoint up to be able to refer back to their pictures. Ask students the following questions.
- Which places grew a lot of lavender, and which places grew small amounts of lavender?
- The Bulgarian farm grows a lot of lavender, while Iowa grows a small amount of lavender.
- What were some different uses for lavender?
- Lavender oil, bouquets, sachets, food items, and cosmetic products.
- Did you notice how different places grew lavender for different purposes? Can you give me an example?
- Bulgaria grows for oil production, France grows for bouquets, Australia, Iowa, Washington, New York, and Texas grow for smaller scale products, sales, and agritourism.
- Many of the lavender farms did more than just produce lavender. Can you give me an example of some other activities that go on at these farms besides just growing, harvesting, producing, and selling lavender?
- Washington has the Mt. Vernon replica, Bulgaria produces other types of natural products, New York has the maze, Texas, New York and Australia are wedding venues.
- Why do you think they grew different amounts of lavender and for different purposes?
- Some places can grow more lavender due to their climate and soil conditions like Bulgaria. They grow enough that they can export it to other countries, whereas small producers, like the farms in the United States do a lot of smaller scale sales.
- Who did the farmers sell to?
- Potential answers: farm visitors, retailers, and other countries.
- Which places grew a lot of lavender, and which places grew small amounts of lavender?
- Finally, the students will complete the lesson by writing two paragraphs about the place that they would choose to grow lavender. They can use one of the examples from class or select a different state or country. Be sure to have them explain why they chose that place. Encourage students to choose somewhere far away, like Bulgaria and France. Encourage them to include a lavender product that they would use their lavender for.
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Farmer Profile #1 Loess Hills Lavender Farm
- Farmer Profile #2 Lacey Farms
- Farmer Profile #3 Washington Lavender
- Farmer Profile #4 Lavenlair Farm
- Farmer Profile #5 Pure Bulgarian Lavender
- Farmer Profile #6 Les Grandes Purraches
- Farmer Profile #7 Warrantina Lavender Farm
- Lavender PowerPoint
Did you know? (Ag facts)
- Around 3 lbs of lavender flowers are needed to make 15 mL of lavender oil.
- Do a FarmChat® virtual field trip with a lavender farmer.
- Take a field trip to a local lavender farm.
- Try to grow lavender in your classroom!
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
Agriculture Literacy Outcomes
- T1.3-5b: Explain how the interaction of sun, soil, water, and weather in plant and animal growth impacts agricultural production.
- T1.3-5e: Recognize the natural resources used in agricultural practices to produce food, feed, clothing, landscaping plants, and fuel (e.g., soil, water, air, plants, animals, and minerals)
- T2.3-5a: Discuss similarities and differences in food, clothing, shelter, and fuel sources among world cultures
- T3.3-5b: Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table
Iowa Core Standards
- SS. 3. 15: Analyze why and how individuals, businesses, and nations around the world specialize and trade.
- W.3.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.