After teaching this unit last year, I knew I had to update my vegetable lessons and activities, especially since we are a 1:1 school with iPads! So, I’ve spent the better part of six months trying to figure out how to make this unit more engaging, both with and without technology! I am super pleased with the results, as are my students! These lessons focus on students’ preexisting knowledge of vegetables, the consumption of vegetables (habits as well as reasons to consume), nutritional value and subgroups and vegetable classifications. Because knife skills are used in the lab options, be sure to cover that information prior to the lab(s). As always, if you have any additional ideas for successfully teaching about vegetables, please share in the comment section below!
- Ask students to brainstorm as many vegetables as they can in one minute. As students share, create a master list on the board.
- As a bell ringer response, ask students how many of the listed vegetables they actually eat and to explain why they do or do not eat vegetables.
- I find that many times students can name/list vegetables, but they can’t identify them if shown the actual vegetable or picture. I share grocery store stories of how checkers often don’t know the vegetables I’m buying by sight…especially if there is no numerical code on the produce. I have to chuckle at what they initially call the vegetables…much like this clip from Jamie Oliver with first graders.
- So, to test their identification knowledge of vegetables, I have them participate in two trivia games. The first is a SPORCLE game and the second is from Fun Trivia. Have students share their scores.
- iPads or Laptops
- Envelopes & Classification Cards
- Crayons or Colored Pencils
- Lab Supplies
Vegetable Consumption & Nutrition
- The first thing we look at is whether or not Americans are consuming enough vegetables. Students read this article from TIME and identify 3 key points. Students then look at the percentage of adults eating enough vegetables from our state using this website. As they are looking at the numbers associated with each state, I have them find two states that are consuming more vegetables than our state along with two states that are consuming less than our state. We discuss the results of all of this information.
- Next, students explore why we should eat vegetables by viewing this video clip. Students are to list and summarize the reasons in their own words.
- Students then visit the MyPlate website to learn more about vegetables, the subgroups, the suggested servings for their ages and some nutrition and health benefits. See the attachment below.
- Explain to students that vegetables are classified by the part of the plant they come from. See how many students know by having them play the match game.
- Copy the cards onto card stock for durability. Cut apart the cards, shuffle and place in an envelope. Create enough envelopes for the number of small groups you have playing.
- Student groups are to match the cards by classification name, description and examples.
- Go over the correct answers.
- Students will fill in the notes grid once they have the correct answers.
- Students then use their notes to complete the Color Coded Vegetable Classification Chart (see below).
Vegetable Labs Options
- Creative Vegetable Trays–I provide students with a variety of fresh vegetables and they have to apply their knife skills when working with them to prepare a creatively shaped vegetable tray. I show them a samples of creative vegetable trays from Pinterest and explain that they can use any vegetables they want (provided they are available), however, they must incorporate at least 5 into their design. They may also locate and prepare a homemade dip of their choice as well.
- Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Stir Fry
Vegetable Cooking Methods
- Student lab groups will create a Public Service Announcement titled #EATMOREVEGGIES using any recording app. Since we are 1:1 with iPads, we use iMovie. See the guide sheet and rubric below for details. For fun and inspiration, I show this parady.
- Vegetable Bunting Bulletin Board or Room Decoration: Randomly assign each student a certain number of vegetables to create pennants–Haiku style around–see the sample below. When writing about their vegetable, they must include information about a nutrition/health benefit of the vegetable and/or information about it’s classification/sub-group.These will be combined to create a Vegetable Bunting to be hung in the room or on a bulletin board. Below you will find the template. Again, these can be hand-generated or computer generated and printed out in color….your call!
- MyPlate–Vegetables (PDF)
- VegetableClassification–Cards (PDF)
- Vegetable Classifican Grid_Notes (PDF)
- Color Coded Classification Chart for Vegetables (PDF)
- PSA-#EATMOREVEGGIES (PDF)
- PSA Rubric
- Digital Vegetable Bunting _ Sample_ PPT
Knife Skills Resources
- Knife Skills: A Hands On Lesson
- Alton Brown Good Eats: American Slicer–an oldie,but goodie for demonstrating or reviewing various knife cuts! Also available on Amazon.
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at Free Digital Photos.