This Easy Pick Harvest Assistant, which provides a comfortable way to collect berries, is among the countless farm inventions featured in Farm Show magazine.

Thought for Food

Student activity based on the article “Thought for Food” from the Jan/Feb 2009 Our Ohio magazine.

Academic Content Standard  
(Technology – Grade 4): Technology and Society Interaction:  “Students will describe the advantages that resulted from people making and using tools and explain the role of Ohio’s inventors in the social and economic development of society. They will also discuss technology ownership rights, including the concept that the creator of the technology may be the owner, and that users must purchase the right to use the technology.”

(Note: Key terms used from Ohio’s Academic Content Standards are in bold below).

Discussion points
Read the article with the students or have students read the article titled “Thought for food” in Our Ohio magazine.


  • What is so unique about Floyd Simpson?
  • Name two items Mr. Simpson invented according to the article.
  • Why is it important for farmers to be able to fix or create anything?
  • Explain what “farmers can fix anything with baling wire and duct tape” means in your own words.
  • Explain what a patent is and why it is important to the creator of the idea.
  • For what invention does Mr. Simpson hold a patent? What is the purpose for the invention? Why would this invention save farmers money?
  • Many people create new ways of doing things. Why do farmers have to be such inventors, according to the article?
  • To be a successful farmer, what other skills does he/she have to have? 
  • Is technology an important part of farming? Give examples from the article.
  • Name four other inventions from this article and explain what problem the invention solved.
  • Do you think that the invention competition that Virginia Tarka participated in is similar to Invention Convention?
  • The article stated that the “tire valve plucker” was not a good idea. Why?
  • What advantages resulted from the following inventions mentioned by the article?
    Mobile Greenhouse
    Tractor with street brush
    Berry Picker cart
    Global Positioning System
  • After reading this article, would you agree that farmers are the ultimate inventors and users of technology? Why or why not?
Hands on at Home or School
  • Take a look at the following agriculturalists who contributed to technology use in the field of agriculture.

    Luther Burbank
    Eli Whitney
    George Washington Carver
    John Deere
    Cyrus H. McCormick
    Louis Pasteur
    Rudolf Diesel
    Benjamin Holt
    For each inventor above, explain how his invention helped society.

  • Other inventors: Look up these inventors and explain what his contribution was to society.

    Elisha Gray
    The Wright Brothers
    Charles F. Bush
    Alexander Winton
    Garrett Morgan
    Charles Kettering

    What do these six inventors have in common?  (Hint:  where they lived.)

  • Why are intellectual property rights important? (Or, why is it important to give credit to the creator of an idea?)
  • This article mentions Farm Show magazine. Visit the Farm Show Web site and see the farm invention book.
  • Are there any ideas you could use to create an invention of your own in the field of agriculture?


Geography:  Map Use: Find Belmont County and Highland County on an
Ohio map.

Economics: Inventors use technology to solve problems. Can inventions also earn money for the inventors? How? (Hint:  See the U.S. Government Patent Office site noted earlier)

Science: Are there patents on plants?

This student activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.