National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
3 - 5
Three 45-minute sessions
Students will identify fruits that grow on a tree, bush or vine, classify fruits as pome, drupe, berry, melon, or citrus, perform an experiment about the browning of fruit, and learn drying plums to make prunes.
- 1 copy of Fruit Interest Approach Pictures. Cut out individual fruit pictures.
- For the teacher: 1 pairing knife, 1 cutting board, paper towels.
- For each group: 1 tray (cafeteria style), 3-4 hand lenses, 1 package of colored pencils, 1 apple cut in half (with core & seeds), 1 slice of cantaloupe (with the rind & seeds), 1 clementine (cut in half or partially peeled), 1 peach cut in half (with pit), 1 strawberry cut in half.
- Fruit Groups student handout
- Scientific Inquiry: Pomes, Drupes, Berries, Melons & Citrus Fruit student handout
- For the teacher: 1 clock or timer.
- For each group: 1 cutting board or tray, 1 table knife, 1 small plate, 1 set measuring spoons, 1 spoon, 4 plates (one per person), 1 banana.
- Group B: 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Group C: 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Group D: 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar & 1/4 teaspoon water.
- Fruit Reactions student handout
While You Wait: Fruit Salad:
- For the teacher: 1 can opener, large bowl, 1 pairing knife, 1 table knife, 1 stirring spoon, 1 set dry measuring cups, 15-ounce can pineapples, 2 clementines, 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 cup seedless green grapes. Optional: Apple slicer/corer.
- For each student: 1 spoon, 1 small bowl or small cup.
- Browning student handout
- While You Wait: Fruit Salad student handout
- For the teacher: 1 pairing knife, 1 cutting board, 4 plums (enough for each student to taste a piece), large space, masking tape, 3 signs: “Prunes,” “Dried Plums” and “Not Sure.”
- For each student: 1 plate, 1 napkin, 1 hand lens, 1 prune, 1 plum piece (cut by teacher).
- Perfect Prune student handout
- Plump Plums and Pit-less Prunes student handout
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Fruit Interest Approach Pictures
- Math Enrichment Activity Key
- Just Saucy (Math Enrichment Handouts)
- Student Handouts
- Teacher Answer Key
chemical reaction: when two materials mix and react to make something new (sometimes good, sometimes bad)
drupes: fruits that have a single pit
fruit: the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seeds
nutrients: substances needed to keep the body healthy like vitamins and minerals
pomes: fruits that have a paper-like core with seeds
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
Students will be learning about fruits in this lesson. Help students increase their background knowledge of fruits by visualizing the types of plants that produce the fruit we eat.
- Print 1 copy of the file, Fruit Interest Approach Pictures. Cut out the individual fruit pictures.
- Place the pictures of the tree, bush, and vine, on the board. Describe each plant to the students and explain that most fruit grows on one of these three types of plants.
- Tree: Many trees produce various types of fruits and nuts. Fruit trees have a stem and branches made of wood. They produce flowers in the spring, which mature into fruit.
- Bush: A fruit bush is fairly low to the ground. It has small wooden stems that branch out. The bush is covered in leaves and the flowers mature into fruit.
- Vine: Some fruits grow on vines. Vines such as those for grapes or kiwi fruits grow from a woody stem and are usually supported on a trellis. Watermelon and cantaloupe are examples of fruits that grow from vines with a soft, herbaceous stem.
- Choose twelve students in your class and give them a picture of a fruit. Ask each student to place their fruit card on the board by the type of plant that it comes from. You could have the students guess or allow them to research the fruit to find out where it grows.
- Fruits that grow on trees: Lime, grapefruit, orange, apple, pear, cherry, peach, banana.
- Fruits that grow on a bush: Pineapple, raspberry, and blueberry.
- Fruits that grow on a vine: Grape, Strawberry, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
- Summarize that the fruit we eat is grown on a farm. Fruit farms are found in many areas of the United States and the world. California, Florida, and Washington are the top 3 fruit producing states in America.
Activity 1: Fruit Groups
Scientific Inquiry: Pomes, Drupes, Berries, Melons & Citrus Fruit
- Read Fruit Groups and complete the Doodle Bugs.
- Review the different classifications of fruit by answering the matching questions in Scientific Inquiry: Pomes, Drupes, Berries, Melons & Citrus Fruit.
- Divide the class into groups of four.
- Ask one student from each group to use a cafeteria style tray to collect the fruit for their group.
- Students will complete Scientific Inquiry: Pomes, Drupes, Berries, Melons & Citrus Fruit by studying and drawing the inside and outside of each piece of fruit. Using cherry as an example, students will record their findings in the Fruit Facts table. Ask students “Why fruits have rinds and peels?” (for protection) and “Why fruits have seeds?” (for reproduction).
Activity 2: Fruit Reactions
Scientific Inquiry: Browning
- Read Fruit Reactions and complete the Doodle Bugs.
- Divide the class into four groups: A, B, C and D.
- Students will use a cafeteria style tray to collect supplies for their group.
- Each group will perform their experiment. During the lab, ask probing questions “Which group’s bananas do you think will brown the most? The least?”
- While the bananas brown, the class may complete While You Wait: Fruit Salad.
- After 15-20 minutes have passed, student will return to the experiment.
- Give each student a piece of all four bananas. After studying and tasting the bananas, the students will complete the Browning Reactions table.
- Complete the activity with a class discussion: “Why did the lemon juice keep the bananas from browning? Do you think sugar or cream of tartar is an acid? Did any of the additional ingredients change the taste? How?”
While You Wait: Fruit Salad
- While waiting for the bananas to brown, the class will make fruit salad.
- Read the introduction and directions.
- Complete While You Wait: Fruit Salad as a class. Allow students to assist with preparation of fruit, adding fruit to the bowl, measuring, stirring and serving the fruit salad.
- Give each student a spoon and a small bowl of fruit salad.
- Allow students to taste the fruit. Ask students to note the color of the fruit. “Did the apple, banana or clementines brown? What kept the fruit from browning? Do you think adding orange juice, lemon juice or lime juice to fruit salad would keep the fruit from browning?”
Activity 3: Perfect Prune
Scientific Inquiry: Plump Plums and Pit-less Prunes
- Read Perfect Prunes and complete the Doodle Bugs.
- Place one prune and one piece of plum on each student’s plate. After tasting and studying the fruit, students will complete the Venn diagram and questions.
- Next, your students will create a Human Graph. Use masking tape to create horizontal and vertical axis lines on the floor. Place the three signs along the horizontal axis.
- Ask students to line up behind their favorite prune name or the “Not Sure” sign.
- Ask students to visually compare the human bars. “Which name is the class’s favorite? Least favorite?”
- Instruct students to count the actual number of students in each line. Ask students “What units are used in this graph?” (People.)
Assist students in translating the human graph to the Students’ Favorite Name for Prunes paper graph. Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Most fruit is grown on a vine, bush, or tree.
- Fruits are classified as a pome, drupe, berry, melon, or citrus.
- Fruits are part of a healthy diet. They provide fiber and various vitamins.
Just Saucy: Complete the attached math enrichment activity. Students apply math skills to learn how applesauce is made.
Farmer's Market Tour: Arrange a tour of your community's farmers' market in the fall or spring to observe the variety of food items farmers have produced. Assign students to talk with the farmers to learn more about what they do. If a real tour is not possible, have students do a virtual tour online or invite one or more local farmers to talk about their role and the work they do in your community.
Suggested Companion Resources
- A Seedy Fruit Challenge (Activity)
- Food Group Puzzle (Activity)
- An Apple Tree Through the Year (Book)
- An Orange in January (Book)
- Apples (Book)
- Farmers Market (Book)
- Food (Book)
- Look Inside Food (Book)
- The Apple Orchard Riddle (Book)
- The Fruits We Eat (Book)
- What is a Fruit? What is a Vegetable? Bulletin Boards (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- National Geographic Kids: Making Stuff videos (Multimedia)
- The Science of Cooking (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table (T3.3-5.b)
- Identify food sources of required food nutrients (T3.3-5.g)
Education Content Standards
5-PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
5-PS1-4Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
Common Core Connections
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Mathematics: Practice Standards
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, “Does this make sense?” They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4Model with mathematics. Students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions.