Target Grade Level / Age Range:

Grades 6-8


40 to 50 minutes to set up lesson and teach skills


Using an interest based approach, students will create an augmented reality video to educate consumers about where their food comes from.


  • Smart phone, iPad, or other tablet
  • Augmented reality app (i.e. Aurasma)
  • Gallon of milk
  • Picture of a Holstein cow
  • Carton of eggs
  • Picture of a chicken
  • Bag of spaghetti pasta
  • Loaf of bread
  • Grains of wheat and/or stalk of wheat (available at some craft stores)
  • Block of cheddar cheese
  • Can of chicken noodle soup
  • Bottle of tomato juice
  • Fresh tomato
  • Bottle of syrup
  • Kernels of corn and/or a dried ear of dent corn

Suggested Companion Resources

  • Harvest Year by Chris Peterson
  • Century Farm by Chris Peterson


  • Holstein: breed of cattle with black and white color variations that are raised for production of dairy
  • Pasteurize: the heating of a liquid to a high temperature and then swiftly cooling it to reduce the number of micro-organisms in foods like milk before bottling
  • Broiler: breeds of chickens raised specifically for meat production
  • Layer: breeds of chickens raised specifically for egg production
  • Mill: a machine that can grind solids like grains into smaller pieces
  • Lactose: a naturally occurring sugar found in milk
  • Curds: a dairy product when milk coagulates with the addition of rennet or acid
  • Whey: the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained
  • Sulfur dioxide: a chemical compound of one sulfur atom and two oxygen atoms
  • Hydrochloric acid: a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses
  • Starch: complex sugar molecule found naturally in many foods
  • Augmented reality: A live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data
  • Aura: A term for the augmented reality experience
  • Trigger image: still pictures a user has to scan with their phone to unlock the augmented reality content associated with them.
  • Overlay: the content you link to the trigger image – usually a video

Interest Approach or Motivator

Your local grocery store conducted a survey of their customers and found that customers want to know where their food comes from.  The store has hired your team to create an augmented reality video that will be triggered by an image at the grocery store and tell the story of where that food product came from.

Background – Agricultural Connections

Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.  Augmented reality overlays virtual information atop a real-world object.  This process is similar to the way a mobile device scans a QR code and links to a website.

Most Americans are three generations removed from the farm and don’t always understand how their food is produced.  They think that milk comes from the grocery store, and rarely consider the cow that produced it or the transportation or processing that it went through before it found its way to that store. 

Here are some basic products that students may be familiar with but might not know where they come from.

Milk: Most milk in the U.S. comes from Holstein cows (the black and white ones). Dairy cows are milked up to three times each day and can produce as much as 9 gallons of milk a day.  The milk is transported to a creamery where it is pasteurized to kill any bacteria.  It is checked for quality and then chilled and packaged.

Eggs:  Female chickens or hens can produce one egg about every 24 hours.  The eggs are collected, washed and checked for quality in a process called candling before being packaged.

Spaghetti pasta:  A special type of wheat called durum wheat is used to make pasta.  The wheat is milled or ground down to flour.  The flour is mixed with water and egg and then put through a pasta press that will make the correct shape and size of pasta.  The pasta is left to dry and then packaged.

Bread:  A type of wheat called hard red spring wheat is used to make bread.  The wheat is milled or ground down to flour.  The flour is mixed with water, milk, oil, and yeast.  The bread is kneaded and rested multiple times allowing the yeast to create tiny air bubbles and allowing the dough to become somewhat elastic.  The bread is then baked, sliced and then packaged.

Cheddar cheese: The milk from dairy cows is transported to a creamery and bacteria is added to it.  The bacteria feed on the lactose turning it to lactic acid.  Rennet is added and the milk splits into curds (solids) and whey (liquid).  The curds are removed and pressed get rid of excess whey.  The blocks of pressed curds are cut to size and shape and then packaged.

Chicken noodle soup (chicken):  Broilers can be harvested at 7-8 weeks old.  Once the bird is dead, the feathers are plucked and the skin removed.  The meat is cut away from the bone.  The meat can then be cooked, cut into small pieces, and added to other products like soup.

Tomato juice:  Tomatoes are harvested by machine and transported to a plant by truck.  The tomatoes are washed and then crushed to release the juice.  Seeds and skin are strained out.  The juice is pasteurized and then bottled.

Syrup:  Many syrups (like pancake syrup) are corn syrup with flavoring added in the process.  Yellow #2 dent corn kernels are dried, shelled and cleaned.  Kernels are added to warm water with sulfur dioxide.  The kernels are passed through a mill and then into a separator to remove the corn starch.  The corn starch is mixed with a small about of hydrochloric acid and water to convert the starch into sugar.  The syrup could be used at this point or have flavors or coloring added to it.


  1. Provide the core concepts and set context of the why of the assignment using the background information.
  2. Talk about the different store products and have examples of each to show students. Review different food items and the agriculture behind them.
  3. Teach basic use of app (have app preloaded on classroom iPads or allow students to use their own devices)
  4. Break class into teams of two.  Have each team select a grocery store product.  Ask each team to come up with a brief explanation/example of their grocery store item and the process needed to grow and turn the raw agriculture product into the final product and that helped put it on the store shelf.
  5. One partner will shoot a short video of the other partner explaining the grocery store item.  Videos should not be more than 1 to 2 minutes long.  Take a picture of the item or use a picture of the item.  (if the picture is a close up of the product name or logo the aura will work scanning the picture or the physical object)
  6. Select the video they took from their camera roll to be applied as the overlay. 
  7. When each partnership is finished, tape the picture of their item on the walls around the room or display the physical objects around the room indicating what the trigger image is.
  8. Allow students to take a walking tour of the room and using an iPad or smart phone hover the device above the picture.  The student created video overlay will automatically begin playing and students will learn about the different products.

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

Did you know? (Ag facts)

  • Dairy cows are milked up to three times each day and can produce as much as 9 gallons of milk a day.
  • Female chickens or hens can produce about one egg every 24 hours. 
  • A special type of wheat called durum wheat is used to make pasta. 
  • A type of wheat called hard red spring wheat is used to make bread. 
  • Broilers can be harvested at 7-8 weeks old. 
  • Most Americans are three generations removed from the farm.
  • Sales of natural, organic food and beverages have increased 20% from 2009 to 2012.
  • More than half (56%) of the food and beverage product categories in the U.S. showed decreases in the average number of ingredients per product in the same period.
  • Half of consumers get more cooking ideas online than anywhere else. 
  • Two-thirds of consumers spend more than 10 hours a week online and 63% of consumers surf the Internet on their smartphones.
  • Only 34 percent of Americans feel the agriculture industry is transparent and only 30 percent feel food companies are transparent about food production practices.

Extension Activities

  • Once you teach the process students can use it to create other augmented videos for future lessons independently.  Keep a board posted in the room to display the trigger images.
  • Use image software to have students edit the trigger images to make them more professional looking.
  • Use screen flow software and allow students to edit their videos, splice different pieces together and make a more professional looking video.  This would likely take more time and would be suggested as a homework assignment. 
  • Have students present their video to the class and have the class go through the learning activity at the grocery store or in class using their smartphones to read the trigger images and access the subsequent augmented reality.
  • Set up a class channel on Aurasma to keep Auras organized and saved.
  • In addition to describing the steps in producing the selected product, ask students to address one or more of the topics below in their augmented reality presentations.
    • How is technology used in to grow and turn the raw agriculture product into the final product? How has this technology changed over time? Is the technology used the same in all parts of the world?
    • How is the price for your product determined? How is the price effected by supply & demand for the product, costs on the farm, wages, etc.?
    • Is your product produced in Iowa?
    • What countries import the product from the U.S.? 


Will Fett

Organization Affiliation

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • Theme 2: Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy Outcomes
    • Identify strategies for housing for animal welfare and the safety of animal products (e.g., meat, milk, eggs)
    • Identify inspection processes associated with food safety regulations
  • Theme 3: Food, Health, and Lifestyle Outcomes
    • Identify sources of agricultural products that provide food, fuel, clothing, shelter, medical, and other non-food products for their community, state, and/or nation
    • Evaluate food labels to determine food sources that meet nutritional needs
    • Evaluate serving size related to nutritional needs
    • Explain the benefits and disadvantages of food processing
    • Explain food labeling terminology related to marketing and how it affects consumer choices (e.g., natural, free-range, certified organic, conventional, cage-free, zero trans-fat, sugar-free, reduced calorie)
    • Describe the nutritional value that can be added by processing foods
    • Identify how various foods can contribute to a healthy diet
  • Theme 5: Culture, Society, Economy & Geography Outcomes
    • Identify agricultural products that are exported and imported
    • Identify farm ownership in relation to processor ownership (e.g., cooperatives, corporations, vertical integration)

Iowa Core Standards

  • English Language Arts:
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the linke of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communication tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each sources, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • 21 st Century Skills:
    • 21.6-8.ES1. Communicate and work productively with others, considering different perspectives, and cultural views to increase the quality of work.
    • 21.6-8.ES4. Demonstrate initiative, self-direction, creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking while exploring individual talents and skills necessary to be successful.
    • 21.6-8.TL.1. Demonstrate creative thinking in the design and development of innovative technology products and problem solving.
    • 21.6-8.TL.2. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using interactive technology.
    • 21.6-8.TL.3. Plan strategies utilizing digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
    • 21.6-8.TL.4. Use critical thinking skills to conduct research, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate technological tools and resources.
  • Social Studies:
    • SS.6.18. Explain how changes in transportation, communication, and technology influence the movement of people, goods, and ideas in various countries.
    • SS.7.19. Explain how external benefits, costs, supply and demand, and competition influence market prices, wages, and outcomes.
    • SS.7.27. Analyze the role that Iowa plays in contemporary global issues.





Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.