3rd Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: Economics: What is done to rice to get it ready to eat?


During the summer and autumn, after the rice is fully grown and ready for harvesting, the rice fields are drained of water and left to dry for several days. Special machines called combines are used for cutting the rice crop. They cut the rice and separate the grains from the stalk. The rice is then taken from the field by trucks. The trucks transport this rice to the rice mill.

The rice first goes to the dryers. It is important to dry rice. The rice cannot be stored until it is dried. The moisture must be at a level suitable for storage. This is done at rice dryers. In the dryers, warm air is forced through the rice to bring the moisture content to the right level for storage.

The rice is then graded for its quality and then sent to where the outermost cover of rice, called the husk or hull, is removed. The rice can now be eaten as brown rice. Under the brown layer is the white rice. Most people like to eat white rice.

The brown layer is called bran. The bran has a lot of nutritional value. When white rice is made in the mill, nutrients are added to take the place of the bran. In the United States, both white and brown rice are enriched with nutrients and minerals. Both brown and white rice are healthy foods. The bran that is removed is used to add nutritional value and fiber to other foods like bread.

Rice is cleaned and sorted at each stage. Machines, called optical sorters, "look" at each grain and remove broken and discolored rice. Once it is sorted, rice is ready for packing. Rice is packed into packages of different sizes. This is the rice that reaches you.


Make a map showing the journey of rice from the field to you.


Learn if there is other processing that is done to rice to make additional changes or improvements in the grain. Write and illustrate what you have learned.


  • drain
  • stalk
  • moisture
  • grading
  • bran
  • nutritious
  • enrich
  • fiber
  • optical
  • sorter

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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