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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Edible Botany

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While we often stress the importance of eating our fruits and vegetables, how often do we ask our children to eat their roots and stems?

Learning the various parts of a plant may be a common lesson in a Montessori classroom.  However, what can help those lessons come to life more than exploring those parts with our taste buds?

For this activity, I began by collecting various edible plant parts.  Here is what I chose:
  • Flower:  Cauliflower
  • Fruit:  Tomato
  • Leaf:  Romaine Lettuce
  • Roots:  Carrots
  • Seeds:  Pumpkin Seeds
  • Stem:  Asparagus
     
I gave my children plant part cards so they could label each item.


They worked together and were able to label everything correctly.


Then came the fun part - trying each of the items.


While my children had eaten everything I presented before, the activity made them particularly eager to try them anew.  In fact, I couldn't get them to stop eating.  I intend to try this activity again in the near future and introduce some new foods they have not been interested in before. 


We used a plant part checklist to label each item.  We checked them off as we tried them.  And yes, one of my children decided to eat a tomato as if it were an apple.


The lesson quickly took on a practical life element as my children asked to cut the fruits and vegetables.


We practiced our knife skills and safety.


To highlight just how successful this activity was, my children spent over an hour cutting and tasting.  It culminated with their desire to make salads.  They acquired the proper dishware and proceeded to prep the veggies.  


Overall, the activity was a phenomenal success.  I haven't seen my children this engaged in something for a long time.  I was also surprised at how deeply it helped them connect the lesson to other fruits and vegetables.  It wasn't long before we were trying to identify as many sources of seeds as we could.  My son's face lit up as he proclaimed that by eating a tomato we were actually eating both a fruit and seeds.

If you would like to try this activity at home, I have a free printable available here.  It includes the plant part cards, journal pages for the tasting experience, and a tasting checklist.

Here are a few suggestions to try:
Flower:  Broccoli, Cauliflower, Artichoke, Squash Blossom
Fruit:  Bell Pepper, Tomato, Apple, Banana, Any Berry, Squash
Leaf:  Cabbage, Chard/Kale, Spinach, Cilantro, Parsley, Basil
Roots:  Carrot, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Beet, Turnip, Radish
Seeds:  Peanuts, Sunflower, Pumpkin Seed, Lentils, Wheat Berries, Rice, Quinoa
Stem:  Asparagus, Onion, Celery, Cinnamon, Leek, Rhubarb

Happy tasting!
-Bess

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and join me at Montessori Homeschooling.This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series.  I am truly honored to be part of this endeavor.  Don't forget to visit all of the participating blogs to learn more about Botany.


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