Lesson Plans and Activities for Educators

Extending knowledge translation and mobilization, resources are available to educators that are themed around OAC strengths in food, agriculture, environment, and communities. These resources and activities target a number of high school courses including biology, chemistry, environmental science, earth science, business, economics, world issues, geography, food and nutrition, and green industries.

Have you used one of our lesson plans? Please provide feedback here, so we can make improvements and add more resources.

Learn more about career pathways in food, agriculture, environment and communities in OAC's ongoing webinar series. Click here to view past OAC Liaison Program webinars.

Have questions? Contact Christine Wilkinson, Liaison Manager: oacliasn@uoguelph.ca

Download OAC Lesson Plans for Educators

Free downloadable PDF lesson plans developed by OAC faculty and staff. OAC faculty have adapted teaching resources to meet Ontario high school curriculum objectives.

Animal Housing- Think Inside the Box

This activity will allow students to use their understanding of the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems of various species in hands on learning. Students will be able to apply their knowledge of these biological systems by creating a theoretical model of an animal facility that suits characteristics of each species. This activity supports critical thinking and puts theoretical learning into a practical scenario. 

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SBI3C, SBI4U

Download the Animal Housing- Think Inside the Box Lesson Plan (PDF)

Cow Digestion

This activity will allow students to use their understanding of the digestive systems and increase their knowledge of digestive function of ruminant species. Students will be able to test their knowledge of these biological systems and basic chemistry in this exciting lesson plan. 

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SBI3C, SBI4U, SCH4U, SCH4C, SVN3M

Download the Cow Digestion Lesson Plan (PDF)

The Buzz on Bees

This activity will allow students to use their understanding of the honey bee and expand their knowledge on the social structure and anatomy of a bee. Students will be able to test their knowledge of these important insects through this interactive lesson plan. 

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3C, SBI3U

Download the Buzz on Bees Lesson Plan (PDF)

Climate Change: It's not all Doom and Gloom

This lesson plan will introduce students to concepts pertaining to climate change, and allow them to explore the different affects climate change has on the earth and our society. Students will discover the differences between weather and climate, and learn about carbon and its role in climate change.

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SNC2D, SBI3U, SBI4U, SVN3M

Download the Climate Change Lesson Plan (PDF)

Why are Bees Struggling?  How can we help?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 3

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about the important role bees play in pollination and providing food.  Students will expand their knowledge of established bee species in Canada and the ways in which society can participate in safeguarding the health of overlooked wild bees.  Students will work together to better understand the function and importance of bees and other pollinators, and methods of providing bee biodiversity.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SBI3C

Download the Bees, Pollination and Food Lesson Plan (PDF)

Why is it so Hot in the City?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 10 

In this lesson, students will explore urban climatology and learn about the various factors that make cities feel hotter.  Students will talk about solutions that can help to cool down cities, while participating in engaging discussions that reveal the challenges and opportunities in implementing these solutions.  Students are able to actively participate in sharing facts and opinions about urban climatology & how it correlates with climate change.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: CDG3M, CGU4M 

Download the Why is it so Hot in the City? Lesson Plan (PDF)

Soil: An Essential Resource 

Soil connects us.  For plants, insects, fungi, and bacteria, soil provides the resources necessary for sustaining life, shelter, food and water.  Similarly, for us humans, soil provides essential goods and services such as the food we eat and is the first step in filtering municipal drinking water.  This lesson demonstrates different soil management strategies used on farms and the direct impacts they can have on the environment.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3C, SCH3U, SVN3M, SBI4U

Download the Soil: An Essential Resource Lesson Plan (PDF)

Food Sensory Perception

This activity gives students the opportunity to learn how their five senses influence their experience with food. Students will increase their knowledge of how their olfactory and gustatory systems work together. Students are able to apply their creativity and their enhanced knowledge of sensory perception in a culminating sensory perception test.

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SNC1D, SNC1P, SNC2D, SNC2P, SBI3C, SBI3U

Download the Food Sensory Perception Lesson Plan (PDF)

How Can Food Treat Cancer?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 1

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about the human cell formation process and understand the link to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  Students will expand their knowledge of the role nutraceuticals and functional foods play in preventing and treating diseases.  Students can work tegether while applying individual creativity to better understand the human body and investigate the pathways of health improvement through diet.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SNC2P, SNC2D, SBI3U, SBI4U, HFA4U

Download the Using Food To Treat Cancer Lesson Plan (PDF) 

What's On Your Plate

This activity will allow students to explore the various aspects of food production to gain a better understanding of where their food comes from. Organic food, genetically modified food and food science will be investigated through group discussions and interactive activities! 

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SNC1D, SNC1PSNC1D, SNC1P, SNC2D, SNC2D,  SNC2PSNC2P, SBI3C, SBI3U, SBI3C, SBI3U, SCH4U, SCH4C

Download the What's On Your Plate Lesson Plan (PDF)

Understanding Active Transport

This activity introduces the concept of Active Transportation, a popular topic in community planning across North American communities. Students will learn about the principles of active transportation through activities, videos, discussions and readings. Several activities are designed for hands-on learning.

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: CGF3M, CGR4M, CGG3O

Download the Understanding Active Transport Lesson Plan (PDF)

How does Plant-Based "Meat" change the Menu?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 5

This lesson plan presents a fun and engaging opportunity for students to learn about meat simulation products and their nutritional implications.  They learn about the factors that processors, reserachers, and other industry stakeholders consider in creating plant-based meat alternatives.  Students are encouraged to think critically about nutritional goals of food and will creatively compare meat vs. plant-based sources of protein.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SCH3U, SNC4M, HFN1O/2O

Download the Exploring Plant-Based Meat Lesson Plan (PDF)

How Can Dairy Genomics Fight Climate Change?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 9 

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about how increased feed efficiency in the dairy industry can facilitate reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  Students will explore contemporary research while learning about the economic and environmental implications of selecting and breeding dairy cattle for new traits.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SBI3C

Download the Dairy Genomics and Climate Change Lesson Plan (PDF)

How do Labels and Price affect our Grocery Decisions?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 14

In this lesson plan, students will learn about grocery shopping and how price, nutritional content, convenience and what we value combine to affect out food purchases.  Students will explore research which explores how effective nutrition warning labels are influencing consumer behaviour.  This podcast also introduces students to a pay-what-you-can pricing scheme and some of the socioeconomic underpinnings of our food choices.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: HFN1O/2O, HIF1O/2O

Download the Labels, Price & Grocery Decisions Lesson Plan (PDF)

Feeding 9 Billion: The Card Game

This activity will introduce players to basic concepts pertaining to food security, population growth, and climate change in a fun and engaging way.  This card game was developed by the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph.  Feeding 9 Billion is a food security initiative which provides insight, outreach and education around issues of food, agriculture and hunger globally.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: BBB4M, CPC3O, CGW4U

Download the Feeding 9 Billion Lesson Plan (PDF)

The Fundamentals of Economics: Food and Agricultural Business

This activity will allow students to develop an understanding of basic business and economic principles, including the concept of the diminishing rate of marginal returns, best alternative to no agreement (BATNA) and substitutes versus complements.  Students will learn through activities designed for hands-on learning and will utilize critical thinking skills while working in groups.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: BBI1O/2O, BMI3C, BDI3C/3O

Download the Fundamentals of Economics Lesson Plan (PDF)

Designing Outdoor Spaces: Landscape Architecture 

Landscape architecture is a profession that combines art and sciences to design outdoor spaces.  Students will have the opportunity to learn more in-depth about what landscape architecture is, and what a Landscape Architect does.  They will use critical thinking and creativity to gain a new perspective of landscapes, and how space use is taken into consideration.  Students will be able to apply design skills through collaboration on a site plan.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: AVI1O, AVI2O, SNC1D, CGC1D

Download the Designing Outdoor Spaces Lesson Plan (PDF)

Biodiversity of Lawns

There are four different varieties of turfgrass commonly found in lawns in Ontario. While most accounts of turfgrass areas refer to them as monocultures this is generally not true. Lawns consist of many species each with different characteristics that aid in the resiliency, or strength, of the lawn ecosystem. The following activities can be performed with these four species to show the diversity of the species found in lawns, and how those differences can be observed in seed size and germination time.

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3C, SBI3U, SVN3M

Download the Biodiversity of Lawns Lesson Plan (PDF)

How can Test Tubes Make 10 Million Trees?  The Why & How Podcast, Episode 2

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about plant tissue culture and how it can be used to propogate crops in abundance.  Students will expand their knowledge about the process of micropropogation adn the various plan hormones that react to make this possible.  Students are able to work together while applying individual creativity to better understand implications of plant biodiversity loss and sudden declines in yield.  

This activity aligns with the following curriculum: SBI3U, SBI4U

Download the Making Trees from Test Tubes Lesson Plan (PDF)

Participate in interactive activities.

Free interactive activities designed by OAC faculty and staff. OAC faculty have adapted their expertise to fit the high school classroom.

OAC F.A.C.E. Day with Royal City Science

For the Spring Break of 2021, we developed a series of mini science activities in partnership with Royal City Science that connects with OAC’s four pillars: food, agriculture, communities, and the environment. These activities have been specially designed with an introductory video, instructions, and worksheets. We encourage you to step away from the screen and enjoy learning about science through as many (or as little) of these unique learning experiences. 

The Real Cost of Food

Discover the paths different food items take to get to your plate and uncover the real cost of some of the food items you may find in your home! Part one of this activity is a “scavenger hunt” type adventure through different areas within the City of Guelph to find informational signs that provide insight into food transportation. Part two invites participants to learn about common food items found in their own home accompanied by thoughtful discussion questions. View the introductory video here.

Download The Real Cost of Food- Instructions & Worksheet (PDF)

Bread Breakdown

Get your hands dirty playing with dough while learning about gluten and starch! Participants will create their own dough and make observations about the different properties of dough to better understand the role that gluten and starch play in making bread.  Experiment one will focus on bread protein by making two dough balls using different flours. Experiment two will focus on how starch changes when it is hot and cold while learning about the principles of food science. View the introductory video here.

Download Bread Breakdown- Instructions & Worksheet (PDF)

Soil Snow Globe

Soil is more than just dirt! By making a soil snow globe you will be able to see different components that make up the soil and learn about how soil changes in various landscapes. In this activity, participants will collect soil from outside near their home and mix it with water. Over time, participants will be able to observe the different layers the soil separates into, including organic matter, sand, silt, and clay. View the introductory video here. 

Download Soil Snow Globe- Instructions & Worksheet (PDF)

Looking at Landscapes

Landscape architecture is where science, social studies, and creative design collide! Through this two-part activity, participants will have the opportunity to observe and critically think about a landscape in their own community and use their creativity to design their own outdoor space. Participants will use a provided sample base plan, common design elements, and their own imagination in this activity. View the introductory video here

Download Looking at Landscapes- Instructions & Worksheet (PDF)

Biodiversity in Your Neighbourhood

Uncover the variety of different species in your own community! In this activity, participants will pay special attention to all living things around them including trees, birds, animals, and insects. Participants will spend time outdoors and record the diversity of living things they observe and then calculate the biodiversity index of that area. View the introductory video here

Download Biodiversity in Your Neighbourhood- Instructions & Worksheet (PDF)

Download resources from OAC partners.

Downloadable PDF lesson plans offered by OAC partners. These partner resources are linked to OAC undergraduate programs.

Growing Success: A School Garden Organization Template

An OAC student has created a digital tool to facilitate efficient planning and enhanced communication between teachers managing school gardens. "Growing Success" helps teachers create a living record where all users involved in a school garden can quickly and easily compile their activities. It includes six helpful templates, including a Class-Use Schedule, a Budgeting Tool, a Crop Planning Tool, a Seasonal Activities Chart, a Fundraising Chart, and a Resource Guide.

Download School Garden Organization Template

This workbook was compiled and created by Jenna West in 2022 while studying agriculture at the University of Guelph. Funding to support its development was provided by the W.S. (Stan) Young Memorial Communications Grant through the OAC Alumni Foundation.



AgScape is the voice of Agriculture in the Classroom Ontario, AgScape provides factual, balanced, curriculum-linked food literacy programs and resources to Ontario's educators and students. Agscape is a not for profit, registered charity dedicated to enhancing the learning experiences of students by providing high quality, objective, and curriculum-linked agriculture and food-related learning materials and programs to Ontario educators. Further information is available on the AgScape website at www.agscape.ca

Teacher Ambassador Program 

Through AgScape`s Teacher Ambassador Program, Ontario Certified Teachers visit classrooms to provide lessons about agriculture and food. Lessons are available on a wide range of topics - food security, local food, environmental initiatives, and animal health and welfare, to name a few. AgScape’s Teacher Ambassador lessons align with the Ontario curriculum for Grades 7 to 12 and are offered free of charge. Starting September 2020, AgScape will be offering these lessons in virtual delivery. To learn more or to book a free in-class lesson, visit agscape.ca/request-ta.

Agri-Trekking Gamified Resource

Ontario teachers can teach their Grade 4 - 6 & 7 - 8 classes about agriculture and food in a fun and interactive way with AgScape’s Agri-Trekking Across Ontario gamified resource. Throughout the year, teachers can register their entire class, school or school board to take part in the Agri-Trekking Across Ontario Challenge, a province-wide playing of the games, to learn more about local food, sustainable practices and much more. To learn more, visit agscape.ca/agri-trekking-across-ontario-challenge.

Business of Food eLearning Platform

The Business of Food (BOF) eLearning Platform allows Ontario educators and teacher candidates to build knowledge and understanding of agriculture and food at their own pace, from any location. Currently, AgScape offers 2 courses, BOF-101 and BOF-102, 4 times a year, which will help educators to:

  • Have confidence when discussing and teaching foundational topics in relation to agriculture and food with Ontario students
  • Apply their knowledge and engage within a network of professional of learning with colleagues
  • Learn about educational resources and programs available to support classroom learning about agriculture and food
  • Learn about how agriculture and food relate to their daily life and well being

To learn more on how to receive a scholarship to take a Business of Food course for free, please visit agscape.ca//bof-educators.

ThinkAG Career Competitions

AgScape’s ThinkAg Career Competitions are an excellent opportunity to help students, grades 5-12, make-real world connections and learn about future career pathways in the agri-food sector. Students will rotate between different stations where they will meet agri-food industry representatives and participate in interactive activities that tests their overall employability and general agri-food knowledge. This is a free event that is run with multiple classes in your school. Starting September 2020, AgScape will be offering this event in virtual delivery. To learn more, please go to agscape.ca/thinkag-cc.

Growing Careers

From Communications, Engineering and Economics, to Food and Animal Sciences - the possibilities are endless when it comes to career opportunities in the ag-sector. 

AgScape's YouTube channel provides teachers and students with an introduction to the variety of careers found within the agri-food sector, and includes more than 75 Career Profile videos as well as recorded live tours of farming and food facilities. Learn more from the experts by watching our videos.

Digital Resource Library

AgScape offers a free, one-stop e-library of agriculture and food-focused curriculum-linked resources for teachers. With more than 100 FREE and downloadable digital materials for Grades 1 – 12, these resources allow teachers to easily integrate agriculture and food education into their classroom teachings. Register today to access these FREE resources at  agscape.ca/resources.

About OAC

Established in 1874, the Ontario Agricultural College is one of seven colleges that make up the University of Guelph. OAC is a globally recognized leader in education and research in agriculture, food, environmental sciences, and community development. The OAC provides a wide range of academic programs at the diploma, undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels. Learn more about OAC's history here.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

This outreach is made possible through contributions from Grand River Agricultural Society, Conestoga Meats, OAC Alumni Foundation, the Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College, Joe & Barbara Maxwell, Brian and Margaret Little, OAC Class of ’53, OAC Class of ’65, OAC Class of ’80, and OAC Class of '64.