Target Grade Level / Age Range:

1 st-2 nd Grades


15 minute Guided Reading, 3-30 minute Science periods (1 of these a 40-45 minute field trip to the local farmers market)


Students will learn the path that food takes from the plant to the table.


  • Book: “Who Grew My Soup?” by Tom Darbyshire
  • Chart paper
  • CD case for each student
  • 2 paper towel circles/student
  • 1 Spray bottle/group or table
  • Peel off return address labels(for putting names on the back of their CD cases)
  • Plastic plant pots(provided by local greenhouses), 1/student(with individual names on them)
  • Potting soil, in plastic containers/bowls
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Newspaper, for easy clean up
  • Spoons and/or scoops for handling the dirt
  • Water
  • List of volunteered parents/grandparents/guardians to help chaperone on field trip and to help prepare vegetables for the soup
  • Vegetables from Farmers’ Market
  • Vegetable stock and/or tomato juice for soup
  • Peelers, knives for food preparation
  • A stock pot
  • Large spoon and ladle
  • Bowls
  • Spoons
  • White plastic plant-name-sticks, 3 per student(will write name of vegetable on them for identification)
  • Glasses for water to drink while eating soup.
  • Crackers, if agreed as a class

Suggested Companion Resources:

  • The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow, by Joanna Cole
  • Stone Soup, by Ann McGovern
  • Planting the Wild Garden, by Katherine O. Galbraith  and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
  • Miss Maple’s Seeds, by Eliza Wheeler
  • A Seed is Sleepy, by Diana Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long
  • Good Enough to Eat, by Lizzy Rockwell
  • The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons


  • Germinate: to begin to grow or develop.
  • Sprout: to begin to grow; shoot forth, as a plant from a seed.
  • Disperse: to spread widely
  • Extraordinary: special
  • Landscape: a piece of land made pretty by planting plants
  • Magnificent: great; grand; superb
  • Nutrient: nourishing; providing nourishment
  • Digests: when your body uses up the food; breaks it down
  • Calories: a quantity of food capable of producing an amount of energy
  • Produce: agricultural products collectively, especially vegetables and fruits.
  • Preparation: an act of preparing. (getting the vegetables ready by washing them, cutting them up for soup, etc.)

Background – Agricultural Connections:

A teacher teaching this lesson/unit should know the steps from planting the vegetables to making and eating the soup.

  1. Preparing the soil
  2. Planting the seeds
  3. Watering and caring for the plants
  4. Removing weeds, spraying for insects, fungus or other pests
  5. Harvesting the produce
  6. Shipping the produce
  7. Preparing the produce (fresh, frozen, canned)
  8. Making the soup (following a recipe, adding the right ingredients in the right amounts)
  9. Canning or preserving the soup
  10. Shipping the soup to grocery stores
  11. Consumers buying the soup
  12. Preparing the soup at home

Interest Approach or Motivator:

Read and discuss the book: “Who Grew My Soup.” Ask students:

  • What do the farmers in the book do?
  • Why is it important for us to know who grows our food?
  • Why is it important for us to eat healthy foods like vegetables?
  • Explain how soup is made of a lot of different ingredients.
  • What do vegetables need to be able to grow?


Activity 1:

  1. Recall the vegetables that were used in the story. Remind students that before we can eat the vegetables, they must be planted and cared for before they develop fruits that can be eaten.
  2. Tell students that they will be growing vegetables that the farmers in the book did. But, they will be growing them in the classroom, where they can observe them.
  3. Pass out to each student a CD case and two paper towel circles. Have students label their CD case with their name and place paper towel circles inside CD case.
  4. Have select students or the teacher travel around and spray the paper towels with water from spray bottles.
  5. Each student will be given seeds of 3 different vegetables
  6. Place each seed on top of paper towel, apart from each other. After each seed, close lid and label name of seed/plant. Discuss with students why it is important to give each seed adequate room in the CD case. Close lid.
  7. Place in sunny spot. The seeds will need watered every 3-4 days.
  8. Have students keep daily predictions and observations on their seeds in a notebook or journal. Students can use transplant the seeds into potting soil in plastic pots and continue their observations to watch for different stages of plant growth.

Activity 2:

  1. Announce that the class will be making soup. Discuss and estimate the time that plants that were planted in CD cases will need to grow and how long it may take for them to produce the vegetables for our soup.
  2. Explain that they will still be able to observe their plants at school and/or home but in the meantime, vegetables will be bought at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
    1. Discuss with students: what food safety precautions should be taken once the produce has been purchased? Where should it be stored?
  3. Discuss inviting parents/grandparents/aunts and/or uncles as guests to the Soup Day. Also talk about contacting the local newspaper.
  4. Talk about what information needs to be on an invitation.
  5. As a class, write the invitation with the teacher to finalize and print it.
  6. Give each student 1-2 invitations to distribute to family or friends.

Activity 3:

  1. The day before the soup party, go over the “game plan” with students.
    1. Discuss good food safety habits, like hand washing, that will have to be expressed.
    2. Explain that each student and their adult guest will be in charge of preparing an ingredient for the soup.
  2. On the day of the soup party, reread Who Grew My Soup? with the guests and class.
  3. Display the recipe and directions for the soup.
    1. The vegetable/tomato juice will be poured into the stock pot.
    2. Vegetables will be handed out.
    3. Wash vegetables.
    4. Prepare vegetables with guest’s assistance (because of time, small pieces are recommended).
    5. Place vegetables in the pot, one at a time.
    6. Take soup to the kitchen to cook.
  4. While it is cooking, students can get their plant and plant recordings/diagrams, etc. and give their report to the class and guests, enjoy recess, or review the plant cycle.
  5. Hand out napkins and water to guests first then students.
  6. Serve soup and enjoy.

Extension Activities:

  • The students can measure and record information about the plants that they took home. This information can be compared to the information about the 3 rd plant at school. Discuss similarities/differences. Discuss what the differences may be and what could be the cause (lighting, temperature, placement, watering, etc.)
  • Create a class recipe book and discuss the nutrition of various recipes.
  • Making a seed to table booklet to describe the process of growing and processing crops into food.
  • Take students on a field trip to a local farmer’s market to explore produce options and talk to farmers.


Lisa Conry

National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:

  • Theme 1: Agriculture and the Environment Outcomes
    • Describe how farmers/ranchers use land to grow crops and support livestock
  • Theme 2: Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy Outcomes
    • Explain how farmers/ranchers work with the lifecycle of plants and animals to harvest a crop
    • Identify food safety practices to demonstrate at home
    • Identify examples of feed/food products eaten by animals and people
  • Theme 3: Food, Health and Lifestyle Outcomes
    • Recognize that agriculture provides our most basic necessities: food, fiber, energy and shelter
    • Identify healthy food options
  • Theme 5: Culture, Society, Economy and Geography Outcomes
    • Trace the sources of agricultural products used daily
    • Discuss what a farmer does

    Iowa Core Standards:

    • Literacy:
      • RL.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
      • SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
    • 21 st Century Skills:
      • 21.K–2.ES.1 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Communicate and work appropriately with others to complete tasks.
      • 21.K–2.ES.3 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Learn leadership skills and demonstrate integrity, ethical behavior, and social responsibility.
      • 21.K–2.ES.5 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Work productively and are accountable for their actions.
      • 21.K–2.HL.1 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand and use basic health concepts to enhance personal, family, and community health.

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