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Plants Give Us Food: A Lesson About Fruits and Vegetables

  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils
  • Books about farms and growing fruits and vegetables
  • Farm Plants Graphic Organizer printable
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Ingredients for Applesauce

  • Apples
  • Water
  • Lemon (or lemon juice)
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Tools for Applesauce

  • Peeler
  • Paper plates, one per student
  • Plastic knives, one per student
  • Pot
  • Stirring spoon or ladle
  • Hot plate
  • Cups, one per student
  • Spoons, one per student
  • Optional: Apple corer
  1. On chart paper, make a four-column chart with the labels Tree, Plant, Vine, and Underground. You will be charting how fruits and vegetables grow.
  2. Make a class set of the Farm Plants Graphic Organizer printable.
  3. The day you make applesauce, wash, peel, and core half the apples ahead of time. You can sit them in a little water with lemon juice to keep them from browning. Students will cut the remaining apples during class, but you may want to prep those as well.
  4. Write the following simple recipe for applesauce (or your own recipe) on chart paper:

Applesauce Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • A lemon

Directions for Apple Sauce:

  1. Chop the apples.
  2. Put them in a pot.
  3. Add water and lemon juice. Boil.
  4. Add sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Eat!

Day 1

Step 1: Talk to students about the food that comes from farms. Last week you probably talked about food that comes from animals, and this week you are going to focus on food that comes from plants. Ask students if they know about any food that comes from a plant. Show them the cover of The Surprise Garden and talk about the vegetables on the cover of the book. Read the book aloud.

Step 2: After reading the book, review which fruits and vegetables grow on a farm. Send students to their tables to write a list of five fruits or vegetables that grow on a farm.

Step 3: When students are finished, have them return to the rug. Highlight the work of students who thought of different kinds of fruits and vegetables that grow on a farm.

Day 2

Step 1: Show students The Surprise Garden again. Look through it at the pictures of the vegetables and talk about how the vegetables grow (on a plant, underground, etc.). Show students pictures from other farm books to facilitate this discussion. As you talk about how the fruits and vegetables grow, fill out the chart you made ahead of time.

Step 2: Display and explain the Farm Plants Graphic Organizer printable. Send students to their tables to complete the Farm Plants Graphic Organizer.

Step 3: As students finish, they can return to the rug so you can share their work.

Day 3

Step 1: Review the work that students did yesterday. Use the work to remind them about the different ways fruits and vegetables grow. Explain that today they will be making a “cross-section” of a farm. On a sheet of chart paper, sketch out a cross-section. Include a tree, a plant, a vine, and a root vegetable. Tell students that they can design their farm with any fruits and vegetables they want, but they need to have food from a tree, a plant, and a vine, plus a root vegetable.

Step 2: Send students to their tables to use construction paper to design their farm cross-section.

Step 3: While students are working, highlight work from students who thought of different fruits and vegetables to put in their cross-section (rather than those who are copying yours).

Step 4: When students finish, have them come to the rug. Present some of the finished cross-sections.

Day 4

Step 1: Have the chart paper with the applesauce recipe at the rug. Tell students that today they will be using a fruit from a tree to make something to eat, but you need their help to read this recipe so you know what to use. Using the recipe as a ‘clue,’ sound out (and use other reading strategies) to figure out what ingredients you need to make applesauce. Then read together what you need to do with the ingredients.

Step 2: Take a field trip to the bathroom to wash hands! When you return, give each student a half of an apple on a paper plate and a plastic knife. Instruct students to carefully cut their apples. When they are done, have them put the cut apples in your pot (before the pot is on the hot plate).

Step 3: Have student helpers add the water, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice as you progress through the recipe. Keep checking the recipe with students to make sure that all ingredients were added and all steps were followed.

Step 4: Smell that applesauce cooking! Shoo away pesky visitors, and finally, eat up! I usually give each student a cup of applesauce and a spoon to eat it with.

Day 5

Step 1: Review the recipe from yesterday and tell students that they will be making their own recipe to take home. Model this by dividing a new piece of chart paper in half. At the top, write and draw the ingredients. At the bottom, write and draw three or four steps.

Step 2: Send students to their tables to write their own recipes. When they finish, share good work!

Students who have allergies to apples can help cook by adding water and cinnamon to the pot before the apples are added (depending on the severity of the allergy). Make sure to have a little snack for them to eat while the others are sampling the applesauce. When you have finished cooking, be sure to clean all the tables well to remove any apple-remnants that might affect the students.

Students can make other simple recipes with farm fruits and vegetables. They can make a tossed or fruit salad. Everyone could contribute one piece of food. I have done this before with fruit and called it a “Friendship Salad.”

Students can look for other apple recipes at home and bring them in to make a class cookbook.

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