There are many theories about the origins of April Fools' Day. No one knows its true origins, but one ancient tradition related to agriculture is the Iranian Festival of Sizdah
Be-dar, or "Joy and Solidarity," which is celebrated
on April 1st or 2nd, the last day of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. The
ancient Persians believed that joy and laughter cleaned the mind
from all evil thoughts. In modern times people in Iran celebrate
by going to parks for picnics
and throwing their sabzeh - sprouts grown near the beginning
of the New Year - into a river. This custom symbolizes the cycle
of life. Some people also pull practical jokes and tell white lies,
them "thirteenth lies." This prank tradition may have been celebrated by
the Persians as far back as 536 BC, which would make it the oldest known prank tradition in the world.
Make your own April Fool sabzeh, or April Fool baby, with the the OAITC lesson Dirt Babies.
Explore the "Cycle of Life" with "Agriculture is a Cycle."
Learn how to grow sprouts
Celebrate April Fool's Day with this activity: Students separate
into teams and choose topics from the Ag
Facts link to make up true and "April Fool!" statements
about agriculture. Teams quiz one another with their true and false
Or have students make up true and false questions based on information from the Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics Bulletin.
Board Activity: Agriculture Fact or Opinion
Writing Prompt: Write an April Fool story about a goat and a soybean at a baseball
Other lessons for April Fools' Day:
Barry, Frances, Big Yellow Sunflower, Candlewick, 2009. (Grades
The petal-like pages open into a larger-than-life sunflower. With
each page, a worm, a bee, a bird and other creatures watch as a seed
germinates and grows in to a tall plant topped with a big bloom.
Branley, Franklin M., Sunshine Makes the Seasons,
Collins, 2005. (Grades 1-4)
An excellent resource for explaining the concept
of seasons, using a pencil and orange and focusing on the sun-earth
Jalali, Yassaman, and Marjan Zamanian, Celebrating Norouz: Persian New Year, Saman, 2003. (Grades 4-6)
Simple and colorful, this book introduces the Persian New Year to children. Includes three crafts.
McKneally, Ranida, and Grace Lin, Our Seasons, Charlesbridge,
2007. (Grades K-5)
Haiku poetry accompanies season-related questions
and answers about weather, the natural world and the human body.
Peterson, Cris, and David R. Lundquist, Seed, Soil Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food, Boyds Mills, 2010. (Grades PreK-3)
After establishing that most of our food comes from seeds that grow with the help of soil and sunlight, this book talks a little about each element in the title, how it relates to the growing plant and how photosynthesis allows the plant to make energy. The last few pages tell how we consume the plant's energy as food.
Schiller, Melissa, April Fool's Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays), Children's, 2003. (Grades PreK-2)