Download This Full Lesson: Investigating Potatoes
Lesson Description: Students will work in small groups and with Maine maps, find the areas of the state where potatoes are grown on a large scale. They will research the nutritional and health benefits of potatoes as well as the economic importance of potatoes to Maine. Students will interview a local farmer about his potato crop, challenges faced by potato farmers and write a news article about potatoes.
- Explore a possible partnership with a local farm/farmer. Find one who will be willing to visit your classroom to answer student generated questions about growing and harvesting potatoes.
- Gather resources from library, including Potatoes for ME, for student research.
- Provide US and state maps for each child and an assortment of colored pencils.
- Using recipes from the Maine Potato Board, class will select a recipe and ask the food service department to prepare that dish for a school lunch component.
- US and Maine line maps, Maine population density maps, Maine crop maps (Download Maps)
- Colored pencils
- Research materials
Students will be able to:
- Explain why potatoes are such an important crop to Maine
- Use research materials to find five potato facts
- Identify and explain five nutritional components of potatoes (vitamins, minerals, fiber)
- Generate interview questions for a potato farmer
- Explain how planting and harvesting techniques have changed over the years
- Gather potato research materials
- Briefly share the history of the potato as it travelled to Maine. (See History Time Line chart)
- Using research materials, students will work in groups and identify the top 10 potato producing states and color them in on the map, then answer the questions on the Where Are They? Worksheet.
- Give students the Potato Facts worksheet and tell them to record information as it is discussed or researched.
- Tell students that the class will concentrate on potatoes in Maine. They will work in small groups to answer
- Where are potatoes grown on a large scale in Maine?
- Provide a map of Maine with population density, and one with physical features for each group.
- Students will work in groups using these maps to help them make a prediction about where potatoes are grown. Have them share ideas and discuss how topography and population can affect farming.
- Provide a map of Maine with major crops shown. Discuss the location of the major potato growing area with regard to climate, soil, topography and population.
- Share Potatoes for ME with the class.
- What types of potatoes grow in Maine? (Potato Facts worksheet)
- What happens to the potatoes that are grown?
- How does the potato crop affect the economy of Maine?
- What is being done to improve the size of the potato crop?
- Invite a local potato grower to the classroom. Prepare questions about planting and harvesting techniques for large potato farms, problems that they may have growing potatoes and what happens to the potato crop after harvest.
- Discuss potato nutrition and the benefits of eating potatoes. (Potato Facts worksheet) Also, see Potato for ME Activity Planning Book, page 15.
- Students will write a short news article about the importance of potatoes from either a health or economic view point.
- Crop maps for Maine can be found at www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/crop_map
- Physical maps for Maine can be found at: www.freeworldmaps.net/united-states/maine/map
- Population maps for Maine can be found at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maine_population_map.png
- YouTube video: Potato Harvest 2014, a large scale potato harvest in Illinois (similar to what is done in Maine).
- YouTube video: The Garden Harvest Time to Pick Potatoes, harvesting potatoes in the home garden.
|Common Core ELA:
W.3.2A Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory tests to examine and convey ideas and information clearly.
W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
|Common Core Math:|