The fifth grade is leading up to a study of photosynthesis, the process by which a plant uses carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water to make its own food. A close examination of roots, stems, and leaves will make the lesson more easily understood as the students will be able to visualize the components of the plants they are discussing. The sunflowers on the farm are (sadly) breathing their last, but Farmer John made good use of their remains this week by pulling them right out of the ground so that students could closely examine the plants starting at the roots. This exercise adds a key level of depth to their classroom science instruction by allowing the children to directly interact with plant life rather than just the concept of it from a text book.
Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page
Ms. Camp’s third grade class made their first trip down to the emerging kitchen classroom on the first floor today. Several other classes have been there before them as the weather has turned wet and chilly during these early fall days, and I believe the children’s assessment of this new feature of our farming program sounds something like this coming from little lips – “Yum!”
Farmer John began with a run through of all the safety tips necessary for this type of exercise. “No one touches the chef’s knives. Not yet. By the end of the year, all of you will be cutting up food, but not yet.” There were also reminders about crowding and being careful about the induction burners and the edges of the pans. Every head in the class nodded in agreement, every voice sounded their understanding. And then the fun began.
Everyone watched as John sliced the apples, and showed the students the ingredients that would make up their snack today – kale, apples, sunflower seeds, raisins, oil, salt and pepper. They tasted each of the ingredients individually before the cooking began. To mixed reviews. Especially concerning the raw kale.
Then the students lined up to each side of the table and took turns adding the ingredients to the pans as John tossed and tossed and stirred a little.
The smells filled the room. The kids took up the forks. And as John loaded up two large plates for all to share, I took off down the hall to deliver a taste to Principal Martin. Who loved it and left not a spot of food in the bowl.
I raced back down the stairs from where I had found Ms. Martin, anxious to try a bite of third grade culinary magic. But this is what I found.
I imagine it tasted wonderful. At least twenty or so smiling faces would seem to suggest so. Who said kids won’t eat kale?
As was our hope, the children’s learning time on the farm is becoming increasingly integrated into the academic curriculum inside school. This week, art teacher Greta Schorn guided our kindergarten students through their first still life lesson with sunflowers from the farm as their first subject. With awesome results. And some very proud and satisfied five and six year old artists.