- Gyankriti School, Indore, Grade 1
Knowing the food we eat
We spent a significant time teaching children about food and its origin. This blog details some of the activities we conducted while learning Unit 2 (Plants and Animals) and Unit 3 (Food) of the Small Science Teacher’s Book for Class 1 & 2.
The central learning objective we defined was to to make children aware of the variety of plants that they see in their surroundings. They were also supposed to learn about plants and animals that provide them a variety of foods. This began with an introduction to plants, their types, like herbs, shrubs creepers and climbers; things they give, like fruits and vegetables.
Study trip to build upon classroom teaching
We do have some plants in our school campus but there are no big trees as such. That is why once we completed the basic theory we decided to visit the Sirpur Lake, which is also a Bird sanctuary, to get more practical knowledge about plants.
At the lake the students were divided into groups of 4-5 each with a mentor and were asked to observe all the trees and their surroundings. During the observation period they walked along the lake shore for about a kilometer. The students collected various parts of plants during the walk and noted their observations with the help of their group’s mentor. Finally all the groups sat together and presented their notes and shared the things they had collected with each other.
Students visited a cattle farm to see cows, buffaloes and calves. They learned how milk is reared from cattle animals.
Where does healthy food come from?
After the unit on plants we began with an introduction to foodgrains. Sadly the urban children have no idea about the origin of common foodgrains. They think that wheat flour, cereals and pulses come from supermarkets, flour mill, etc. Every day the children used to share details of the food that they had brought in their lunch box and try to guess the foodgrain or plant it came from. After a few days they started recognizing the origin of common food items. We believe that this activity is very important for children to learn to lead a healthy lifestyle. We also taught them about healthy and junk foods. Our Senior KG students pasted images of ‘healthy food’ and ‘junk food’ on two charts and kept it in their classroom to constantly remind them of prohibited food items in the school tiffin.
Making a kitchen garden at school or home
We were still not satisfied with the knowledge of students about plants and food. It was genuinely not their fault as they rarely get to see plants in the city and urban parents also never discuss about such topics. That is why decided to start a kitchen garden at the school and show the entire life cycle of local vegetables.
We dug grass from an area of only 20 sqft in the school playground and children sowed seeds of some vegetables. We asked them to take care of the plants by watering them regularly. Everyday during morning freeplay they keenly watched the kitchen garden and at the departure time they threw away the leftover water in their bottles to water the kitchen garden. After few days they got to some vegetables like spinach, radish, fenugreek, coriander etc grow up. We had handsome harvest of fenugreek leaves and radish. The students enjoyed salad in their lunchtime.
We did not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides in our kitchen garden. Like us, parents too were thrilled to see the vegetable harvested by their own children. We encouraged them to have a small farm at their homes as well, even if they had just 10-20 square feet of space or a few pots.
Grade 1 Homeroom Teachers