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Canadian Agriculture at a Glance Teacher's Kit > Lesson plans

Lesson: Watering our Prairie farms

View the article (PDF)
Curriculum connections
Notes to teacher
Teaching and learning strategies
Assessment/evaluation strategies
Accommodation and enrichment strategies
Links to other activities
Suggestions for further research


This activity focuses on water as a resource. Using water for irrigation is considered, as well as the risks associated with it and ways to manage our water use.

Curriculum connections


  • demonstrates an understanding of how humans are part of the ecological system and how human activity has long- and short-term effects on the environment
  • analyses ways in which agriculture depends on certain resources and the environmental, economic and social implications
  • explains ways to balance human needs and protect the natural system.

Family Studies/Home Economics

  • demonstrates an understanding of the impact of different environmental factors on food production and supply.


  • describes the environment and its importance
  • explains why it is important to be aware of the impact of human activities on the environment
  • demonstrates an understanding of the impact of humans on the environment, and assesses alternative courses of action to protect the environment
  • illustrates how individuals, society and the environment influence and are influenced by scientific and technological endeavours.

Notes to teacher

This activity can be taught with the others in this unit as part of a group work project on agriculture and the environment. Students can be divided into groups of "experts" to learn about one of the topics; they can then teach the rest of the class about their topic. (PDF)

Teaching and learning strategies

  1. Students read the article "Watering our Prairie farms" on pages 157 to 166 in Canadian Agriculture at a Glance (PDF).
  2. Students answer the following questions after having read the article:
    1. Which area of Canada draws the most water for irrigation?
    2. Why do farmers irrigate their fields?
    3. Why, besides needing extra water in dry areas or during dry weather, is irrigation used?
    4. What risks are involved in irrigation? Discuss.
    5. How is water managed?
  3. Students write an opinion paper about the issues of irrigation.
  4. Students log onto the Atlas of Canada website ( and download the irrigation map.
  5. Students add terminology to their glossaries.

Assessment/evaluation strategies

  1. Assess answers for completion and accuracy.
  2. Evaluate opinion papers.
  3. Assess glossaries for accuracy and completion.

Accommodation and enrichment strategies

  1. Some students may require assistance in order to complete written work.
  2. Students with special needs may work with a partner to complete a task.
  3. Templates for note-taking should be provided to students with special needs.
  4. Main ideas and/or new information should be mapped out and organized to meet the needs of all students.
  5. Wherever possible, vocabulary lists should be provided with a discussion of context clues and related vocabulary.
  6. Students with special needs may wish to complete an oral, taped or video presentation rather than a written assignment
  7. For enrichment, students can investigate irrigation practices in other areas of the country.
  8. For enrichment, students can investigate the issue of drawing water to be bottled for human consumption.

Links to other activities

This activity is linked to:

Suggestions for further research

  • Students can investigate the issue of irrigation in other countries.
  • Students can use 2001 Census of Agriculture data in E-STAT for data analysis, graphing and mapping activities for specific geographic areas of local interest.

Please send comments or examples of how you used this lesson in your class to Learning Resources.

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Date modified: 2008-05-20 Important Notices