Target Grade Level/ Age Range: 

K -12th Grade


30 minutes - 2+ class periods (depending on depth)


Students will learn why precision agriculture is beneficial to the environment and the producers, Students will understand the opportunities and jobs that agriculture and technology create in an ever-changing world. 


Suggested Companion Resources (Books and Websites):


  • Agronomist: someone who is an expert in the science of soil management and crop production
  • Buffer Strip: areas near waterways in fields that slow water that runs off and helps hold soil in place to prevent erosion of topsoil
  • Filter Strip: areas of vegetation that remove sediments, organic matter, and other pollutants from runoff and waste water
  • Chemical Fertilizer: substance applied to soil or plants that provides nutrients optimal for their growth and development
  • Macronutrient/Essential Nutrient: nutrients essential for plant growth
  • Precision Ag: the use of information technology to make growing crops and raising livestock more accurate and controlled

Background - Agriculture Connections: 

Interest Approach or Motivator: 

  • Monarch Launch Video
  • Watch this video with your students to introduce them to the next step in precision agriculture, electric autonomous tractors. 


  1. Explore more about the Monarch Tractor
  2. Use the Precision Farming Scenarios to have students create a farm layout and plan how they are going to accomplish the tasks of scouting, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, either individually, pairs, small groups, or as a whole class
  3. Have students share their plans they created while also explaining their problem solving, difficulties, and reasoning behind their plan
  4. Discuss ways to improve the precision through more effective routes and planning
  5. Reflection Questions:
    1. Are there ways to simplify the directions using repeats, loops, etc.?
    2. What happens if we use a different farm layout?
  6. Have students try a different farm layout to see the effect on the precision farming coding
  7. Look at the accuracy and effectiveness of the precision farming plan
  8. Have students trade layouts to see if they can create a more effective plan
  9. When the students are given a new farm layout, can they still develop an accurate and effective plan?
  10. What other technologies could be used by farmers in livestock and crops?

Essential Files: 

Did You Know? (Ag Facts)

  • Precision Agriculture reduces the amount of fertilizer and water used because it is more efficiently and accurately applied
  • GPS systems drive tractors in the field which allows farmers to focus on other functions and appliances in the tractor
  • Drones allow farmers to see problems that are occurring in the middle of fields, such as weeds or pests
  • Technology in agriculture has advanced from breeding plants to artificial intelligence 

Extension Activities: 

  • How would other farming practices, events play a role in precision farming?
  • Create your own farming layout on a computer coding platform.
  • Enter your programming into a robot that can move through a similar field layout.
  • Use to apply planning and programming in a computer simulation
    1. (1st) Course B- Lesson 5 (Harvester) & 6 (Harvester)
    2. (2nd) Course C- Lesson 11 (Harvester)
    3. (3rd) Course D- Lesson 13 (Farmer) & 15 (Harvester)
    4. (4th) Course E- Lesson 4 (Farmer) & 16 (Harvester)
  • How would the programming be different if we were using a drone or other technology in precision agriculture?


  • Upper Iowa University – Environmental Issues Instruction (EII)
  • EPA


  • Jeff Monteith

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes: 

  • T4.K-2.a. Explain what tools and materials farmers/ranchers use to reduce heating and cooling in plant and livestock structures
  • T4.3-5.b. Describe how technology helps farmers/ranchers increase their outputs (crop and livestock yields) with fewer inputs (less water, fertilizer, and land) while using the same amount of space
  • T4.6-8.i. Provide examples of science and technology used in agricultural systems (e.g., GPS, artificial insemination, biotechnology, soil testing, ethanol production, etc.); explain how they meet our basic needs; and detail their social, economic, and environmental impact
  • T4.9-12.e. Identify current and emerging scientific discoveries and technologies and their possible use in agriculture (e.g., biotechnology, bio-chemical, mechanical, etc.)

Science Standards:

  • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
  • K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment. 
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.  
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. 
  • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity
  • HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.