Hula hoop math: yield prediction

Can we predict the yield of a crop and forecast food production?
Use hula hoops and math to predict how many bushels of soybeans are growing in a particular field. This fun activity was tested with 500 6th graders from Newark City Schools at the Devine Farms in Hebron, Ohio and is an adaptation of an actual yield prediction method used by extension agents from Purdue University. See teacher background →

# Predicting yields

Take a small sample in a field by counting the number of plants inside a hula hoop. The worksheet guides students through a step-by-step process to calculate the potential yield of an acre of soybean plants.


Teacher background

Soybean growers have important decisions to make early in the growing process. A yield calculation can determine the outcome. Should the farmer replant a field based on low expected returns? A replant is, in effect, a late planting and that will decrease potential yield. Growers must consider and evaluate the cost of seed, fuel, machinery, pesticides, labor, and other expenses.

Read more

Next gen science standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence

Crosscutting concepts

  • Cause and effect

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • ESS3A Natural resources
  • ESS3B Natural hazards
  • LS1B Growth and development of organisms