What happens in the wheat growing year?
This activity is about the stages involved in producing different flour. Before the lesson, you may find it useful to read the Wheat to bread information sheets for background information. Explain to the children that they will be learning about wheat. Show them the photograph of the wheat from the Cereal images or an actual ear of wheat.
Question the children:
- What does the wheat look like?
- Where is the grain?
- How does it grow (on a plant, a tree, the ground, in a bunch, individual stalks)?
- What do you know about wheat?
Explain that wheat is the most widely grown cereal crop in the UK. Cereals are grasses that produce grains that we can eat. There are several different types of cereal, e.g. wheat, oats, barley, rice, maize and rye. Show children these on the Cereal images. Some of the cereal crops are also used to feed animals, including pigs, chickens and cows, which provide us with meat, eggs and milk.
Ask the children to spend a minute talking to the person next to them about how they think wheat is grown. You could note the following questions on the board for them to consider:
- When do you think wheat is planted?
- How long do you think it takes to grow?
- What do you think wheat needs to grow well?
- How do you think wheat is harvested?
Ask the children to share their thoughts about what is involved in the process and how long it takes. Show the short Wheat farming video and question the children about the clip.
- What percent of Howard’s farm grows wheat? (50%)
- What three foods does Howard say the wheat is used to make? (Breakfast cereals, biscuits and bread.)
- When is the seed planted? (September)
- What helps the seeds grow? (fertiliser, sun, rain)
- How many grains does Adrian say an ear of wheat holds? (30-35) Note: the ears of different varieties of wheat can contain different numbers of grains.
Use The growing year presentation to revise the process and the key events in each season. Use the information on the UK wheat production sheets to broadly talk about regions in the UK where wheat is grown. You may wish to refer to a UK map to show the places (e.g. cities and towns) that can be found in each region.
- Provide children with the UK wheat production sheets and let them complete the activity.
- Task the children to create a poster to explain how wheat is grown and what happens in each season.
- Conduct a wheat growing experiment in the classroom, providing different conditions for the wheat, to find out how wheat grows best. (Refer to the 5-7 years resources, Activity session 2 for general information about growing wheat.)
Recap the learning by questioning the children:
- What is wheat?
- What other cereal crops can you name?
- How long does wheat take to grow?
- What happens in each season in the wheat growing year?
If the UK wheat production sheets have been completed:
- Which places in the UK grow the most wheat?
- Can you explain why wheat grows well in certain areas of the UK?
Find out how another cereal crop is processed, e.g. oats or maize.
Where does flour come from?
This activity is about the stages involved in producing different flours and explain how flour is used to make different foods.
Show an ear of wheat or image of an ear of wheat (from the Cereal images). Recap how wheat is grown (Activity session 1).
Ask the children if they can explain what happens to the wheat after it is harvested. Explain that it is taken to be milled and turned into flour.
Watch the Wheat into flour video which shows the milling process. After the video, challenge the children to explain how wheat is milled and how different flours are created. http://www.grainchain.com/Resources/11-14/ip_wheat-into-flourthe-milling-process
Use The milling process presentation to recap how wheat becomes flour and how different types of flour are produced. Ask the children what can be made from flour. Show some examples of recipes that use flour, e.g. bread, scones, flatbreads, biscuits, pancakes.
- Provide the children with samples of different types of flour, e.g. white, brown, wholemeal, seeded, cornflower. Task them to look, feel and describe the different types of flour. They can then record their observations with drawings and notes. Task the children to research foods made from each type of flour.
- Challenge the children to create their own flow diagram to explain how wheat is milled.
Recap the learning by questioning the children:
- What are the key steps in how wheat is made into flour?
- How are white, brown and wholemeal flour created?
- What can we make using different types of flour?
- Invite a miller in to talk about the milling process.
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