Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Activity: Veg-Tea-Ble Party!

Instead of having a traditional tea party, invite your students to a Veg-tea-ble Party. Have students taste various fruits and vegetables or sample microgreens from your microfarm instead of snacking on cookies and crumpets.

You can set up the tables as you would a regular tea party. Invite students to get dressed up and bring a “guest” stuffed animal or toy. Make the Veg-tea-ble Party something special and out of the ordinary so that kids get excited about trying something new.

Encourage kids to try each fruit and vegetable. Remind them that they don’t have to like everything but they should at least taste it. Also remind students to be polite and not say “yuck” or other negative comments about the food. Tell them that the “chef” has worked hard to make these fruits and vegetables. Limiting the number of “yucks” also prevents students from discouraging each other from trying foods.

If you host your own Veg-tea-ble Party, we would love for you to share stories and your experiences!

Cheers!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Activity: Veggie Stamp Holiday Cards

Instead of using store bought holiday cards, consider having students make their own unique cards using fruits and vegetables.

Materials:
  • Paper
  • Tempera paints
  • Paper plates
  • Paint brushes
  • Knife
  • Various fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, cucumbers, star fruit, apples, mushrooms, carrots, or broccoli.

Activity:

  1. Cut fruits and vegetables into manageable sizes for kids to use as stamps. If you're feeling creative, try carving shapes, such as stars, hearts or letters, out of the potatoes or other fruits and vegetables.

  2. Put tempera paint onto paper plates for each student.

  3. Instruct students to use the paint brushes to apply paint to the fruits and vegetables and then stamp them onto paper. Students can create collages or try to create a holiday scene for a holiday card.

  4. Don't forget to remind students to not snack on their stamps. ;)

  5. Let their artwork dry and then proudly display their work around the classroom or give as gifts!

(photo from http://whipup.net/2006/09/18/veggie-prints/)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Article: "A Kids-Eye View of White House Gardening"

I came across this article online. http://www.dcfoodforall.com/content/kids-eye-view-white-house-gardening

It features an interview with two 5th graders from Bancroft Elementary who are helping with the White House garden.

The interview illustrates the profound impact that gardening has on the students. The students also discuss school lunches and their desire for healthier foods.

Excellent article and great motivation to start a school garden!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gardening and History

A garden provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss American history with your students.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson grew 250 varieties of more than 70 different species of vegetables
? In fact, if you visit the Thomas Jefferson Foundation website, you can purchase some of Jefferson's seeds, for the low, low price of $2.50 per packet. Don't forget to search by the correct gardening zone--zones 3, 4, or 5 for those fellow Wisconsin gardeners out there.

Did you know that Michelle Obama did not start the first garden at the White House
? Vegetable gardens at the White House date back to Thomas Jefferson, Quincy Adams, all the way through Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt revived the garden during World War II to show her support for the Civilian Defense Program and to encourage citizens to start their own gardens. (More info here).

Did you know that Native
Americans introduced the pilgrims to potatoes, beans, peppers, tomatoes, and squash; while the pilgrims introduced the Native Americans to carrots, wheat, rice, oranges, and wine grapes?

For some more historical connections, go here.

The connections are really endless. Why not focus an entire unit on the historical significance of gardening in the US? You can have students research prominent gardening figures, such as Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, or George Washington Carver, among others. You can discuss how gardening and agricultural practices have changed throughout history, especially in regards to the industrial revolution. Or you can research the history of how certain fruits and vegetables arrived in the United States.

Have you done a history lesson on gardens? I would love to hear what you did and how it worked! Leave your comments below!

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Grab and Go" Gardening Related Worksheets

Looking for some easy "Grab and Go" gardening-related worksheets for your students?

Visit the "Teaching Tools" section of http://www.gotdirtwisconsin.org for some new, quick and easy worksheets, including:
  • A-Maze-ing Plant Parts
  • Food Find
  • Word Scramble

Do you have suggestions for more "Grab and Go" worksheets or activities? What types of worksheets or activities would you like to see? Let us know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Activity: How does your garden grow?

This sequencing activity allows children to imagine being a farmer or gardener. Children will practice following directions, putting items into a sequence or particular order, and using basic addition and subtraction.


Materials:
Worksheet containing images of four tomatoes, four ears of corn, four heads of lettuce and four carrots
Brown construction paper
Coloring supplies
Scissors

Activity:
  1. Give each student the vegetable worksheet, one piece of brown construction paper, coloring supplies and scissors.

  2. Have students color and cut out the pictures of the vegetables. Make sure that students color in the vegetables the appropriate colors.

  3. Explain to students that we will now plant our garden but we have to follow very specific instructions to make sure that everything grows.

  4. Tell students that the piece of brown construction paper is their garden. The side of the paper closest to them is the front of the garden and the edge of the paper that is furthest away from them is the back of the garden. (It may be useful to demonstrate this to students to avoid confusion)

  5. As you read each example to the class, have students arrange their vegetables in their garden. Tell students that they may need to rearrange or change their vegetables as each clue is given. Read each example two or three times so that students can check their work. You may need to do the first example together so students get an idea of what they are supposed to do.

    EXAMPLE ONE:
    The tomatoes get planted in the front row of the garden.
    The lettuce gets planted in a row behind the tomatoes.
    The corn gets planted in a row in front of the lettuce.
    The carrots get planted in the back row of the garden.



    EXAMPLE TWO:
    The corn gets planted in the front row of the garden.
    The tomatoes get planted in the back row of the garden.
    The lettuce gets planted in a row right behind the corn.
    The carrots get planted where you think they should go.



    EXAMPLE THREE:
    The yellow vegetable gets planted the back row of the garden.
    The red vegetable gets planted in a row right in front of the yellow vegetable.
    The green vegetable gets planted in the front row.
    The orange vegetable gets planted where you think it should go.



    EXAMPLE FOUR:
    The yellow vegetable gets planted in a row in the middle of the garden.
    The red vegetable gets planted in a row in front of the yellow vegetable.
    The green vegetable gets planted in the back row of the garden.
    The orange vegetable gets planted in the front row of the garden.




  6. After reading each example, review it together and show the correct arrangement of vegetables.

  7. After completing each example or after doing all of the examples, students will now "harvest" their vegetables. Read each "recipe" below and have students remove the appropriate number of vegetables from the garden and place them in an imaginary basket. You can follow up by asking students how many vegetables are left in the garden or row, how many vegetables did they pick from the garden, etc.

    RECIPE 1:
    Two heads of lettuce
    Three ears of corn
    One tomato
    One carrot

    RECIPE 2:
    Three ears of corn
    Four carrots
    Two heads of lettuce

    RECIPE 3:
    Two tomatoes
    Three carrots
    All of the lettuce
    One ear of corn

    RECIPE 4:
    One head of lettuce
    One tomato
    Two carrots
    Two ears of corn





Activity adapted from AIMS Education Foundation's "The McGregors' Garden" Activity