Target Grade Level / Age Range:

K - 2 grades


Four, 45-minute classes


Students will explore healthy food options while learning about how these food options are grown.


  •  Day 1
    • Radishes and leafy green vegetables
    • Ranch dressing
    • Small paper plates
    • Napkins
    • Empty egg carton
    • Soil
    • Spray water bottle
    • Lettuce or radish seeds
    • Large plastic bag
    • Dandelions
    • Magnifying glasses
  • Day 2
    • Kohlrabi and snow peas
    • Ranch dressing
    • Small paper plates
    • Fishing pole with magnet attached to the end
    • Metal paper clips with pictures of food attached to them
    • 5 baskets representing the MyPlate food groups (fruits, grains, vegetables, protein, dairy)
    • One large basket
    • Seed catalogues
    • Card stock
    • Glue
    • Scissors
  • Day 3
    • Raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries
    • Yogurt dip
    • Paper plates
    • Napkins
    • White board
    • Farm to School Fruit.docx
    • Glue
    • Paper and pencil
    • Colored pencils
    • Black paint
  • Day 4
    • Honey and honeycomb
    • Tortilla chips or crackers
    • Parts of a bee hive

Suggested Companion Resources:

  • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons


  • Germinate – the process of a plant sprouting and beginning to grow
  • Pollinate – the process by which pollen is transferred from the male plant parts to the female plant parts, enabling fertilization and reproduction

Background – Agricultural Connections:

Farmers work every day to grow healthy food like fruits and vegetables. Many of these fruits and vegetables can be grown in Iowa, but some, like oranges and other citrus fruit, grow better in tropical states such as Florida.

If there is a farm to school program at your school, this lesson can be a good way to introduce those foods and increase students’ interest in them. On each day, there are tastings and activities planned, ranging from germinating seeds to naming fruits.

A key aspect of this lesson is iterating that fruits and vegetables give our bodies a variety of nutrients, from vitamins and minerals to fiber and some protein. We need a variety of vitamins and minerals to stay as healthy as possible, so by eating a varied diet with lots of colors, we can do that more easily.

All living things need food of some kind. Humans need varied diets with fruits and vegetables. Because humans need food that either grows in the ground or eats the things that grow in the ground, humans have historically lived near water sources and arable farmland.

Students will also learn about what seeds need to germinate or just start to grow. Seeds only need water and to be warm to start growing. After the seed has used up all of the energy inside of itself, then it will need sunlight, nutrients, air, space, and other things. The plant will then use nutrients from the soil and energy from the sun to keep growing.

Interest Approach or Motivator:

Ask students about their favorite fruits and vegetables. Make a list on the board. Ask students why it’s important that they eat a varied diet with fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Students should say that they get different nutrients from different foods, which keeps them healthy.


Day 1:

  • Station 1 – Tasting
    • Lay out radishes and leafy green vegetables for students to try. Supply ranch dressing for them to dip the vegetables in, as well.
    • Talk with students about the reasons we eat vegetables and the benefits of radishes and dark green vegetables.
      • We eat vegetables because they are rich in vitamins and minerals. We need lots of different nutrients to stay healthy. Eating a varied diet with different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-packed food keeps us healthy.
      • People need lots of different kinds of foods to stay healthy. We need food regularly. This is why people tend to live close to water and food sources, like arable farmland.
  • Station 2 – Caterpillar plants
    • Decorate an empty egg carton to look like a caterpillar (optional)
    • Put soil in the egg compartments.
    • Plant radish or lettuce seeds in the soil, and water them.
    • Place the egg carton in a plastic bag and observe it over several days, watering if necessary.
    • Talk with students about what is needed for plants to grow and how they begin to germinate.
      • Seeds only need water and warmth to germinate. After about a week they will also need nutrients, space, something to grow in, air, and sunlight.
  • Station 3 – Dandelions
    • Bring in enough dandelions for students to look at in pairs or individually. Have them use a magnifying glass to explore and describe what the plant looks like. Tell them to describe what they see.
    • Have the class discuss the benefits and negatives of dandelions. Does anybody’s family eat them? Try and get rid of them?
    • Optional – have students use parts of the dandelion to create a picture.

Day 2:

  • Station 1 – Tasting
    • Have students taste Kohlrabi and snow peas with ranch dressing. Talk with them about this healthy snack, sharing information about the vegetables themselves as well as why they are a good choice to eat.
      • Vegetables are low in calories, but fill us up and have a variety of nutrients.
  • Station 2 – Fishing for Food
    • Place the food items with paper clips attached to them in a large basket.
    • Food photos are saved in the Farm to School Food Pictures document.
    • Have students “fish” for food by dipping the end of the fishing pole with the magnet in the basket.
    • Anything students catch must be placed in the appropriate MyPlate food group basket.
      • Vegetables:
        • Carrots
        • Brussels sprouts
        • Green beans
        • Celery
        • Beet
        • Broccoli
      • Fruit:
        • Apple
        • Pear
        • Plum
        • Watermelon
        • Grapes
        • Pineapple
      • Dairy
        • Butter
        • Yogurt
        • Milk
        • Cheese
      • Grains:
        • Spaghetti
        • Bread
        • Oatmeal
        • Cereal
      • Protein
        • Pork chop
        • Peanut
        • Steak
        • Poultry



  • Station 3 – Bookmark
    • Have students cut out pictures of vegetables from seed catalogues and glue them to bookmark-sized cardstock pieces to create bookmarks.

Day 3:

  • Station 1 – Tasting
    • Have students try strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Supply yogurt dip for the fruits to be dipped in.
    • Have students identify the food group in which berries belong. Share with them some of the reasons why berries are a healthy food choice.
      • Fruits are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They give us the nutrients we need to grow and be healthy. They also taste great!
  • Station 2 – Fruit naming
    • Place a display board with 28 numbered fruits in front of students.
      • Use the attached Farm to School Fruit document for photos.
    • With paper and pencil, have students individually name as many fruits as they can. Then, allow them to work in pairs to compare the fruits they knew.
      • Student sheet included in attached Farm to School Fruit document.
    • See if any students knew all the fruits. Go through and name them, see if there are any fruits that no students knew.
  • Station 3 – Fruit pictures
    • Using colored pencils, have students draw their favorite berry.
    • Pencils dipped in black paint can be used to add seeds to their fruit.
    • Have students write facts about their fruit. Share with students more fun facts about berries for them to add to their pictures.
      • Fun facts in Did You Know section below.

Day 4:

  • Station 1 – Tasting
    • Have students taste the honey on tortilla chips or crackers. Have them taste some of the honeycomb, too.
    • Talk with students about the important role that honeybees play in pollinating most fruits and vegetables.
      • About 1/3 of the food we eat needs to be pollinated. Otherwise, we would only have flowers and the food would not form! Pollination means that the pollen reaches the ovary of the flower. Some plants like corn need wind to be pollinated. Many more plants need insects like bees, butterflies, moths, and even bats and birds to pollinate.
  • Station 2 – Bee Hive Lesson
    • Bring in parts of a bee hive from a local honey farmer or bring a local honey farmer into the class to speak.
    • Make sure to emphasize the shape of the honeycomb. Have students guess at how many sides the honeycomb shape has, and why they are hexagons rather than circles or squares.
      • A hexagon has six sides. Hexagons are much stronger than circles, and there is no wasted space in between each section!
  • Station 3 – Story Time
    • Read the book From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons to students.
    • Host a class discussion about pollination. Have students name off the reasons that pollination is important and list animals that can help with pollination.

Essential Files:

Did you know? (Ag facts):

  • Radishes:
    • Radishes originated in China.
    • Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage) family. They are closely related to kale, broccoli, cauliflower and horseradish.
    • California and Florida grow the most radishes out of all the states in the U.S.
    • Radishes are rich in Vitamins C and B.
    • Radishes are annual plants (they complete a full life cycle in one year).
  • Kohlrabi
    • Kohlrabi is very high in potassium and Vitamin C.
    • Kohlrabi is very low in calories.
    • Both the root and the leaves of Kohlrabi can be eaten.
    • Kohlrabi comes in white and purple varieties.
    • Kohlrabi most likely originated in Germany.
    • The name Kohlrabi translates to “cabbage turnip.”
  • Berries
    • Berries are high in antioxidants that help fight illness.
    • Berries are also high in fiber that helps digestion.
    • Berries are low in calories but are very filling because of their high liquid and fiber content.
    • Raspberries support heart health because they are high in antioxidants.
    • Blueberries are linked to good vision and brain development.

Extension Activities:

  • Have students create a meal plan using at least three of the foods discussed in these lessons. Have them justify why they are good foods to incorporate in a meal plan and give some nutrition facts.
  • Have students name their favorite foods in each food group.
  • Use the week’s school lunch menu to sort foods into food groups.


Organization Affiliation:

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:

  • Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber ad Energy Outcomes, K-2, Health: Identify examples of feed/food products eaten by animals and people.
  • Food, Health and Lifestyle Outcomes, K-2, Health: Identify healthy food options.
  • Culture, Society, Economy and Geography Outcomes, K-2, Social Studies: Identify plants and animals grown or raised locally that are used for food, clothing, shelter, and landscapes.

Iowa Core Standards:

  • 21 st Century Skills:
    • 21.K–2.HL.1 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand and use basic health concepts to enhance personal, family, and community health.
    • 21.K–2.ES.4 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Develop initiative and demonstrate self–direction in activities.
    • 21.K–2.ES.2 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Recognize different roles and responsibilities and is open to change.
  • Iowa Core Science Standards:
    • Kindergarten:
      • K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
      • K-ESS3-1: Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
    • 2 nd grade:
      • 2-LS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.

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