2nd Grade - Science

LESSON PROBLEM: Ecology: How do rice farmers make good use of the land they use for planting rice?


Rice farming in the United States uses both science and technology to grow strong healthy rice plants. In the United States, rice is grown in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Rice grows best in standing water. The water helps to control weeds. The water in the rice fields also provides a wetland habitat for wildlife. In the United States, farmers use modern ways to get and keep water in the rice fields. The land is carefully leveled to keep the water even at two to three inches deep. Thousands of acres of land are covered with water for rice farming. Farmers use the latest technology to grow rice. They use laser-guided, earth-moving equipment to level the land. The heavy equipment is pulled by tractors.

Rice farmers use land planes to make sure their fields are perfectly level. The land planes scrape and move the soil to level the land. This heavy work is done by machines.

A laser guidance system helps the rice farmer decide where to place levees. A levee is a bank of land that holds the water in place. The levees control the water and keep it in the rice field. The fields are given a gentle slope. This helps to keep the fields flooded evenly and to make it easier to drain the fields.

In early spring, many acres of seeds are quickly planted. They are set in the soil at an exact depth by grain drills. Some farmers spread rice seeds over dry or flooded fields by airplane. Rice seed is first soaked until it begins to grow. It is heavy and sinks into the water when it is dropped from the airplane.

The flooded rice fields help rice plants grow strong and healthy. Less weeds have a chance to grow. In the United States, farmers begin planting rice in April and May. The rice is harvested about four months later in summer and autumn.

Rice grows well in clay soil. Soil that holds water is perfect for growing rice. It is not good for crops that have deeper roots. Corn, beans and tomatoes would not grow well in clay soil. Much of the land where rice grows is soil where other crops might not grow. Rice grown in clay soil gives the highest amount of rice for each plant. Rice farming makes good use of the land on which it is grown.


Use one cup of clay soil and one cup of garden soil.

Put the soil into two separate glasses. Press the soil so it is firm.

Label the glasses: Clay and Garden

Now slowly, very slowly put equal amounts of water in the glasses.

See how long it takes the water to seep through the soil in each glass.

Describe which soil is better for rice cultivation and why?


Water takes longer to seep through clay soil. This type of soil holds water over a long period of time. This is good for rice cultivation.

Make a list of other ways clay soil can be used.


  • levee
  • technology
  • level
  • laser
  • equipment
  • acres
  • perfectly
  • guidance
  • system

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
Anatomy of Rice:
Rice is a seed of cereal (grass) plant used for food. Click here to learn more about the Anatomy of Rice.
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