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Animal or Plant?

Use knowledge of, a and experiences with, food sources to decide where food comes from.

  • Directions

    1. Open a discussion with students about foods they typically eat in a day or week. Use a classroom white board to list student contributions to the discussion.
    2. Show students photographs of various foods that they listed in the discussion. Ask students where they think these foods originate. Write their responses next to each food on the class list. For example, students may state that corn comes from seeds. Keep their responses on the display for future reference.
    3. While viewing the photographs of various foods, students use Crayola Crayons and 5 x 8 blank index cards to draw pictures of each of the foods. If students are able, ask them to include the words identifying their illustrations on the pictures. Store each student's cards in an envelope or recycled cardboard box.
    4. Read the book Where Does Food Come From? (Exceptional Science Titles for Primary Grades) by Shelly Rotner & Gary Gross or How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth to the class. Allow students time to react to the reading and discuss their ideas regarding the origination of their foods. Make changes to the class list of foods and originations as noted by students.
    5. Have students take their index cards of food illustrations and divide them into two categories: foods from animals and foods from plants. Check student work for accuracy.
    6. Make this activity into a game. Students decorate two recycled cardboard boxes. One will be labeled as "Food from Plants" and the second will be labeled "Food from Animals." Take two to three decks of student food cards and have students mix them up. In small groups, students look at the pictures and determine if the illustration originates form animal or plant. Once a determination is made, students will place the card in the correct box. Check for accuracy.
  • Standards

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

    LA: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

    SCI: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Show how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good, and identity examples of where they fail to do so.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Food Fight! By Carol Diggory Shields; Showdown At The Food Pyramid by Rex Barron; Food For Thought by Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers; From the Garden: A Counting Book About Growing Food by Michael Dahl; Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

    Invite a community member that is a practicing nurse or nutritionist to visit with students and discuss food groups and eating habits. Prior to the meeting, talk with students to determine what their questions are for the expert. Write these questions on a classroom white board or easel paper. Have student questions in a visible spot in the classroom when the expert arrives. After the visit, students talk in small groups about what they learned. Using Crayola Crayons, students illustrate what they have just learned about foods. Encourage students to share their illustration and learning with parents and other family members.

    Organize a class trip to a local farm. Prior to the trip, students discuss when questions they have for the professional farmer. After the trip, students meet in small groups to discuss what they learned and use Crayola Crayons or colored pencils to illustrate their experiences.

    Create short videos of students reporting about foods from animals or plants. Students use recycled materials to create a costume and give themselves a name for their reporting exercise, such as "Frank, the Food Reporter." Video the students responding to student illustration of foods or photographs. Share videos with parents and other family members.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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