2nd Grade - Science

LESSON PROBLEM: Ecology: How do rice farmers get the water needed to grow rice?


Rice grows best in water. Modern rice farmers in the United States use water that is pumped from nearby rivers, canals or wells to grow rice. They keep the water in the field 2 to 3 inches deep.

Pumping water onto the fields is called irrigation. The farmer can control the amount of water going onto the field. With the help of modern technology, rice farmers now use less water. They make more efficient use of water than ever before. American rice farmers grow a lot of very good rice.

Once the rice is ready for harvest, the rice field is drained. Machines used for the harvest can then get onto the field. The water is returned to nearby rivers and streams. Sometimes the water is saved and pumped back into the rice field after the harvest. The rice field is now a wetland habitat. It is used by wildlife and birds that migrate to the rice field. They find food and a home during the winter months.

Water that has been in the rice field gets cleaned. The rice fields are like holding ponds for the water. The dirt in the water sinks to the bottom. Air and sunshine can then get to the water. In time any chemicals that may be in the water are broken down. Water is often returned to the environment more pure than when it was first pumped into the rice fields.

Irrigating rice fields is helpful to farmers and wildlife. It gets the soil ready for the next rice crop.


Write three sentences that tell about irrigation. Draw a picture to go with your sentences.


Pretend you are a rice farmer and want to irrigate your rice field. Draw a picture to show where you would get the water.


  • irrigation
  • control
  • produce
  • quality

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
Rice Farm Animals:
Rice farms have lots of animals. Click here to learn more about rice farms and the animals that live there.
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