Food for Thought Lesson Plans
Off to the Market
In this lesson, students will be introduced to farmers' markets. Students will learn about the unique features of a farmers' market and the benefits of shopping at a farmers' market. Students will use math and literacy skills as they engage in activities centered around items that can be found at different farmers' markets.
Three, 30-minute class periods
Day 1 – Introduction to a Farmers' Market
Day 2 – Taking a Closer Look
- Map #22 Farmers' Markets in Minnesota
- On the Farm, At the Market by G. Brian Karas
- Crayons or colored pencils
Day 3 – Fill My Basket Game
- Farmers' Market Game Board Map (Beginner or Advanced version)
- Map Key - Fill My Basket Map Game
- Fill My Basket Game Cards
- Beginner version: One card for every 2 students.
- Advanced version: One card for each student.
- Game tokens
- Optional: Electronic version of Farmers' Market Map Game Board (both advanced and beginner version)
- Farmers' Market: a place where people can buy fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods from local farmers.
- Herbs: a plant that is used to add flavor to food.
- Produce: things that have been grown, especially in farming.
- Border: a real or imaginary line that separates geographic areas such as states and countries. Map Key: pictures or symbols that represent something on a map.
- Compass Rose: a drawing that shows different directions on a map. They usually include North, South, East, and West.
Farmers' markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers' markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enable farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grow the produce. (from the USDA www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/farmers-markets-and-direct-consumer-marketing)
Exploring farmers' markets in your area can provide students a glimpse into the labor required to grow produce as well as where markets are located within your community and throughout the state. Describing where these markets are located can allow students to think about transporting farm fresh foods and also the locations where there would be people to purchase these items. Farmers markets are a useful, authentic example that can provide early elementary students an opportunity to think like a geographer as well as a farmer working to raise food that consumers will want to purchase and consume.
Interest Approach - Engagement
Display a lunch menu from the cafeteria and ask students to think about where the food comes from that they eat in the lunchroom cafeteria. Does it all come from one place? Does it come from different places? How about the food they eat at home – where does it come from?
Day 1 – Introduction to Farmers' Markets
Essential Question: What are farmers' markets and why do people shop there?
- Have students share their thoughts about where the food in the lunchroom cafeteria comes from. Encourage students to think about experiences they have planting seeds, gardening and possibly raising animals. If they do not have these experiences, ask them to imagine what it might be like.
- Ask students where the food they eat at home comes from (possible answers may include grocery store, food shelf, gardens, etc.).
- Ask students to describe a grocery store (what it looks like and what they can find there). Record their answers on a class chart. Add the heading "Grocery Store".
- Ask students if they have ever been to a farmers' market.
- Tell students we will be learning about farmers' markets. Tell them we will watch a video about a farmers' market in St. Paul, Minnesota. This video shows how one family runs a small farm and takes the produce to sell at the farmers' market. (Introduce the vocabulary word produce).
- Show the video "From the Field to the Farmers' Market." Ask students to look for things that can be found at the farmers' market as they watch the video.
- After watching the video, ask students to share things that could be found at a farmers' market. Ask them to describe what a farmers' market looks like. Farmers' markets can look many different ways. Ask students if they have been to a farmers' market. If they have, ask students to compare the farmers' market they have been to with the farmers' market featured in the video. Record information shared about what farmers' markets look like on the class chart under a new heading "Farmers' Market."
- Compare and Contrast the Farmers' Market and Grocery Store (Guide students in the following key understanding: "Farm to table" – foods at farmers' markets are grown locally and sold directly to the consumer, foods in grocery stores are grown at many different farms across the U.S. and world and then shipped to the stores.).
- Using the class charts already created, star items that are the same/similar and place an x by items that are different. If preferred you can create a Venn diagram from the class charts.
- Post the farmers' market vocabulary word and definition in the classroom.
- Ask students why people like to shop at farmers' markets.
- Possible answers: food is fresh, you meet the people that grew/made the food, affordable, helps farmers in their community, fun!
Day 2 – Taking a Closer Look
Essential Questions: What are some benefits of shopping at a farmers' market? Where are farmers' markets near me?
- Ask students to think about what they learned about farmers' markets from Day 1. Refer back to the farmers' market vocabulary and compare and contrast activity from Day 1.
- Tell students we will read a story today and take a closer look at how farmers prepare for the farmers' market.
- Show students the book On the Farm, At the Market by G. Brian Karas. Tell students that this book shows how three farmers get ready to sell their products at the farmers' market. Vocabulary words that may be new to students:
- leeks: a vegetable that is similar to an onion.
- Swiss chard: a vegetable with large leaves and thick stalk
If possible, have a leek and Swiss chard to physically show the students. Having students use their senses (touch, see, smell, possibly even taste) to explore and make observations would be a great way to engage them and discover new foods that can be grown and that are featured in this book.
- vat: a large tank that holds liquids
- Tell students that the book begins at the farm. Encourage students, especially second graders, to make predictions about the setting of the story – what happens here? Why is the story "set" in this location? What do you think will happen in this setting? Read the first part "On the Farm" and ask students to listen for the different types of food each farmer is selling.
- Stop after reading "On the Farm". Ask students to share what they learned about the different types of food each farmer is selling.
- Tell students that the next part of the book is called "At the Market". Ask students what they might expect to learn about in this part of the book? (how farmers set up at the market, people coming to the market). Read the remainder of the book. As you read, pause and pose the following questions.
- What items might Amy from Busy Bee Cafe buy from Leo? (leeks, tomatoes, Swiss chard) List these items on the board. At Amy's next stop, what did she buy? (cheddar cheese) Add this to the list of items on the board. Ask students what they think Amy meant when she told Isaac, "One way to find out."
- Amy's last stop is at Gary's mushrooms. What is in Amy's cart after her last stop? (leeks, Swiss chard, cheese, eggs, and mushrooms) What do you think she will make with all of these items? Will Gary go to the Busy Bee Cafe? How do you know?
- After the story pose the following questions: What did Amy make with the items from the Farmers' Market? (Market Pie) As time allows, teachers may choose to compare how different farmers prepare for the farmers' market.
Materials needed: Map 22 "Farmers' Markets in Minnesota"
NOTE: Mark the location of your school with a star and your city or school name on the map before the lesson. Or you can ask your students to help you locate your city and school and label it. If desired, print the map for students.
- Project Map 22 "Farmers' Markets in Minnesota" with your school city location marked.
- Ask students to observe the map and share what they notice. Ask them what questions they have.
- Ask students to find the following: title of the map, map key, compass rose, map scale, and author. Discuss each as appropriate for your grade level.
- Ask students what they can learn from the map.
For kindergarten learners, pose the following questions:
- From our school, are there any farmers' markets as we travel up? Down? Left? Right?
- From our school, which direction would we travel to find the most farmers' markets? (left, right, up, down)
- Is there a farmers' market next to our school? Explain. Are there many or few farmers' markets next to our school? Explain.
- Point to the area on the map where you can find many farmers' markets close together. Is your school far or near from this area? How do you know?
- Place your finger on the location of our school.
- Move to the: (right, left, up, down) to a farmers' market near your school.
- Move to the: (right, left, up, down) to a farmers' market far from your school.
- Place your finger on the area of the map where you can find many farmers' markets close together. Where is your school from this location? Use relative location words (near, far, left, right, etc.) to describe.
- On the map that is being projected, choose a farmers' market that is far from your school location and highlight it. Tell students to imagine that we are going to drive to that farmers' market. Does the map show us how to get there? (No) Explain to students that we only know relative location (i.e. It is up, down left, right, etc. from our school). Have students describe the relative location.
- Tell students that to drive to this farmers' market we need more information to find the exact location. This is called absolute location. Each of these farmers' markets have an exact location, which can be found by knowing the address of the farmers' market. An address has a street number, street name, city and state. Give an example of this using your school location. Have students think of other places that have addresses (e.g. homes, schools, businesses, etc.)
- Draw a red circle around the star that shows the location of your school.
- From your school where are most farmers' markets located (north, south, east, west)?
- From your school, where are the fewest farmers' markets located (north, south, east, west)?
Note: Below is a list of directions to dictate to students. Choose the order of the directions that best accommodates your school's location.
- Start at your school. Provide one of the directions below. This will instruct students to travel to a farmers' market that best fits the direction given.
- Next, start at the farmers' market traveled to, and provide a new direction, which will instruct students to travel to a new farmers' market.
- Continue until you reach the "final direction."
- Ask students to explain why they chose each location to check for reasonable answers.
- Going (provide a cardinal direction: north, south, east, west), draw a line in yellow from your school to a farmers' market that is farthest from your school.
- Going (provide a cardinal direction: north, south, east, west) of your current location, draw a line in green to a farmers' market that is closest to the border of Minnesota.
- Going (provide a cardinal direction: north, south, east, west) of your current location, draw a line in blue to a farmers' market that is furthest away.
- Going (provide a cardinal direction: north, south, east, west) of your current location, draw a line in orange to any farmers' market.
- Final direction: What direction would you have to go to get back to your school?
Day 3 – Fill My Basket Game
Materials Needed: Choose the appropriate version of the game for your student. Before printing the map game boards for either version, make sure to mark the location of your school on the map. See the directions below for additional details and materials for each version of the game. Access electronic versions of the map game board in the link below if desired.
Introduce the "Fill My Basket" game to students. Directions for the beginner or advanced version are outlined below.
- Fill My Basket beginner version: Recommended for Kindergarten and early First Grade. This version is played as a whole class.
- Fill My Basket advanced version: Recommended for Late First Grade and Second Grade. This version is played in small groups.
Game Objective: The objective of both versions of this game is for students to collect all the items on their Fill My Basket Game Cards. The game ends when one or more students have collected all the items.
Teachers: Mark the location of the city of your school on the Farmers' Market Game Board Map BEFORE making copies. This will also serve as the start space for the game.
Materials: Fill My Basket Game Cards – Beginner Version, Farmers' Market Game Board Map – Beginner Version, one six-sided die, game token.
- Partner up students in groups of two. As needed, students can be placed in a group of three or play independently.
- Distribute one Fill My Basket Game Card to each student partnership.
- Tell students they will be trying to collect all four items on their Fill My Basket Game Card by visiting different farmers' markets in Minnesota.
- Project the Farmers' Market Game Board Map.
- Have students locate their school on the map.
- Place the game token here to start the game.
- Show and discuss the different items at each farmers' market.
- Roll the die and place a game token on the market that corresponds with the number rolled on the die.
- Look at the items available at the farmers' market and review them with students. Tell students to look at their items on their game card. If they have an item that matches something that can be found at the farmers ‘market, students may circle or cross off the matching item. NOTE: Only one item may be crossed off at each farmers' market. If no items match, they will need to wait until the next turn to see if they have a match.
- Play continues until all items in a player's basket have been collected.
- A player that has collected all four items on their game card will call out "Filled My Basket"!
Special Notes: As you are moving to different farmers' markets, have students use relative location words (i.e. above, below, right, left, next to, far from, etc.) to describe the location in relation to the previous farmers' market or your school location.
- Which direction do we need to go to reach our next farmers' market on the map? Is it close or far? How do you know?
- Will we travel above or below our current location?
- Will we travel left or right to reach the next farmers' market?
Materials: Fill My Basket Game Cards – Advanced Version, Farmers' Market Game Board Map – Advanced Version, two six-sided die, game tokens, Fill My Basket Map Key.
Note: The advanced version is played in small groups of two to four players. If desired, it can be played as a whole class following the directions of the Beginner Version.
- Place students in groups of two to four.
- Project a copy of a Fill My Basket Game Card (Advanced Version).
- Tell students they will be trying to collect all five items on a Fill My Basket Game Card by visiting different farmers' markets in Minnesota.
- Project the Farmers' Market Game Board Map (Advanced Version).
- Show and discuss the different items at each farmers' market.
- Point out the item "Herbs" on the map. Tell students that herbs are used to add flavor to recipes. Tell students that many game cards include herbs. On the game card, the specific name of the herb is listed along with the word herb in parentheses. In the game, any herb can be collected should you land on a Farmers' Market that has the item "Herbs".
- Explain that each player will take turns traveling to different farmers' markets on the map. On their turn, a player will roll a pair of dice and add the dice together. The sum will determine which farmers' market they will travel to. For example: A student rolls a 3 and 5. 3 + 5 = 8. They place their game token on location 8 on the map.
- Look at the items available at the farmers' market. If an item on the players Fill My Basket card matches something that can be found at the farmers' market, that player may circle or cross off the matching item. NOTE: Only one item may be crossed off at each farmers' market. If no items match, they will need to wait until their next turn to see if they have a match.
- Play continues until one player has matched all the items on their Fill My Basket Game Card.
- Distribute the following materials for students to begin playing the game:
- Game tokens for each player.
- Farmers' Market Game Board Map (Advanced Version). Have students locate their school on the map, and place their game token here to start the game.
- Distribute Fill My Basket Map Keys for groups of students. This provides a detailed list of items at each farmers' market location on the Fill My Basket Game Board map.
- Distribute a Fill My Basket Game Card for each player.
- Give each group of students a pair of dice.
- Incorporate economic concepts of goods, services, and wants and needs. Have students identify goods and services at a farmers' market. Ask students to identify a good from a farmers' market that would satisfy a want or a need.
For example: If you want something crunchy to eat, what good from a farmers' market would satisfy that want?
Minnesota Academic Standards
Social Studies - Geography
0.3.1.1.1 Describe spatial information depicted in simple drawings and pictures. For example: While looking at a picture, the student says, "The boy is in front of the house. The house is at the edge of the woods." Other words describing spatial information in a picture include up, down, left, right, near, far, back, in front of.
188.8.131.52.1 Use relative location words and absolute location words to identify the location of a specific place; explain why or when it is important to use absolute versus relative location.
For example: Relative location words—near, far, left, right. Absolute location words—street address (important for emergencies, mail).
184.108.40.206.2 Locate key features on a map or globe; use cardinal directions to describe the relationship between two or more features.
Common Core Connections
Kindergarten Reading: Literature
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
Grade 1 Reading: Literature
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
Grade 2 Reading: Literature
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.