3rd Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: Economics: What happens once rice is harvested? How does rice get from the farm to you?


Rice is a grain that is almost ready to eat once it is harvested.

The rice is harvested and threshed in the late summer and fall. Threshing is separating the grain from the stems of the plant. Once all of this has been done, the farmer is left with the grains of rice. But the rice can't be eaten yet.

The rice grains must be dried. If they are not dried, they will spoil. The rice farmer dries the rice before it is stored.

In the United States warm, dry air is blown through the rice to remove water from the grain so it can be stored. Rice is a wonderful food grain. It can be kept for many years. It has to be stored in a clean dry place.

Many countries store rice in different ways. In the United States, rice is stored in large silos. A silo is a cylinder-shaped tower. These silos are made of steel or concrete. The farmers are able to control the temperature of the air in the silos. They can also control the moisture level.

In other countries, where they don't have a lot a of technology, they use more primitive methods of storing the rice. In some countries, the rice is stored in pots that are made of clay. In other countries goatskin bags are used to store the rice. Many Asian countries use rice barns to store the rice. These barns are built on stilts so that the rice will remain dry if there is a flood. When sold, the rice will be transported to a rice mill.

Rice has a straw-like outer covering that protects the grain. This outer covering is called the husk. The husk must be removed to eat the rice. Under the husk is a second layer called the bran layer. Rice with the bran layer is called brown rice. In order to get white rice, the bran layers are removed. This is done in a rice mill. The rice is put in large metal drums. Big rollers take away the outer layers.

In some parts of Asia, the layers are removed by hand. The grains are pounded in a wooden bowl. A long pole is used to pound the rice grains. The rice is then winnowed to get rid of the bits of husk. This is done by tossing the rice into the air to let the wind blow the light-weight husk away from the rice.

The rice farmer and the rice millers must work hard to get the rice ready for people to eat. It must be stored and milled before it is ready for the table. Both brown and white rice can be bought at the grocery store.


Make Rainbow Rice:

You will need:

white rice

paper cups

food coloring


paper towels


1. Fill the paper cups with water and add food coloring.

2. Spoon grains of rice into each cup.

3. Stir the rice in each cup gently.

4. Remove the rice from the cups with the spoon.

5. Place the rice grains on paper towels to dry.

You now have colored rice. Use this rice to make fun craft projects.


Fold a piece of paper into four parts. Draw a picture in each part that shows what happens to rice on its way to your table.


  • stored
  • silo
  • husk
  • bran
  • technology
  • stilts
  • winnowed
  • threshed

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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