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4th Grade Social Studies:   Moovin' Into The Valley

Though today they represent urban and suburban areas, the cities of Elk Grove and Sacramento began their existence as farming communities. In fact, so did the state of California. This 4th grade unit guides students through a discovery of their neighborhood’s roots and traces the impact agriculture has had on the county and state since the California natives first planted and harvested acorns and walnuts in the valley. Continuing through the arrival of the Spanish explorers and missionaries, the Mexican rancheros and gold miners, the pioneers and immigrants, the railroad, and processing plants, students examine California history through an agricultural lens. Of course, the unit must begin with a science lesson focused on the natural processes that formed the fertile valley, enabling its rich agricultural history and economic power. Additionally, students will explore natural impediments to successful farming experienced by our early farmers. Primary and secondary resources and artifacts, combined with an interactive field trip to a historic dairy farm, help students envision the lives of our local farmers. Field trip activities include a tour of a 1940s era farmhouse and barns, farm chores, gardening and tastings.