Target Grade Level / Age Range:

               Grades 3-5

Estimated Time:

               35 minutes


To introduce or review with students where their food comes from and how farmers are involved with food production.


  • Virtual escape room
  • Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming, by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by, Renee Kurilla
  • iPads, laptops, or another device to access the virtual escape room

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)


  • Holstein – a breed of cow that originated in Europe and more specifically in the Netherlands. This breed of cow is black and white and is often the iconic dairy that is used for most imagery
  • Jersey – An English breed of dairy cattle known for their good milk quality, they are a solid light brown color with darker markings near the eyes and ears
  • Beef: the meat that comes from a cow.
  • Orchard: a farmed piece of land that focuses on fruit tree or bush production.

Background – Agricultural Connections

Iowa is well-known for farming and agriculture. Everything we eat and nearly everything we use is made from something that came from a farm. Plants and animals raised on farms are use for food, fuel, and fiber. Iowa is known for corn, but Iowa is also number 1 in egg production. Depending on where you live in Iowa, there are different commodities grown and raised. However, overall, Iowa raises many crops such as corn, soybeans, beef, dairy, chicken, turkey, eggs, goats, and other specialty crops such as apples and pumpkins. These crops provide Iowa with a key role in agriculture.

Through this activity students explore where their food comes from by solving puzzles and using their prior knowledge. Virtual escape rooms are modeled after the breakout boxes that have been used in education over the past 5 years. They align with a topic, theme, story, and/or skill that is being learned in the classroom and gamify the process of learning through puzzle solving. With the recent push towards online learning and blended learning the move to virtual escape rooms has occurred. Virtual escape rooms utilize free programs such as Google Slides, Docs, and/or Forms to provide an open platform for all. The rooms can be created in a linear solving pattern or an open solving pattern. The linear solving pattern uses Google Forms only, where the open solving pattern uses a mixture of online tools. Through these programs a room is created with hidden items and puzzles for students to find and solve. Using a Google Form, students write in their answers to puzzles to unlock a surprise. When using the Google Form if they type in the incorrect answer a red text and clue will show up, if it is the correct answer, nothing will show. This specific escape room was created using the open solving pattern.

  • To learn more about this Escape room including how to solve it, how to move through it, and how to enter puzzle answers watch this video

For more information on open virtual escape rooms watch these YouTube videos:

For more information on linear virtual escape rooms watch these YouTube videos:

Are you looking for materials to use in your virtual escape room, use these links:

Interest Approach – Engagement

  • Read this scenario to students:
    1. Alex is excited to come home today because their grandparent told them they had a surprise in the kitchen from a farmer. But, when Alex entered the kitchen, they couldn’t see the surprise. Suddenly, the radio starts to play, and Alex hears Evil Hench say, “I’ve hidden your surprise. If you can solve all my puzzles and riddles, then I’ll give it back.” Help Alex solve the puzzles in 30 minutes and get their surprise.


  1. For this activity students can work alone, in pairs, groups, or as a whole class.
  2. Provide students the Virtual Escape Room on their device.
  3. If students have not completed a virtual escape room before walk students through the process by showing them how they can move through the room and certain parts of the room are clickable.
  4. Discuss with students places they may want to click on.
  5. Let students know that they will type all their answers into the Google Form which can be found by clicking on the books on the table, or the large rectangle with the story prompt.
    • If students have not used Google Forms before this might be a good time to pull up the form and show students how to use it.
  6. Tell students that if their answer is not correct the form will show them red text.
  7. Provide students 30 minutes to complete the breakout room. If students are stumped on a puzzle provide them a hint or clue. This may also be a time to bring the class back together to solve a puzzle together.
  8. After they have escaped, lead a class discussion over the different puzzles.
    • Questions to ask students: How did you solve the shapes lock? What type of weather do farmers need? How do farmers grow colors? What was in distraction snack cupboard? What did you learn from the snack cupboard? Why do you think the items on the directional lock clue were there? How do those items relate to Iowa?
  9. Ask students where agriculture can be found in their everyday life. Use the coloring sheet prize from the escape room to help lead this discussion.
  10. Then read the book, Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming, by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by, Renee Kurilla.
  11. Ask students how the book relates to the escape room.

Did you know? (Ag facts)

  • Iowa is the number 1 pork producer in the United States.
  • Iowa is the number 1 egg producer in the United States. 
  • Many small Iowa farmers extend their growing seasons by planting in green houses. 

Extension Activities

  • Set up a FarmChat with IALF or your local AITC coordinator so students can virtually visit a farm.
  • If students didn’t spend time in the distraction snack cupboard pull that up and watch the different videos when the foods are mentioned in the book, Right This Very Minute.

Suggested Companion Resources




               Cathryn Carney

Organization Affiliation

               Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • T3.3-5.b. Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table
  • T5.3-5.d. Explain the value of agriculture and how it is important in daily life
  • T5.3-5.e. Provide examples of agricultural products available, but not produced in their local area and state

Iowa Core Standards

  • English Language Arts
    • 3rd Grade
      • Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur). (RI.3.7) (DOK 2,3) 
    • 4th Grade
      • Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears. (RI.4.7) (DOK 2,3)
    • 5th Grade
      • Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (RI.5.7) (DOK 1,2,3)