Activity 1: The potato
Explain to the children that they will be learning about potatoes. Ask them to tell you what they already know about potatoes. Prompt them with the following questions, collecting children’s answers without confirming any ideas at this time:
- What do potatoes look like?
- Where do potatoes come from?
- What do you think a potato plant looks like?
- Is a potato plant alive?
- What part of a plant does a potato come from?
- How long do you think they take to grow?
- What time of the year are they planted and harvested?
- How are potatoes cooked?
Show the Where do potatoes come from? presentation. This is a short introductory presentation about where potatoes originate.
Ensure the children understand that potatoes come from a plant and that they are called tubers – a part of the plant connected to the root. Explain that potatoes grown under the ground. Use the Growing potatoes presentation to show the children what a potato plant looks like and how potatoes grow.
Provide children with a copy of the Potato plant parts worksheet. Ask the children to name all the parts of the plant. Talk about which label belongs to each part of the plant. Get the children to cut and stick the labels to the correct plant parts and colour the plant picture.
More challenge ...
Get the children to carry out some potato research in small groups. Each group should create a potato fact sheet. This should include: what a potato plant looks like, a labelled sketch, the function of different plant parts, the life processes of the plant, e.g. growth, nutrition, movement, reproduction. It could also include information about: growing potatoes, what a potato needs in order to grow well; where in the UK potatoes are grown; types of potatoes grown in the UK; how to store potatoes; how long they take to grow.
Ask the children:
- Are potatoes from a plant or animal?
- Where do potatoes grow?
- Name the different parts of a potato plant: leaves, stem, root and tuber.
- Who can recall the main stages of growing potatoes? Preparing the ground; Chitting; Planting; Growing; Flowering; Harvesting.
- Display images of different types of potato.
- Ask children to record how many times they eat potatoes over a week.
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