Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegetables from Underground

Leading up to Thanksgiving I will be teaching a food unit in my preschool (ages 3-5) classroom. I plan on posting lots of ideas to share with all my blogging friends as a way to say 'THANK YOU' for all the resources you've shared with me this year. (Especially the Math Work Stations linky crew.) I feel very grateful to have a professional learning community that spans the globe!

*Opening Circle - Ask the children - “What are some of your favorite vegetables?” Draw responses onto poster board.
Read aloud - Vegetables in the Garden - A First Discovery Book. Show the children how the transparent pages reveal another picture underneath.

Another excellent read aloud would be - Tops & Bottoms by Jane Stevens is wonderful book to read aloud to talk about the difference between vegetables that grow underground and above. The smart Rabbit does such a good job of tricking the bear with what they are harvesting.  It’s good to talk about how the Rabbit made sure he thought things all the way through. The lazy bear did NOT think things through so he kept getting tricked by the Rabbit. Help kids brainstorm how this applies to their lives, which is more age appropriate for a 5 year old.

*Discovery - “Today our focus is learning about plants that we eat that are from under the ground.” Show a picture of a carrot growing. Discuss the concept of above/below ground.

“Which part of the carrot plant do we eat?”
Then show a picture of a potato plant, garlic and lettuce. “Which part of these plants do we eat?”
Pass around a bulb of garlic. Explain that garlic is planted in the fall and harvested the next fall. Break open several bulbs and give each child 1-2 cloves to plant.

*Active Game - Play Hot Potato or do a Relay Race using carrots as the batons.

*Snack Ideas -

Carrot Taste Test - fresh vs. cooked

Ask if any parents would lend a juicer machine so the class could sample fresh carrot juice.

Brainstorm other ways that carrots can be eaten - carrot muffins, carrot cake, carrot slices (rounds), cut with wavy cuter, shredded carrots (like in coleslaw), carrot juice, mashed carrots).

 *Sensory Table - freshly dug carrots to wash. The green tops will be left on and kids will have safety scissors to trim the leaves. I think this activity will really reinforce the concept of ‘under ground’.

 *Play dough Table - have brown, orange, green play dough available. Encourage kids to make pretend underground veggies - carrots, potatoes, etc.

*Water Table - sink or float with root vegetables 

*Science Center - take the top of a carrot, trim the leaves away. Use toothpicks to prop the carrot in a shallow dish of water. Observe for several days to see if it grows. Measure the leaves. 

*Art-print making with underground vegetables - potatoes, carrots, turnips 

*Easel painting with orange, green, brown paints  

*Math - ordering by size small, medium, large. Have three different sized carrots and help children order them.

Try hiding seven paper potatoes (numbered 1-7) around the classroom. Kids go on a potato treasure hunt. As they find them they bring them to the table to match them to the number line.

Counting rhyme to learn - Begin by showing the kids how to hold their hands in a fist. Have the kids stand in a circle with their fists out with their thumbs facing the ceiling. Tap one fist as the rhyme is repeated, the fist that is landed on when you say 'more' has to put it behind their back. Keep repeating until there is just one potato remaining. { To make this go faster and so there are several winners, divide the class into 2-3 groups (depending on adults) before saying the rhyme.}

{I made a rebus rhyme of this to send home but can't post it since I used clip art from Microsoft.}
 One potato, two potato,
Three potato, four;
Five potato, six potato,
Seven potato, more?

  *Writing Center - precut carrots and potatoes and brown construction paper

*Mr. Potato Head ~ the kids will be excited to dress up our own spuds!

*Farm themed toys & books added to existing centers in the classroom.

* Closing circle - What is one thing you have learned about underground vegetables today?

Books about underground vegetables:

Vegetables in the Garden - A First Discovery Book.

Tops & Bottoms by Jane Stevens

Growing Vegetable Soup - Lois Ehlert

Eating the Alphabet - Lois Ehlert

Carrot Soup by John Segal

The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck

The Life Cycle of a Carrot by Linda Tagliaferro

Carrots, Carrots, Carrots! by Kristin Marder

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Rabbit Food by Susanna Gretz

From Eye to Potato (Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers: How Things Grow)

Online Resources:

Lots of potato ideas here -

Growing a Sweet Potato here -

Mr. Potato meets Play Dough - this looks exciting!

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