Wednesday, August 12, 2015

They have learned so much!

"They have learned so much!" That's what one of the Transition to Kindergarten teachers said to me as I left her classroom for the last time. I had been visiting 6 different classrooms once a week for the past four weeks to teach the students about the plant parts we eat and what plants need to grow.

Another teacher quipped, "I didn't know which plant parts I was eating until I went to college. It's great that they are learning about it now."

That was our goal: to get students thinking about where food comes from and to get teachers thinking about how to incorporate food literacy into their lessons.

Our first day started with Sunbutter and seed collections. Chef Guy Koppe from Project Bread led the kids in preparing Sunbutter, using this recipe. The students watch toasted sunflower seeds transform into creamy Sunbutter right before their eyes. 
Preparing and tasting sunbutter
After reading Seeds, seeds, seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace students carefully examined different seeds and glued them to paper plates to start their collections. They were encouraged to look for seeds while eating their snacks and meals and add what they found to their collections.
Starting a seed collection

Chef Guy continued his cooking demonstrations and taste tests with a Moroccan Carrot Salad and Freezer Bag Ice Cream with Peaches. During the final week, I made chickpea hummus served with cucumbers.
Prepping for hummus and cucumbers
Hummus and cucumber amuse bouche
The students bravely tried these new foods. And to their surprise - they liked them!
Hummus? Ok, I'll try it.

Thumbs up or down?

To continue the food literacy lessons, students grew bean babies in tiny plastic bag necklaces. We challenged the students to think about whether the beans would grow with no soil, little air, little water and no light, as the necklaces stayed hidden under their shirts for the next week.
Making bean babies

And grow they did! Forming tiny embryonic roots, stems and leaves.

Embryonic plant parts

We labeled a plant drawing with the parts we eat! Carrots are roots! Asparagus is a stem! Cabbage is a leaf! Broccoli is a flower! Zucchini is a fruit! Corn is a seed!
Plant parts that we eat!
The students also made Fabulous Five bead bracelets - each bead represents what a plant needs to grow: sun, water, air, space and soil!
Sun, water, air, space and soil!
On our final day we talked about healthy living and eating a rainbow! Students were gifted the PEP placemat so they can find their way to healthy living right here in Somerville!
Find your way to healthy living
Content provided by Karyn Novakowski, Somerville Farm to School Project Director and PEP Nutrition Education Coordinator.

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