Groundhogs, Vegetables and More

Earlier this month the venerable weather forecaster Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and made the bleak prediction that there would be six more weeks of winter. The weather in Iowa seems to agree with him as the temperature rarely rises above 32 degrees F. But, spring will come! And that means planting! That means crops. That means flowers. That means vegetables and gardens and so much more! Teaching others about the magic of growing things is fun and easy. Here are our top 8 recommendations for starting spring on an educational high note:

  1. five_me_fiveGive Me Five! This fun and engaging lesson is perfect for an upper elementary classroom. Introduce students to the importance of eating healthy and including the five main food groups. You can do extension activities and talk about all of the different types of fruits and vegetables that can fit into a healthy diet. You can also have students plant different types of vegetable seeds and grow their own salad!
  2. Why are vegetables sold by the pound in a grocery store? Find out in teaching the upper elementary lesson By the Pound to students. This interactive lesson reinforces math skills like measuring, estimation, weight and volume, addition and subtraction. How else do we measure the food we eat?
  3. Vegetable-growing-cheat-sheetPlan your garden. The soil is still too cold to put seeds in, but use this time to make a plan. Figure out what seeds you want to buy. Decide when each seed should be planted. You can even draw a map of your future garden so that you’ll be able to maximize the space you have available whether that is a pot on the porch or a half acre in the back yard. Click here to follow some step-by-step planning.
  4. Read Eating the Alphabet by Lois Erlet with your lower elementary students. Even some adults might be hard pressed to name a fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet. For families this can also be a great game to play on a road trip. Go around in a circle and every person in the car name a fruit or vegetable that starts with the next letter in the alphabet. How many times can you make it A to Z? Get stuck? Check this website out for a quick hint.
  5. GardeninGlove1-225x300Garden in a Glove. Just because you can’t grow things outdoors yet doesn’t mean you can’t continue the learning indoors. This is a great visual way of comparing seeds, comparing growth, and learning about everything from the first root to the first leaves. Follow the step-by-step found here.
  6. When Vegetables Go Bad. This work of fiction written by Don Gillmor is a great tool to introduce nutrition to younger audiences (and get them to eat their vegetables). So, the lesson is: eat your veggies and the nightmares will stop 🙂
  7. Who Grew My Soup Song. We all know that students learn in a variety of ways. Connect agriculture to music with this memorable sing along based on the popular book. Read the book first and then teach the song. Talk about fun!
  8. Re-grow food from kitchen scraps. Involving kids in the kitchen can be a great way of helping them learn about nutritious eating. Invite them to help you cook a meal. Then, take it one step farther and plant some scraps to start growing your own food. When I was in third grade I did this with a pineapple we bought. Many years later that pineapple was still a great addition to our house plants. It even inspired a vacation to Costa Rica and a pineapple plantation. So, what can you grow? And where will it take you? Check out the how-to here.

cover4 We hope that these few tips will get you excited and motivated to get planting! Leave a comment below with your spring inspired lesson. Or tell us how any of these lessons worked for you!

-Will

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