The Straw That Broke the Breadbasket

WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

Wheat farmers love the wide open spaces, the wonderful smells and the anticipation of a bumper crop. They plant the seeds, watch the wheat seeds come up and grow, then hope for the right weather as they wait for harvest. Farmers are actually getting higher yields from their fields due to the technological advances in farming. But, due to the decrease in the price of a bushel of wheat and higher costs of planting and harvesting, some are having a difficult time making a living! It is up to you and your team to save their way of life!


To offset economic hardships, different uses for wheat and wheat by-products are needed. Good luck on this WebQuest. It is your responsibility to design and assemble a new product using wheat or wheat straw, then make an advertisement to sell this new product to the public.


  1. You will be assigned to a team of four students. In your team you will be given a role in collecting information. The role and responsibilities are:
    A. Farmer - Gather information on wheat production from sowing to harvesting.
    B. Agricultural Economist - Demonstrate facts about the United States Wheat Industry. Prepare a map or chart showing the Leading Wheat producing States. Help your team members to understand where most of the wheat in the U.S. is produced. There are many charts, graphs and tables that you can click on to learn about the wheat industry.
    C. Production Engineer – Find out what products come from which kinds of wheat. Gather ideas for new products and lead a brainstorming session for new ideas or improving on ones you’ve invented.
    D. Advertising Agent – Be the creative force and lead the group to ideas to advertise your new product.
  2. Use the resources and provided links to gather information, then share this with your team. All team members should contribute information and complete their assignments.
  3. Invent your product and prepare step-by-step directions for assembly.
  4. Create your advertisement. Some things you might include are: factual information about wheat, a slogan or jingle, and/or eye-catching visual elements. Your advertisement should be convincing and clearly understood.
  5. Present your advertisement as a commercial. This may be in person or on videotape. Or you may choose to prepare a poster to be used beside the product that you have created.


National Association of Wheat Growers

Bio-composites – shows why new products need to be designed.



Congratulations! You now have new ways to use wheat and wheat by-products and have saved your farm. You are looking forward to a bumper crop of wheat again next year.


Collaboration Rubric
  Little or None (1-2 pts.) Somewhat (3-5 pts.) Exemplary (6-8 pts.)
Researches Role      
Shares Information      
Cooperates with Teammates      

Total Points ____


Advertisement Rubric

  Needs Improvement (1-3 pts.) Satisfactory (4-6 pts.) Outstanding (7-10 pts.)
Content – factual information      
Creativity – Use of slogans, jingles, visuals      
Persuasiveness – Audience wants product      
Presentation – Clarity, appropriateness, or visually pleasing      

Total Points ____


This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant. The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin. Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only. No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.

This page was developed by Deb Rice, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.