Lesson #6: Seasonality
Throughout the Farm-to-Kids Texas 3-5 Educational Module, students have explored plant biology, soil requirements for a successful crop, and how plants fit into the food chain. In this final lesson, students will go deeper by learning how the environment dictates where particular plants can grow. Students will review a vegetable garden planting guide and seasonality wheel then put this knowledge into practice by cooking with a variety of seasonal, local fruits and vegetables. The students will choose between these fruits and vegetables to create their own personalized salads. Encourage students to try interesting combinations or a fruit/vegetable they may have never tried before!
An area’s climate determines the food that grows in that area.
SWBAT determine which foods grow during fall, winter, and spring
SCIENCE 8 (A) differentiate between weather and climate;
- Name tags
- Poster paper and markers OR Chalkboard and chalk
- Travis County Vegetable Garden Planting Guide copies, 1 per student
- Seasonality Wheels, 1 per student
- A variety of seasonal vegetables for chopped salad
- Cutting boards
- Washing bin
Copy your local county’s Vegetable Garden Planting Guide and print seasonality wheels (in color) for each student
5 min Name tags
5 min Introduction
10 min Seasons in Texas
10 min Seasonality Wheel
10 min Make It – Chopped Salad
5 min Taste It – Chopped Salad
5 min Clean-up
- Name tags. Have each student make a nametag that clearly shows their first name in letters large enough to identify across the classroom.
- Introduction. Have students make name tags, then sit in a circle. One at a time, have students say their name and one thing they enjoy eating. Afterwards, introduce yourself and share the goal and general outline of the class, focusing on the make and taste sessions.
- Seasons in Texas. Ask students what the climate is in this part of Texas. Overall, make sure they mention the change in temperature (hot in summer, mild in winter, variable in spring and fall) and the precipitation (heaviest in May, June, and October). If we check the temperature and precipitation on a daily basis, that tells us the weather. All this information put together over time is the climate. The climate in an area tells farmers what they can grow. Share that this part of Texas typically has 3 growing seasons – Spring, Fall, and Winter. During the heat of summer, it is challenging for farmers to grow anything so typically they take that time to prepare for fall. Distribute copies of the Travis County Vegetable Garden Planting Guide to each student. Have the students locate the months along the top of the guide. Then have them locate the solid black lines – this is the average date of first and last frosts. This tells farmers when they can plant vegetables so that they have time to grow before it gets too cold or hot. Ask students what vegetables can be planted in the cool months? What vegetables have a very short chance for planting? What vegetables can we plant most of the year? What other trends to they notice in planting?
- Seasonality Wheel – Sometimes it’s easier to see this information visually. Give each student the two pages for the seasonality wheels. They should cut out the wheels, including the cut out in the top page that will allow them to see sections in the bottom page. Have each student assemble their seasonality wheel using the colored pages and a brad so that the back page can turn.
- Make It – Bring a sample of the fresh vegetables available currently in season – as many colors and types as available. Have the students pick a vegetable that they can add to the chopped salad. Each student can peel and/or cut their vegetable to add to the salad. (Note: go over knife skills described below). A chopped salad has vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces. There will be no set recipe this week, as the mix will vary by season. An example recipe: 1 head of lettuce, 1 cup other vegetables (carrots, peas, radishes, tomatoes, etc.), 2 tablespoon fresh herbs. Toss in ¼ cup vinaigrette.
SAFETY IS ESSENTIAL! Knives will only be used for cutting fruits or vegetables. Any knife that leaves the table, is pointed toward another student, grabbed, thrown, or is played with in any way will result in the student sitting out the rest of the class and potential removal from the program. THESE ARE NOT TOYS.
- Demonstrate a good grip on the knife, where no fingers are underneath or in the way of the blade.
- Show students how to rock the knife from tip to end. This is the technique they will use for cutting. Depending on the material, they might also need to use a sawing method.
- Keep the other fingers out of the way as you move down the piece that you are chopping.
- Taste-It. Distribute a small serving of salad and a fork to each student. Allow them to taste and talk about their experience. It’s okay if they don’t like the food, but encourage children to let others experience the food and form their own opinions before sharing with the class. Ask students – did you know that these vegetables grow in our area?
- Clean-Up – Students will return the classroom to its previous state, including washing cutting boards and knives, and wiping down tables and floors as necessary.