Next week, from 14 – 22 August, is National Science Week in Australia. The theme for this year is Food: Different by Design which fits perfectly with this year being the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.
Focus on fruits and Vegetables
Here is a wonderful video promoting fruits and vegetables for the International Year.
The video is fun to watch and makes my mouth water with all the bright and colourful photographs of delicious fruits and vegetables. If you watch the video with your students, it may lead to many and varied follow-up discussions and activities. Here are just a few suggestions.
What fruits and vegetables can you name?
Which of them are fruits and which are vegetables?
What is the difference between fruit and vegetables?
Which of these fruits and vegetables have you tried?
Which is/are your favourites?
Is your favourite included in the video?
What is your favourite way to eat these fruits and vegetables?
Extend vocabulary — make a list describing the fruits and vegetables and what children like about them; for example: sweet, juicy, crunchy, soft, ripe, nutritious, delicious, raw, cooked, bitter, exotic.
Have children draw or write about their favourite fruit or vegetable treat.
Set up a fruit and vegetable market in the classroom using laminated children’s drawings or images cut from magazines; plastic, wooden or paper mache fruit and vegetables, and use it for a variety of activities including sorting and shopping.
Make a fruit salad or fruit kebabs. Invite every child to contribute a piece of fruit. Share it for brain break or morning tea.
Make vegetable soup. Invite children to contribute a vegetable. Serve it with bread or savoury scones, which you could also make, for lunch.
These readilearn resources provide suggestions for other lunch ideas that are easily prepared at school.
How to make a healthy smiley face sandwich is a procedural text with step-by-step instructions that are easy enough for children to follow on their own with the supervision of an adult in a small group. The activity is suitable for use in literacy groups. It could be incorporated into a unit focusing on healthy eating.
How to make a nutritious bunny breakfast shows in clear easy steps how children can make, with a little adult help, a nutritious snack for breakfast, lunch, or anytime. Great for Easter too!
Here are a few picture books that feature food including fruits and vegetables:
The Little Mouse, the Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Stone Soup by Ann McGovern
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Can I Eat That? by Joshua David Stein and Julia Rothman
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
While purchase of books is recommended (you could ask your school or local library to do so for you) to support the writers and illustrators, many of the stories are available on YouTube. Watching stories presented on video has been invaluable option during lockdowns but I don’t think anything can match a real book in a hand. I also recommend pre-watching videos before sharing them children to ensure suitability, even if you know the book.
Science Week — Food: Different by Design
Science week provides an opportunity to learn more about how food is produced, what foods our bodies need and how to prepare healthy meals. The topic is open.
There are also many other wonderful activities and resources available from OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.
At readilearn we also have some food-themed (not specifically fruit and vegetable) resources in the cooking collection which you may find useful.
How to make a Moon Cake The cake is made right in the pan in which it will be cooked. Children can be involved by taking turns to follow each step of the procedure.
Moon Cake Science Making a moon cake is more than just fun. Cooking provides many opportunities for engaging in scientific discussions. These suggestions encourage children to observe, ask questions, make predictions and offer explanations.
Let’s Make Pikelets is a quick and easy-to-make pikelet recipe. It is great for use in literacy, maths or science groups. Learning is integrated and it is always fun when you get to eat the results.
Biscuits for Anzac Day Anzac biscuits are a popular treat all year round, or were in my family as I was growing up, but especially around Anzac Day. This is my mum’s recipe.
How to make Pinwheel Sandwiches provides step-by-step instructions for making these delicate sandwiches which are as delightful to look at as they are delicious to eat. This recipe is not one for the children, but just right for teachers, parents, and others when entertaining at home, or contributing to a “bring a plate” function.
Children always enjoy growing plants. Whether in the classroom or in the classroom garden, growing plants can be easy, fun and packed with learning but require little preparation.
These activities help children develop an understanding of the different parts of plants and what plants need to grow.
- Grow a carrot top. Cut the leaves of the top of a carrot. Slice off the top and place it in a saucer of water and watch it grow a new top.
- Grow a potato or sweet potato. Choose an old potato or sweet potato. Cut it in half. Suspend it in a jar or bowl of water with the top out of the water. Watch the roots grow down and the leaves grow out.
- Grow alfalfa. Place a wad of wet cottonwool on a saucer or in an egg carton or cup. Sprinkle seeds over the top. Press them down gently. Place it in a sunny spot. Keep the cottonwool moist but not wet to see the seeds shoot.
- Grow bean seeds. Fill a jar with paper towels. Pour water into the jar to moisten the towels. Place bean seeds around the jar, between the glass and the paper towels. Put it in a sunny spot. Keep the paper towels moist but not wet. Watch the seeds germinate and grow leaves and roots.
- Grow Sunflowers. Sunflowers are great to grow with children as they grow quickly and grow tall. They can be planted in pots first and then planted out into the garden or planted straight into the soil. After the flowers have bloomed, the seeds can be collected to feed local birds.
- If space allows, a school or class vegetable garden is also a great project.
Books about growing plants
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Jack and the Beanstalk
Grace’s Mystery Seed by Juliet M. Sampson and Karen Erasmus
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Books about food and eating
Here are a few other books about food and eating.
Porcupine’s Picnic: Who Eats What? by Betsy J. Rosenthal
One Hungry Spider by Jeannie Baker
There was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly by Rose Bonne
The Gingerbread Man
The Three Bears
Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
And food for our planet: Recipe for Perfect Planet Pie by Kim Michelle Toft.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas for celebrating food, including fruits and vegetables.
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