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Melissa Tinling
North Carolina
CEFS & NC 4H; Guilford County Cooperative Extension & 4H
Theme: Garden/Growing
Ages/Grade Level: 3-5
Common Core Connections: depends on grade level!
Subject Area: English/Language Arts, Math

Prep Time: N/A
Time: 30 minutes
● garden journals (and/or loose leaf paper)
● colorful illustrated seed catalogs (class set or enough for one each per group of 3-5 students)
Background Info: N/A
Topics/Goals/Learning Objectives:
● Familiarize students with seed catalogs
● Understand that food we eat is grown from plants that start out as seeds
● Understand the planning required by farmers before the season begins
● Practice reading informational text, including using text features such as the Index
● Practice basic math with currency
*If class has already learned “Dirt Made My Lunch”, start there as a review and lead-in
1. Today we are going to go shopping for our lunch. But the food isn’t ready yet- we are going to shop for SEEDS that we would need to grow the PLANTS to make the lunch we want to eat!
2. Ask students (or groups) to write down a healthy lunch menu they would like to eat (garden journals or loose leaf paper). Encourage them to be creative and to “eat the rainbow” (5 colors of fruits and veggies). Assist with suggestions for rounding out the meal (add a salad, or a drink, etc.)
3. Have students/groups share their meal out loud.
4. Show a seed catalog to the class. Explain that we will use the catalog to look for all the ingredients we need to make our lunch. Explain that students will make a list by writing each plant ingredient in the catalog that they will need, how many seeds it has, and the price.
The Plan/Procedure/Lesson Activities:
1. Distribute seed catalogs.
2. Walk around room and assist students in finding and utilizing the text features (table of contents, index, captions, pictures, tables, etc.). Help students notice details in the text, like when to plant them and what they’re good for. Encourage them to marvel at the variety of colors and shapes.
a. NOTE: students will not be able to find all the ingredients they need. If they need meat or
dairy, talk about where that comes from and what those animals eat- they can buy the feed instead. If they need grains, look for some kind of oats or amaranth or corn instead.
3. When students have their lists complete, it’s time for MATH: (these are some suggestions- you may vary the problems by grade level)
a. Easy addition: Add up total number of seeds and total cost (make sure they understand that this is enough seeds to make hundreds of lunches!)
b. Averaging: Students circle the item with the most seeds in the packet. Students circle the item with the least seeds in the packet. Find average number of seeds.
c. Advanced multiplication and division: Lead students through an estimation of how many
lunches they can make. Example: “Okay, so we are going to have lots and lots of
vegetables! 100 tomato plants… but each plant grows lots of little red tomatoes on it. If
we say each plant will give us 5 tomatoes, how many tomatoes will we have?” 5 x 100 =
500. “WOW! That’s a lot of tomatoes! So, we’re making pizza. Pizza sauce uses lots of
tomatos. Let’s say each pizza uses 25 tomatos. How many pizzas could we make?” 500 /
25 = 20. “20 pizzas! Wow! How many lunches is that? Maybe every pizza serves 4 people”. 20 x 4 = 80. “80 lunches! Wow! That’s a lot.”
d. Make up your own!
Wrap up and Reflection:
● Lead discussion about how farmers have to plan ahead to have the right vegetables that people want to eat. Take questions about seed catalogs, seed shopping, etc.
● Students write in garden journals
● This lesson prepares students for actually selecting and ordering seeds for their garden. An easy next lesson could be to have students select favorite varieties and vote for which ones the class will actually purchase, within a budget (math)
● Interview a real farmer about how they decide what they will grow.
Lesson Resources and/or Credit for Adaption: N/A

Written By

Photo of Cynthia NielsenCynthia NielsenSchool Curriculum Coordinator, Horticulture (336) 641-2400 (Office) cynthia_nielsen@ncsu.eduGuilford County, North Carolina
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