Harvesting the Produce
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.

In this lesson, students preserve vegetables through dehydration. The lesson includes multidisciplinary centers related to vegetable harvesting. They will build skills working as a group and contributing to the common good.

PrintTwo-and-One-Half Hours (includes center time)

The learner will:

  • understand that vegetables are grown and harvested.
  • write in a personal journal about growing plants.
  • participate in creating a class graph.
  • understand the importance of safe-handling of food and kitchen equipment.
  • observe the effects of drying vegetables.
  • make predictions and monitor progress of dehydrating vegetables.
  • record information.
  • Food dehydrators
  • Vegetables brought in by students
  • Growing Vegetable Soup (see Bibliographical References)
  • Student writing journals
  • Poster-size graph paper or plain chart paper
  • Chart and/or calendar for recording predictions
  • Five-six poster boards for making number boards
Home Connection: 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: When students bring in their vegetables from home, ask them to also bring in a written account of where they got their vegetables. If they worked in a garden, have them describe what they did in the garden. Students may continue to bring in sample vegetables from their gardens to share with the class. Keep track on a calendar when specific foods are ripe. Send Home the invitation to Family Night three weeks before the scheduled night. (Attachment Three: Family Night Parent Letter)


Ehlert, Lois. Growing Vegetable Soup. New York: Harcourt, 1987. ISBN: 0152325751.

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    In the spring, send a letter to each family of this year's class. (See Attachment One: First Homework Parent Letter.) Before today's lesson, ask each student to bring in one vegetable today (See Attachment Two: Harvest Time Parent Letter.) The lesson is most valuable if the students bring in a vegetable from their own garden, the garden of a neighbor or relative, or from a farmers' market. As students enter the classroom, have them record a yes-or-no response on a graph to the question of the day: Did you bring a pepper to school today?

  2. Discuss the data collected on the graph.

    • Discuss how the vegetables the students brought in were grown. Allow students to tell their own experiences with gardening and harvesting food from a garden. If students purchased vegetables, ask students to propose how the vegetables got to the store.
    • Make a real graph on a floor graph. Ask the students to name the types of vegetables they brought in. Write each vegetable on an index card to label the rows of the graph. Have the students place their actual vegetables on the squares of the graph. Discuss the numbers and compare the amounts of each type of vegetable. Discuss how the graph helped you compare the numbers.
    • Give each student a 4" x 4" piece of paper to draw his or her vegetable. Use the drawings to make a picture graph. Discuss the data on the graph and compare it to the real floor graph.
    • Tell the students that eventually they are going to be making some dried soup mix that they will share with some people in the community. Thank them for the generosity in sharing their produce. Introduce the meaning of the word, philanthropy.
    • Since the soup will be used much later, the vegetables need to be preserved. Discuss the different ways that food can be preserved: frozen, canned, or dried. Discuss the importance of keeping the food and your hands clean while preparing the food. (It would be helpful to have a parent available to cut the vegetables. The slices should be uniform in size.)
    • Teach the meaning of the word dehydrate. Explain that the dehydrators will take the water out. Ask students to predict how long they think that might take. Record their predictions on a chart. (Let students record their own numbers on the chart to give practice writing whole numerals.) Allow the students to place the vegetable pieces on the dehydrator trays. It is very important that their hands are clean. (As you check the vegetables each day, refer to the students' predictions. Use the classroom calendar to monitor predictions as they correspond to actual dates.)
    • Read Growing Vegetable Soup. Discuss the process of planting and growing vegetables. Help the students read and identify the different garden-related items in the pictures. Encourage students to listen to each other's stories about garden experiences.
    • Allow the students to work individually or in groups in the following center activities: ART: Students make prints with vegetables. WRITING: Students use their individual journals to draw a picture of a garden and then write about how vegetables grow. MATH: Students practice number recognition, counting, and number sense by placing vegetable pieces, seeds, or pictures on a number chart. Teacher creates five or six poster board-size charts, as illustrated, to be placed on the floor. (Use numbers appropriate to grade level of students.) Students will place in each box of the chart the correct number of objects to represent the number. 7 2 4 5 9 3 0 6 8SNACK: Taste red, green and yellow peppers with vegetable dip. SCIENCE: Graph which type of pepper each child preferred. DRAMATIC PLAY: Provide props for students to pretend to harvest, buy and sell, and cook vegetables.

Students make observations in their science journals over the course of the drying period. Have them include three things in their journals each day: date the page, draw a picture of the same piece of vegetable, and write about what it looks like or how it has changed. When the dehydration is complete, the students write a summary of what happened in the dehydrator. Other assessments can include: Individual observations of students' contributions to the class graph. Students' completion of number boards Observation of student participation in predicting