Lesson #4: Producers
This week, students will review their knowledge of plant parts and functions, which will be followed by a brainstorming session to name as many local fruits and vegetables as possible. Once students have compiled their own unique list of fruits and vegetables- what do they all have in common? Photosynthesis! Students will learn the process by which plants convert sunlight, water, and CO2 into O2 and sugars! Students will then make a salsa that contains both botanical fruits (tomatoes, peppers, and limes), vegetables (cilantro and onions), and seeds (cumin and black pepper). Be sure to source as many ingredients as possible locally and share with students where the various ingredients traveled from to arrive on their plates!
In biology, producers generate food for themselves and others; while consumers do not produce anything, instead eating producers. Most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food
SWBAT draw a diagram of the inputs and products of photosynthesis.
SCIENCE 9 (A) investigate that most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food, while consumers are dependent on other organisms for food;
- Photosynthesis diagram worksheets, 1 per student
- Basket worksheet for brainstorm, 1 per student
- Cutting boards
- Salsa recipe, 1 per student
- Green bell pepper
- Lime juice
- Tortilla chips
- Small plates
Print photosynthesis diagram and basket worksheets, 1 per student
Timeline (1 hour total):
5 min Parts of a Plant Review
10 min Vegetable and Fruit Brainstorm
10 min Photosynthesis diagram
15 min Make It – Salsa
10 min Taste It – Salsa
10 min Clean-up (note: this is longer than normal clean up time as cutting tomatoes leads to seeds everywhere!)
- Parts of a Plant Review – Ask students the parts and their functions for plants. As they name each part, draw it on the board. Remind them of variations (leaf color, root shape, woody vs green stem, etc).
- Vegetable and Fruit Brainstorm – Distribute a copy of the basket worksheet and a pencil. Give the students 5 minutes to brainstorm as many fruits and vegetables as they can that they think grow locally. After the brainstorm, make a master list on the board from student suggestions. Address any misconceptions (Yes, banana plants can grow here sometimes but we don’t normally get banana crops.) End by mentioning that all plants use a process called photosynthesis to grow.
- Photosynthesis Diagram
- Part 1: Work with students to fill in the diagram on their paper as you draw and explain it on the board. Have students pay close attention to the arrows in the drawing – arrows show the direction that the energy moves. Draw attention to differences between plants and humans: Do we need sunlight to grow? Do we breathe in carbon dioxide? Do we breathe out oxygen?
- Part 2: Have students turn over paper and draw it again on their own, trying not to glance at the front of the paper. This is very challenging for students, so try to help them if they get stuck without looking at the other side of the paper.
- Make it – Salsa. Distribute materials to cut (knives, cutting boards) and materials to be cut (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, peppers). Notes: Cutting onions can really affect students’ eyes. Make sure there is good ventilation or pre-cut the onions. Test jalapenos for heat before adding to salsa – they can very in hotness. Students MUST wash hands after cutting jalapenos and onions! The residue can get in eyes, mouth, etc… and burn intensely.
Garden Fresh Salsa
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (remove seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Stir the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve.
- Taste It – Salsa. Distribute a serving of salsa and chips to each student.
- 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.
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