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Lesson Overview
  • 70 Minutes
  • 3rd - 5th Grade
  • State Standards:
    Economics: Standard 7: Markets and Prices, Standard 8: Roles of Prices, Standard 9: Competition and Market Structure Language: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Mathematics: CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1 CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP.4 CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5 CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6

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Materials List

A Day Without Dairy

Categories: Math , Literacy , Animals

Students discover the economic importance of the dairy industry and analyze the consequences of not having dairy.


Interest Approach – Engagement

  1. Place a series of dominos where your class can see. If dominoes are not available you could also stand several books up in a row.
  2. Ask your students what would happen if you knock down one of the dominoes.  Your students should recognize that tipping one domino over will have a chain reaction and the remaining dominos will also be tipped over.  Sometimes this is called a “domino effect.”  Review with your students that the dairy industry is a portion of agriculture that provides milk to our diets.  Ask your students what would happen without the dairy industry.
  3. In this lesson, students will:
    • create, read and interpret graphs related to dairy’s economic impact; and
    • explore the economic consequences of a day without dairy.


Activity 1: Economy of  the Dairy Industry

  1. Take a poll of the class to determine the students’ favorite type of cheese: Mozzarella, American, Cheddar or Swiss. Create a chart on the board to record the students’ responses to the poll. Ask the students what type of graph should be used to illustrate the information. Students can work in groups or as a class to create the appropriate graph.
  2. Review with the students the purpose of graphs in displaying important information. A large part of an economist’s job is collecting data, creating graphs and interpreting those graphs to determine changes in the market. Why would it be beneficial for someone in the dairy industry (or any other agriculture industry) to be interested in the changes within the agriculture market?
  3. Explain that economists and dairy farmers alike use graphs to determine the importance of dairy product sales in the economy. In this lesson, students will create and read different graphs to better understand the role of dairy in our daily lives.
  4. It may be helpful to work with students in creating a “word wall” of vocabulary words they will read and write during the lesson. Place definitions of challenging vocabulary words on the board, depending on grade level. Pass out index cards featuring corresponding vocabulary words to each group. Have the groups take turns matching their vocabulary words to the correct definitions. Direct students to orally use the words in a sentence and/or record the definitions on a separate piece of paper.
  5. Have the students complete the A Day Without Dairy activity sheet.
  6. Discuss the economic impacts of a day without dairy. Work with the students to estimate the quantity of milk consumed daily in California (or substitute your state). For example, poll the class to determine the amount of dairy products the class consumes daily. Use multiplication to estimate the amount of dairy products consumed by the entire school, city, state, and country. Discuss with the class:
    • The amount of money lost in a day without dairy
    • The dairy industry’s impact on jobs and employment
    • The basic concept of supply and demand
    • If California stopped producing milk, how would we get dairy products? How would this affect prices at the store?
  7. Review the activity. Have the students review their learning by creating “A Day Without Dairy” milk carton. Instruct the students to decorate a milk carton depicting newly-acquired concepts on each side. If time allows, they can make their carton colorful and creative.
    • Side 1
      • Title: A Day Without Dairy, Drawing, Name
    • Side 2
      • Answer the following question, using complete sentences, on lined paper. What would a day without dairy be like? A year? Paste your response to the milk carton.
    • Side 3
      • Paste a copy of the bar graph you created illustrating exports from the United States, Canada and Russia.
    • Side 4
      • On a separate piece of paper, list all vocabulary words learned, including definitions. Paste your list to the milk carton

View Complete Lesson Plan on the Curriculum Matrix here.