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Drought Hardy Gardens 3rd - 6th | Lesson 1, Series #4  

Drought Hardy Gardens

Ancient Agriculture

Key Topics: Agriculture, Irrigation, Climate Change, Flooding, Aqueducts, Dry Farming, Drought, Mesopotamia

Grade Levels: 3-6

Click here for #4 Series Description

Science Framework

Spanish Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:  

Students will gain an understanding of their campus irrigation systems and contrast the pros and cons of different methods with a focus on creating drought hardy gardens. Additionally they will design their own watering system based on what they’ve learned

Suggested Activities & Learning Objectives by Grade:

Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:


Agriculture- The art and science of producing crops and raising livestock

Irrigation- How farmers apply water to their crops

Climate Change- The long-term change in the global temperature

Flooding- An overflow of water

Aqueducts- A man made channel for moving water to where it is needed

Dry Farming- The growing of crops without any irrigation

Drought- When there is a lack of precipitation(rain) over a long period of time.

Mesopotamia- An ancient civilization located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.



Activity Procedure:


Where did farming originate? Have humans always farmed? Actually humans have been around a lot longer than they have been farming. Before people started farming, what ways did they get their food? What are some reasons why people might have started to farm instead (they could produce more food that could be stored and stay in one place instead of moving around.)


Tour the garden’s irrigation system. Turn the water on and point out different features such as drip irrigation, emitters, sprinklers,


So you can see that in order for us to be able to farm. We use plastic tubes to irrigate (bring water) to the crops.

Think, Pair, Share: What did people used to do to bring water to their crops, before plastic was invented?

 Agriculture originated in what we used to refer to as Mesopotamia - in what is now the middle east.


Thumbs up/down: Have you heard of mesopotamia before?

​​Ancient Mesopotamians built earth walls, called levees, along the sides of the river to prevent flooding. When the land was dry, they poked holes in the levees. The water flowed through the holes and into the thirsty fields. Farms were always placed at the edge of rivers where after a big rain the rivers would flood the fields bringing water that way. (Feel free to talk more about Mesopotamia and the history of farming).

Activity: Garden Irrigation Design

For younger kids mulching, watering the garden with watering cans, or planting native plants that don’t need much water is a good alternative.

  1. Review your Garden Agreements
  2. Pass out clipboards with print out and pencil.
  3. Explain that you are looking at a garden from above as if you were a bird flying over it and looking down.
  4. Tell students they can decide what sort of irrigation would be best with the different crops. Ask them to think beforehand what things they might use sprinklers on (small plants planted close together). Have them consider where the paths are and try to design their systems so it doesn’t block the walking paths or use too much plastic.
  5. Walk around to help students with their designs.


Invite students to share their designs. What are some ways you learned to save water today?

Extension Activities:

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