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Food and Nutrition

Standards: 4.4 Agriculture and Society, 4.8 Humans and the Environment

Duration: 30 – 40 minutes

Setting: Inside or at Farm if fruits/vegetables available

Vocabulary: immune system, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, banana, orange

Summary: Students will learn about four different fruits and vegetables, how they grow in the earth, and how eating them can keep our bodies healthy. They will then try eating a piece of each example.

Objectives: Students will learn about how certain fruits and vegetables help their body stay healthy.

Materials:

  • Baby Carrots (enough for class)
  • Cucumber (enough for class)
  • Broccoli (enough for class)
  • Bananas (enough for class)
  • Oranges (enough for class)
  • Knife for cutting vegetables
  • Paper plates for children to use for food and then drawing

Background:

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diet! Most are grown on farms where they are cared for, harvested, and shipped to stores where we can purchase them. You can also grow some kinds of fruits and vegetables in your backyard!  Different plants grow in different ways—some vegetables grow beneath the soil underground, some grow on top of the soil, and some grow hanging off a stem or branch in a tree.

You may have heard that you need to drink milk to grow up and have strong bones. This is because different kinds of foods are good for us in different ways. We need all a variety of them to keep our bodies healthy and happy!

In this activity you will try small pieces of different fruits and vegetables. Each one is good for a different part of your body, and each one grows in different ways!

Procedure:

Warm Up:

Ask students how many of them like to eat fruits or vegetables. Ask them how many of them have ever grown some at home. How do they grow? How are they different? Also go over the idea of the food pyramid again, pointing out that we need a variety of foods to be healthy. We need so many different things because different foods help our bodies in different ways.

Explain to students that in this activity they are going to try different foods. They should each take just one bite of each food, and then they can decide if they want to keep eating it or not. If they decide they don’t like it they can just leave it on their plate, but they should try each at least once!

Activity:

Ask students if they have ever felt their heart beating hard after running fast or exercising. Explain that the heart pumps blood all through their body, from their fingers to their toes. A vegetable that is very good for the heart is broccoli! If we want to have strong hearts we should try this vegetable. Ask them if they know how broccoli grows. Show pictures and explain it grows above the ground. Hand out a small piece of broccoli to each child.  While they chew it, ask them to think about how it feels in their teeth. Is it soft? Crunchy? Slippery? Juicy? Dry? Does it remind them of anything?

After they are finished eating move on to the next vegetable—carrots. Explain that carrots are very good for their eyesight. If they want to see well at night and keep their eye’s healthy, carrots can be a good thing to eat. Ask if they know how carrots grow. Show pictures and explain that the carrot is the root of the plant, and grows underground. Pass out a baby carrot to each child. Ask them the same questions about how it tastes/feels. Ask them what kinds of animals they know eat carrots.

Repeat these steps with a cucumber. Ask students if they have ever gotten sick. Explain that what keeps us healthy and helps us recover from illness is something called the immune system.  Cucumbers keep this healthy, which can keep us from getting sick. Explain that cucumbers grow above the soil, but laying on top of it.

Repeat with an orange. Explain that an orange is a fruit that is great for keeping bones strong and healthy, just like milk. Show pictures of oranges growing on trees.

Repeat with a banana. Ask students if they like reading, writing, math, science, or any other subject! Explain that when they do all of these things—and everything else in life—they are using their brains! Bananas are great fruits that keep our brains healthy. Show pictures of bananas growing on trees—note they hang the opposite way of how you see them in stores!

Assessment:

Ask students how many of them like eating vegetables and fruits. How many might have some in their lunch today?

Ask students to give examples of the different ways fruits/vegetables grow.

Ask students to point to the body part that is helped by each food as you read them off.

Enrichment:

Have students draw a picture of each fruit or vegetable on the back of the plate they used to hold their samples. Write the names of each on the board and have students spell them on their plates.

Ask students if any of the foods they tried had seeds in them. In this case the orange, cucumber, and banana all have seeds!

Pictures/Handouts (Click to go)

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