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Implementing games into your classroom can be tricky for any agriculture educator. Ensuring the game has educational value while maintaining student engagement is a difficult tightrope for you to walk. However, the benefits of gamification in the classroom include students seeing real-world applications to what they’re learning and motivating them to engage with the content in lessons.
Cultivating an engaging learning environment is critical for student success. By implementing games into your lesson plans, agriculture teachers can create a fun, hands-on experience that engages students in their learning.
As a dedicated provider of agriculture curriculum, iCEV aims to help educators like you incorporate educational and engaging games into your classroom.
To help, we’ve found eight of the best agriculture games for high school students:
FFA History Match-Up
Mission Impossible Leadership Icebreakers
Agricultural Scavenger Hunt
After reading this article, you’ll have the games and tools necessary to create a fun, engaging learning environment for your student.
Desktop Agriculture Games for Students
Utilizing desktop games is easy to implement and highly engaging for students. With free resources, agriculture teachers can quickly add a digital game to supplement their lesson plans. Additionally, desktop games are a quick and easy solution when needing to divert from the determined lesson when obstacles arise.
City Farm Desktop Game
City Farm by PBS is a free digital game where students are tasked with running an urban farm. The goal is to grow a farm that supports an urban community for five years. Students are challenged to grow crops for the community and maintain soil health and water conservation.
The five-year period consists of three seasons: spring, summer, and fall. Each spring, students select crops to plant based on their food surplus, seed cost, soil health, and readily available water.
Then, in the summer, the students navigate uncontrollable elements like drought, disease, and pests that can affect crop yields. Students must manage funds to purchase upgrades like drip irrigation, composters, and fertilizer to help their crops thrive.
In the fall, the students harvest their crops and receive a rating on their sustainability as well as scores on farm shares for their community, soil health, and water saved.
This farm simulator helps students understand an urban farm's impact on the community it supports and the factors determining whether farmers will have a successful yield that season. Paired with an introduction to agriculture course, students can implement the knowledge they’ve learned during the lesson to help guide their decision-making in the urban farm simulator.
Additionally, City Farm is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and provides students with a foundational knowledge of how environmental factors can impact a farm's ecosystem. City Farm also includes a multitude of resources like teaching tips, background essays, and discussion questions to facilitate once students have finished the game.
Journey 2050 Desktop Game
Journey 2050 is a free global farming simulator that tasks students with helping three family farms across the world, each with its own needs and environmental challenges, over 27 years.
The game is organized into six levels. Each level incorporates a lesson video explaining the importance of these topics and how agriculture plays a role in not only the local community but the economy and global food sustainability.
The lessons included cover agricultural topics such as:
Best management practices for farming
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Students are challenged with producing crops at each family farm while managing water conservation, soil health, and even investing funds into other aspects that contribute to the overall community.
Additionally, students can invest in elements that could be a limiting factor to the family farm’s success, like education, healthcare, and habitats.
Through this simulator, students can grasp the ripple effect that sustainable agriculture has on the global community. Additionally, the simulator walks students through best management practices so they can learn how to produce more crops while using fewer vital resources. From sustainability to water conservation, there is ample opportunity for you to incorporate multiple lessons with the farming simulation.
Cornucopia Desktop Game
Cornucopia is a free, fast-pacedfarming simulator where students plant crops, raise farm animals that produce byproducts, and manage water conservation to complete customer food orders.
Cornucopia consists of a free-play option as well as multiple levels including:
Through these levels, students must strategize to fill customer orders while managing water, funds and other resources. However, somelevels pose different challenges than others. For example, in Drought Distress, students must face the challenge of completing customer orders in the midst of a drought, making water conservation the main focus point.
Additionally, in Future Farming, students can experience the importance of agriculture technologies, like drip irrigation and greywater recycling, as they upgrade their farms, increasing their crop yield and success.
Cornucopia is aligned with NGSS and can easily be implemented in lessons regarding environmental sciences and introduction to agriculture.
In-class Agriculture Games for Students
Creating an engaging learning environment can be challenging. But when you incorporate games that further explore lesson topics, students can become more interested in their learning experience and retain more information.
Using in-class games can provide additional benefits for students as well. Games can help students learn how to think critically, hone their strategizing skills, and improve how they work with others.
This hands-on activity helps you teach the history of the FFA in an interactive way. The FFA History match-up game encourages students to truly know the information and its importance rather than only memorize the dates for the exam.
The FFA History Match-Up games include:
Printable game cards with 18 dates and 18 events.
Teacher instructions for printing and multiple suggestions for implementation
Teacher answer key
Available on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) for only $3, FFA History Match-Up can be printed as flashcards or played on any student device. With over 20 reviews and a five-star rating, your students will be engaged in no time.
Agriculture Mania Board Game
Agriculture Mania, from Clara’s Collection, is a Monopoly-inspired board game based on agricultural trivia. A great addition to any beginner agriculture course, Agriculture Mania is a fun and interactive activity for students to learn more about topics surrounding agriculture.
Available on TpT for $7.95, the Agriculture Mania board can be printed to create multiple boards for group play in the classroom. This engaging game can help students recall agriculture facts and spark interest in areas of agriculture they have yet to discover.
The Agriculture Mania board game consists of the following:
All board pieces needed to assemble the game board
Handheld property cards
30 agriculture-related question cards
15 opportunity cards
Money available in an assortment of bills
Houses, hotels, and skyscrapers
Answer key for question cards
Diagram showing how to set up your board
By testing their knowledge, students will be more engaged in learning key agriculture facts from the trivia.
Mission Impossible Leadership Icebreakers
Mission Impossible Leadership Icebreakers, from Ag Teacher Terra Davis, is a bundle of 25 games for students to play to encourage active engagement in the classroom. In Google Slide format, Mission Impossible provides all instructions for each game including the objective, materials needed, rules for students, and a timer.
Available on TpT for $5, coming out to 20 cents per game, these hands-on activities were designed to require low-cost supplies that can be used multiple times throughout the school year.
Missions your students can go on include:
Mission Kit Design
Mission Paper Cut
Mission Marble Maze
Utilizing fun and engaging icebreaker-type games can help students not only look forward to coming to class but can set the expectation that students will participate in activities, helping create an engaging learning environment.
Outside Agriculture Games for Students
Sometimes, you just need to get outside. Whether it’s simply taking advantage of a beautiful day, or letting antsy students get their energy out in a productive way, you can still incorporate learning while outdoors.
Agricultural Scavenger Hunt
An agricultural scavenger hunt is an easy, engaging, and fun way for students to learn about agriculture outside the classroom. Many students don’t realize the impact agriculture has on items that aren’t natural foods and animals. However, through a scavenger hunt, students can begin to identify the impact agriculture has on items like clothes, medicine, and more.
Whether the scavenger hunt is a short-term or long-term lesson, you’ll need to create a scavenger hunt list based on items students can find around the school or even at home.
Examples of items to find can include:
Products labeled “cage-free”
A plant that protects against pests
When students find an item, have them take a picture and present their findings to the class through a PowerPoint presentation. The class can discuss all the items they found and can begin to identify agricultural products in their everyday life.
Cattle Herding Game
Cattle Herding, from Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom, is a game where students are responsible for transporting their herd to the range without losing any cattle. This game can be played outdoors or in a large gym and allows students to discuss safely transporting animals as well as the responsibility and importance of caring for farm animals.
Students are given balloons that represent their cattle herd. They are then tasked with branding their “cattle” with a permanent marker and transporting them to a gym or field that will act as the range, without letting a balloon pop. A popped balloon at any time throughout the game represents a lost cattle.
Students will decide how to best transport their balloon cattle using a large garbage bag, which acts as a truck and will let their cattle graze with other students' cattle. Once all the students’ surviving cattle have made it to the field, they must separate and corral their cattle again. The first student to successfully corral all their cattle wins.
What Agriculture Games Would My Students Enjoy?
Finding the right hands-on agricultural activities for your students is crucial to cultivating an engaging learning environment and helping your students find success in your classroom.
From online farming simulators that complement lesson plans to in-class games and create excitement around agriculture topics to even getting outside and engaging students, there are various ways to implement gamification into your classroom.
Depending on your classroom's needs and student interests, any of these resources could make a great option.
Ready to implement games but don’t have supporting agricultural lesson plans? Set your students on a pathway within the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource career cluster with iCEV’s one-stop-shop for engaging and comprehensive Agricultural Science curriculum!