Theme: Farm to Preschool

Plant Parts We Eat


Objective: Children will learn about the different parts of plants that everyday foods come from and which parts we eat.

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What You Will Need

  • Pictures of everyday foods that come from plants such as carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, squash, cucumbers,  tomatoes, corn, beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and celery – 1 picture per child
  • Diagram of a plant with the parts identified – roots, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit (from an Internet search)
  • 5' long piece of butcher paper taped to a wall
  • Marker
  • Tape

What To Do

Note: Before beginning the activity, divide the butcher paper into 6 sections.

  1. Display the food pictures, and have the children identify them.
  2. Tell the children that all of these foods come from plants and that many of them are grown on farms.
  3. Explain that every plant has basically the same parts (see Did You Know?).
  4. Display the plant diagram, and review the parts of the plant (roots, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruit).
  5. As the children repeat the parts of the plant to you, write each plant part on one section of the butcher paper.
  6. Distribute the everyday food pictures – 1 per child.
  7. Tell the children that each of the crops is part of a plant and they will need to decide which plant part their food picture matches.
  8. Give the children some time to compare the food pictures with the plant diagram.
  9. As children identify the plant part that their food matches, help them to tape it to the appropriate column on the butcher paper.
  10. Explain that all of these foods that we eat come from different plant parts, but not all parts of every plant can be eaten.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the food on the picture.
  • Tell me the parts of a plant.
  • Explain which part of a plant the food comes from.
  • Describe which parts of plants we can eat.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Cut a variety of vegetables into bite-sized pieces for a tasting. Let the children identify which part of a plant each vegetable is, then taste the vegetables. The children can decide which vegetable they liked best, and you can graph the results.
  • Make a farmer’s market in your dramatic play area. Provide lots of plastic fruits and vegetables, paper bags, baskets, cash register, play money, apron for the clerk, chalk board for a sign, and notepads and pencils for children to make lists. The children can take turns shopping or being the clerk.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe each of the foods?
  • Could children tell the different parts of a plant?
  • Could children identify the plant part that each of the foods came from?
  • Could children describe the parts of plants that are edible?

Did You Know?

All plants have the same basic parts; roots, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruit. The different parts of many plants are edible. Carrots and radishes are the roots of a plant. Asparagus and celery are the stem of a plant. Spinach and lettuce are the leaves of a plant. Broccoli and cauliflower are the flowers of a plant. Squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes are the fruits of a plant. Corn, beans, and peas are the seeds of a plant. 

Different parts of plants are edible, and with some plants, we eat more than one part of the plant. The root of the beet plant is what most people like to eat, but the leaves are also good in salads. We need to be careful of which plant parts we eat because some of the plants we eat have poisonous parts. For instance, we eat the fruit of the tomato plant, but the leaves of the tomato plant are poisonous.  

Did You Know?

All plants have the same basic parts; roots, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruit. The different parts of many plants are edible. Carrots and radishes are the roots of a plant. Asparagus and celery are the stem of a plant. Spinach and lettuce are the leaves of a plant. Broccoli and cauliflower are the flowers of a plant. Squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes are the fruits of a plant. Corn, beans, and peas are the seeds of a plant. 

Learn More

Vocabulary

  • stem – the main part of a plant. The stem supports the branches, leaves, and other parts.
  • roots – the parts of a plant that grow under the ground.
  • leaves – the flat parts of a plant. The leaves grow from the stem.
  • flower – the part of the plant that makes fruit or seeds.
  • fruit – the part of a plant that has seeds and flesh.
  • seeds – a small part of a plant with flowers. Seeds grow into a new plant.

Vocabulary

  • stem
  • roots
  • leaves
  • flower
  • fruit
  • seeds

Child-Friendly Definitions

Lesson Tips

  • You could laminate the plant pictures for durability.
  • It may help to hang the plant parts diagram next to or near the butcher paper.
  • It is helpful for children to see real fruits and vegetables. For sorting, purchase plastic toy foods for the children to handle.

Books

  • Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
  • Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
  • Oliver’s Vegetables by Vivian French
  • Vegetables, Vegetables! (Rookie Read-About Science) by Fay Robinson

Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.[2]

Visit the CCSS website

Important Legal Disclosures & Information

  1. While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

  2. There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.