2nd Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: Economics: Why is rice so important to many countries in the world?


Did you know that two thirds of the people in the world eat rice everyday? Did you know that if these people didn't have rice they wouldn't survive? Although we eat rice in the United States we do not depend on it to survive. There are countries in the world that depend upon rice each day. Countries like Japan, China, India and Malaysia consider rice their chief food. When the rice crop fails, people in these countries can often starve.

Rice has been grown since the earliest times of man. There is a legend that rice first came to China by means of a little girl who went out fishing during a famine. Instead of fish she caught the king of the frogs. He told her to hold out her net to the sunbeams while he croaked a magic song. As the golden light fell through the mesh of the net it was changed to golden grains. The little girl gathered the grain and this was the first rice. Of course, this is just a story.

Most experts think rice came from a wild grass. The wild rice grass grew on the shores of the lakes of India. From there it spread to other countries.

Rice was first brought to North America in the 17th century, during colonial times.

Rice grows best in water. In fact, rice fields are flooded to grow rice plants. Rice is grown in fields called "paddies". The paddies are built by rice farmers.

Rice farming in the United States is done using machines. Rice is cultivated by hand in many other countries of the world. Rice is very important to survival for many people of our world.


Look up the 4 countries listed and write down their population as well as the agricultural crops they produce.

United States


Draw a picture in stages about how you might build a rice paddy.


  • biotechnology
  • waterway
  • terrace
  • agrarian
  • agriculuture
  • commodity
  • paddy
  • panicle

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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