5th Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: History: Do you know how civilization developed? Man’s urge to explore changed and linked different civilizations. Observe how rice cultivation was affected by this.


Rice is one of the two most important cereals that form the staple diet of the world's people, the other cereal being wheat. Rice has a colorful history. In ancient times, rice was seen as such a life giving force that it was an offering made to the gods.

Ancient Rice

Do you know that rice grew even in ancient times in Southeast Asia and China? There is historical evidence of rice growing as far back as 6000 B.C. It is thought that rice farming was an indigenous practice, later wheat was also planted. There is evidence that wheat was brought to China, at a later time, from other parts of the world .

The March of Rice Cultivation

The sharing of mankind's ideas, tools and resources has depended on traders, invading armies and migratory tribes. The progress of rice cultivation, too, follows these patterns.

Westward March of Rice
The cultivation of rice spread westward through Asia, reaching Egypt and Syria by 400 B.C. The Moors from Africa invaded Spain and introduced rice there. The Spaniards thereafter established rice growing in the fertile river plains of Italy.

Rice Enters the New World
In the 17th Century, African and European traders and explorers carried seeds to the New World. Though a late starter, America is today one of the most important rice producing nations of the world.

You can understand how colorful the history of rice is! Possibly, it was the first cereal ever grown by mankind. Wherever rice was taken it was quickly recognized as a valuable, easy to grow food. Because of its importance in our diet as a staple food, it was treasured, and given the status of sustainer of the human race. The historical growth of rice is akin to the growth of civilization and our understanding of the needs of nutrition and food.

Variety in Rice

Rice agriculture has continuously developed and it has been grown in many varieties and processed in many forms. It can be short-grain rice, medium-grain rice, long-grain rice, white rice, brown rice.

Progress in Methods of Rice Cultivation

Traditionally rice was planted and cultivated by hand. Even now, in many Asian countries, it is planted and harvested by hand. However, the progress of technology has changed rice farming in some countries, like in America where cultivation is mechanized.

New Strains

New strains of rice are being developed, which are resistant to disease and pests. Thus, the growth of rice, which started thousands of years ago, continues unabated.


Collect pictures of rice cultivation in Southeast Asia and America from magazines and the Internet. Paste them in your scrapbook.


Study the historical development and migration of wheat.


Asia Rice.org

Rice in Italy

History of Rice Cultivation by Encyclopedia.com

Rice History by USA Rice

Rice History by Riceweb

  • indigenous
  • akin
  • nutrition
  • mechanized
  • strains
  • unabated

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
The Milling Process for Rice:
Getting rice from the field to you takes
a few more steps. Click here to see a video & learn more about the rice milling process.
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