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Dirt Made My Lunch

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FoodCorps Lesson: Dirt Made My Lunch
FoodCorps Service Member: Melissa Tinling

Theme: Decomposition and Food
Ages/Grade Level: 3rd
Subject Area: Social studies / science / music
Lesson Time: 30min.
Learning Objectives:
– NC/Common Core Standards met:

Prep Time: N/A
– Garden journals
– copies of lyrics (see attached)
– white/chalk board
Opening (5 min)
1. “I was just looking at the lunch menu today. MMMmmmmm… ________, __________ and ________!”
Do you know who made your lunch today? Call on students to share their idea. Answer “Nope” to all of
them- try to get them working towards it- they will usually guess up to farmer or gardener
2. “I’ll tell you: DIRT made your lunch!!!!!!!!!” (students chime in with a chorus of delighted “ewwww!”)
“That sounds so crazy, right? How could dirt make your lunch? Hmmm…” → think pair share.
3. That’s right, dirt made your lunch because all our food comes from plants that grow in the dirt.
4. (Optional: explain that “dirt” is not a very nice word, that the respectful word is “soil”. Soil means the dirt plus all the things living in it, like little bugs, and the water, and everything else. Scientists say “soil”)
Lesson Activity (15 min)
1. Draw a lunch item on the board. If possible use the actual menu from that day; otherwise,
cheeseburgers work great. Have students turn journals sideways, like a laptop, and copy the drawing.
2. Explain that we are going to trace each part of the lunch backwards (walk backwards) from the tray all the way to the dirt.
3. Write each successive item across the page with arrows pointing LEFT. Circle “DIRT” when you get to it.
-Example: cheese ← milk ← cow ← corn/grass/hay ← DIRT!
-Complete the rest of the items together as a class (students are copying)
4. Pass out lyrics and teach the song. Then teach the hand motions. (Dirt: place hand under chin and wiggle fingers. Made: grind stacked fists together, like you’re wringing out a towel. My: point to yourself. Lunch: Make and L with your right thumb and pointer). Thank you: Move palm of hand from chin forward 90 degrees. A bunch: Move both hands in a wide arc. Salad: toss a salad with scooping hands.
Sandwich: hold up both hands and bite into an imaginary sandwich. Milk: pretend to milk a cows udder.
Munch: (pretend to bite off of a large carrot.) Practice a few times, then go outside to sing it to the garden!
5. While you’re out there, take the opportunity to taste something right from the garden to solidify the connection that soil makes food. (even some little herb leaves are fun).
Wrap up (10 min)
1. Have a class conversation about how dirt makes everything we eat, everything we use, and everything we wear. Students pose questions, like “how did dirt make my pencil/shirt/sneakers?”, and the class works together to trace those items back to the dirt.
● Collaborate with the music teacher.
● Read a book about soil or about this chain from soil to spoon. Great options are:
○ Soil (Flanagan AK) High Point Library J577.5
○ Soil (Pascoe E) High Point Library J577.57
○ Soil Basics (Mari C. Schuh)
○ Kailey’s Ag AdventuresThe
Soil Neighborhood (Dan Yunk)
○ All this in just one cookie (Goodman) food
origins traced back to the soil!
○ “How did that get to my table?” series (Rosenberg or Dolbear) Cherry Lake Publishing
○ “First Facts: From Farm to Table” series (Basel and Roberta)
● Once students know this sign language, it works great for “if you can hear me…” prompts.

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