We began the year introducing the children to several local New England crops: apples, corn and pumpkins.
We identified which of these foods were a fruit and which were vegetables. We talked about how they grow, apples on trees, corn on stalks (like grass) and pumpkins grow on vines which run along the ground.
The children tasted several varieties of apples. They ate them plain and tried them with cinnamon and with honey. We used Our Yankee Peeler to make apple slinkies. We cooked the apples and used the Foley food mill to make applesauce. Our parents organized a family apple picking event at a local orchard to compliment our unit.
At the science table, we sprouted a corn cob in water and watched it grow, observing that the kernels we eat are the corn seeds. We painted with dried corn cobs, rolling them through paint to create a cooperative painting with a friend. We husked corn as well, each child brought home a cob to share with their families. We then dyed the popcorn kernels with vinegar and food coloring. The children used the richly colored kernels to create beautiful Rangoli’s in clay.
We looked at a variety of pumpkins at school, small and large, smooth and bumpy, orange, green and white. We carved pumpkins and looked inside, seeing the seeds. We cooked the pumpkin and again used the Foley food mill to make pumpkin puree. Each child brought home some puree and a simple recipe for pumpkin pancakes.
We ended this unit by conducting a taste test. The children voted on which type of chip they liked best, Apple, Corn or Pumpkin. Then, we graphed our results.