Summary of Unit and Sequence of Lessons:
Students use recycled plastic/paper pots to plant cherry tomatoes, lettuce, parsley and strawberries. During this unit, students gain knowledge and understanding about healthy eating and practical skills in food production. Students will be exploring how plants are grown for food and how food is selected and prepared for healthy eating. This unit is not designed to be laborious for students or teacher. It is a fun, interactive unit of discovery lessons.
Australian Curriculum Links:
- Explore how plants and animals are grown for food, clothing and shelter and how food is selected and prepared for healthy eating (ACTDEK003)
- Sequence steps for making designed solutions and working collaboratively (ACTDEP009)
- Use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to safely make designed solutions (ACTDEP007)
Sequence of Lesson Ideas and Activities:
Week 1 Lesson 1
Teacher introduces unit concept and seedlings or more established plants (depending on time frame available for growth) are put into pots and watered. Students are rostered to watering duties throughout the term. At this point, students can also make identification stakes using paddle pop sticks and paint or markers.
Week 2 Lesson 2
Teacher takes students to observe what growth has been made during the week. Students discover what watering does to the growth of plants. Teacher may prompt students to imagine what the students plants may look like in another week. This should cause discussion and intrigue. Some students may wish to measure their plants growth (and depending on the child’s capacity) plot its growth on a chart. Other students may complete a weekly sketch of their plants.
Week 3 Lesson 3
Before checking the plants the teacher engages students in a conversation about healthy eating. Students use the worksheet provided to colour and texture healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, using crepe paper, cellophane, pencil shavings etc. Students are asked what they think are healthy foods and why they think such foods are healthy. The artwork can be used as decoration around the classroom. Teacher can link the foods they are growing to health and nutrition before making their way to the garden to water and care for the plants. Again, some students may measure and plot the growth of their plants or sketch them.
Week 4 Lesson 4
Teacher uses the Interactive Whiteboard that shows various images of foods both healthy and unhealthy. Students are chosen one by one to identify (circle) the healthy foods. Teacher can use prompting questions to informally quiz students on their developing knowledge and understanding of how plants are grown and why fruits and vegetables are healthy. Students are given a worksheet with various images of food. Students circle the foods that are healthy and cross out foods that are unhealthy. By now the students plants should be growing quite well and have doubled or more in size! This should cause interest and intrigue. Those students who are sketching and/or plotting plant growth will begin to see progress. Teacher can engage students in meaningful conversation about plant growth.
Week 5 Lesson 5
Students watch the ‘Healthy Food Song for Children – Healthy Food Will Make You Smile – Debbie Doo’ YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ60zhvMlGk (Video at the top of this lesson) Students can learn song and sing to school on assembly. At this stage the plants will be growing well and could have fruit forming. The lettuce will be getting close to picking! It would be beneficial for the plants to get some organic, liquid fertilizer such as ‘Charlie carp’.
Week 6 Lesson 6
By now the plants (especially the lettuce) will have grown considerably and the students will be very excited about the prospect of eating them! Whilst students are watering and caring for their plants, the teacher can cause conversation with individuals about what they might want to make with their produce i.e. cheese and lettuce sandwich, ham, cheese and tomato toastie, strawberry yogurt or smoothie etc.
Week 7 Lesson 7
Fun ‘Healthy Food’ Game stations – divide the class into groups of 4 and set up ‘Game stations’ in the classroom. Each table participates in a healthy food game or activity. Teacher may time each station and rotate students each 7 – 10 minutes. Don’t forget to water the plants! Plot, sketch and discuss the growth of the plants.
Week 8 Lesson 8
Skill development lesson – Students are given the option of 3 fruits and/or vegetables. With teacher guidance, students work in pairs to make a salad for morning tea. Depending on the capacity of students, there may be bowls of pre-cut fruit or students can use ‘KiddiKutter’ knives to prepare food.
Week 9 Lesson 9
Recipe fun finding lesson – students are given the option of 3 recipes to which they have to choose (or teacher delegates) one. It is a teacher guided lesson outlining a ‘procedure’. Teacher talks about the importance of following a recipe and (depending on the capacity of children) has students re-write the recipe into their workbooks. This is the recipe they will be making with their produce next week!
Week 10 Lesson 10
Yummy, yummy in my tummy! – It’s time to harvest (if possible) the parsley, lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes! Students work in groups to produce the recipe from the previous week. Students may take photos and share them on the school website or Facebook page!
- Anecdotal – Teacher uses professional judgement to assess students progressive learning throughout unit
- Observation – Teacher observes student engagement and the use of materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to safely make designed solutions (ACTDEP007)
- Formal and informal questioning – Teacher uses formal questioning to assess students’ knowledge and understanding of how plants are grown for food and how food is selected and prepared for healthy eating (ACTDEK003)
- Worksheets – Teacher marks student achievement (ACTDEK003) (ACTDEP009)
- Understanding a procedure (recipe) (ACTDEP009)
- Paddle pop sticks
- Lettuce seedlings (1 per student)
- Parsley seedling (1 per student)
- Cherry tomato plants (1 per student)
- Strawberry plants (1 per student)
- Potting mix
- Recycled pots (or paper pots)
- Worksheet 1 – My Plant Growth Chart Sketches (DOCX)
- Worksheet 2 – My Plant Measurement Growth Chart (DOCX)
- Worksheet 3 – Healthy Foods Colouring Sheets (DOCX)
- Worksheet 4 – Identify Healthy and Unhealthy Foods (DOCX)
- ICT and the Internet / YouTube
- Recipe Ideas – 3 Options (DOCX)
- Food preparation and (possibly) cooking equipment
- Digital Camera
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