Singing about plant parts

Garden programming is up and running again at Blake.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve worked with Kindergarten to grade 3 classes, learning about plant parts that we eat.  With Kindergartens, I’ve been doing Plant Part Yoga as I did last year. This year, I’ve also started singing the plant parts song from the Plant Part Yoga lesson plan (from FoodShare), which the kids have really enjoyed. (Check out the link above for the lyrics.) I was a bit shy to sing it earlier, because I didn’t remember the tune, but then realized that really, I can just make up a really simple tune since the kids are just repeating after me. It’s a song with a) actions, and b) the word “poop”, so you know it’ll be a hit with the kindies!

With grade 1s, we did a Plant Part Relay Race (also the same as I did with grade 1s last year). With this lesson, I was finding the kids having trouble figuring out the plant parts and especially distinguishing between seeds and fruits (which have seeds IN them). A lot of them also seem to have an aversion to eating roots, which grew in the dirt (which apparently is gross). I was trying to figure out how to better teach how to figure out what plant part were eating and was getting a bit frustrated with my teaching/lessons.  But then I stopped and asked myself: “What is the goal of these lessons?” Initially I was focusing on really having them learn what parts of the plant they’re eating, but realized that what is more important at a grade 1 level is a) that they start learning the different parts of a plant and their general functions, and b) that they realize that most of what we eat comes from plants.

My grade 2/3 lesson this year is one that I hadn’t done before, based on a lesson plan called Grocery Bag Botany. We start by talking about what the kids had for breakfast. It’s fun watching the looks on kids’ faces when you start a lesson with “Who has eaten any plants today?”. The first reaction for most of them tends to be “ewww, noooo!”, but then they start listing some fruits they’ve eaten, and some even come up with the fact that bread and cereal also come from plants. Then we talk about the 6 main plant parts that we eat (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds), and then sort a bunch of foods into what plant parts we’re eating when we eat them. The kids then break into groups, where each group gets a grocery bag full of “groceries” (aka pictures I’ve cut out from grocery store flyers – very surprising how few pictures of root veggies there are in grocery flyers at this time of year!), which they have to sort into the six plant part categories.  I’ve only done this activity twice now, so I still have some kinks to iron out, but it’s gone pretty well and there’s been lots of enthusiastic discussion with the kids.  I also tried to incorporate a plant part song into this lesson the first time I did it, but I need to figure out a way to make the song more interactive so the kids get into it rather than just listening.  But if you feel like listening to some fun garden-themed music, check out the Banana Slug String Band’s album “Singing in Our Garden“.  Fun!!!  Look forward to figuring out how to use some more of these songs during the school year or at camp in the summer! Do you have any garden or food themed songs to share?

Happy growing!

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