Sample Lesson

Have a look at a sample lesson plan from the Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program.

To download a PDF version of this lesson plan, including the poem The Yellow Bean, click here.

Lesson 2: Care of our garden

The Big Idea

The students create rules to care for their garden, and begin to think about urban agriculture. Students explore new vegetables through examination.


Garden Talk: How Do Plants Grow?
Brainstorm: How We Care for Our Garden
Examination: Vegetable Guessing Game
Tasting: Mystery Vegetables

Tools and Materials

Chef: aerial photographs of Vancouver, variety of vegetables for guessing game, copies of recipe, knife and chopping board for tasting

Teacher: flipchart & felts


Review Lesson Plan.
Prepare vegetables for guessing game (suggested - four of each - celery root, turnip, zucchini, squash, or any other mysterious and cool vegetables).
Don’t forget to wear your whites!


Following this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify rules for Care of Garden
  • Use their five senses to identify vegetables
  • Begin to discuss the concept of urban agriculture

The Lesson

Garden talk (10 mins)

Have teacher arrange class either on desk or on circle on floor.

Remind class how Garden Talk works.

Last week we started Garden Talk. We’re going to have another Garden Talk today. This is our time to share whatever we’d like about changes in our garden, other gardens we see or visit, and vegetables we eat or learn about.

Does anyone have any thoughts about vegetables or gardens? Have you noticed any changes in our Garden?

Students probably will not have seen much growth yet. Ask them why they think they haven’t seen any changes.

Does that mean the seeds aren’t growing and changing? Do you think the changes are happening underground?

Ask the students to share what they know about how plants grow. Most students will probably be familiar with the basics of plant growth.

Once the seed is buried in the earth (remind them that they did that last week), it begins to sprout and push up towards the surface.
The roots grow first, and they stay underground.

Ask them if they have seen roots before (ex. big roots of trees that sometimes push up above the surface.)

If necessary, explain.

The roots are like the fingers of the plants. They reach out and bring water and nutrients from the soil back to the plants so that the plants can continue to grow.
Water and sunlight are like food for the plants, and they need both of these things to grow. That’s why we’ve put our plants by the window, so that they can get lots of sunlight to stay healthy and keep growing.

Even though we can’t see our vegetables yet, they are sprouting roots under the soil, and growing up towards the sunlight. When they get big and strong enough, they will push above the surface of the soil, and then we can watch them growing.

Discussion: Urban agriculture (5 minutes)

Tools: aerial photographs, flipchart and felts

Show students two aerial views of Vancouver, one from 30 years ago, and one recent. Ask them if they notice any differences between the two pictures. (Less green in the more recent one.)

Ask them if they know why. (Because there are less gardens, and less vegetables in Vancouver now than there used to be.)

That’s it’s so important for everyone to grow gardens, just like you guys. The more gardens and plants we have growing in the city, the healthier the city will be.
Can you think of different places that people grow gardens in the city?

  • in backyard
  • in park community garden
  • on roof
  • in greenhouses
  • on windowsill
  • in classroom!

Have a chef or teacher record answers on flipchart.

Brainstorm: How we care for our garden (8 minutes)

Tools: flipchart and felts

Now that we know a little about what plants need to grow, let’s brainstorm the ways we can best care for our garden. These will be the rules we’ll all follow to make sure our vegetables get everything they need. Since other classes will be visiting our garden (thanks to the beautiful posters you drew last week!), it will be really important for you to show them how to care for our vegetables, and to enforce the rules if necessary.

Ask the students if they have any rules they’d like to add to the list. Have a chef or teacher record suggestions. Ask them leading questions if necessary:

What do you think would happen if someone watered the garden when it wasn’t their turn? What would happen to you if you ate way too much food? Do you think you might get sick? Maybe we should have a rule that we can’t water the garden when it’s not our turn to water.

Attempt to have the students make a list including rules like:

  • Water the garden only when it’s your turn
  • Don’t eat or take anything out of the garden (No grazing!)
  • Don’t throw things or bury things in the garden, etc.
  • If you’re not sure about something in the garden, stop and ask

If necessary, ask the teacher to help guide the discussion to achieve this list.

Post the How We Care for Our Garden rules in Garden Corner.

Examination: Vegetable guessing game (20 minutes)

Tools: mystery vegetables, flipchart and felts

Explain to the students that they are going to have a chance to examine different kinds of vegetables and to try to guess what they are, and how you eat them. Encourage them to use their senses, to smell, touch, and observe qualities of the vegetables without tasting them.

Have teacher divide class into four groups and provide each group with vegetables. Ask them to answer the following questions for each vegetable (have teacher or chef display questions on board or flipchart):

  • What kind of vegetable is it?
  • Do you eat the inside or the outside?
  • Can you name a dish you might serve it in?

Circulate among groups and encourage them, give them tips or clues if necessary.
After 7-10 minutes, call the class back together and ask them for the answers to the questions for each vegetable. Provide them with the answers and a little information about each vegetable.

Have a chef or teacher record names of vegetables on flipchart or chalkboard.

Ex. This is a zucchini. You can eat the inside and the outside, but it’s usually cooked first.

Cut open to show the inside.

This vegetable is used to make delicious sauces for pasta, and sometimes, it’s grated up really small and used to make cakes.

Tasting (7 minutes)

Tools: chopping board and knife

While discussing mystery vegetables, have a chef or teacher prepare extra vegetables (that can be eaten raw) for tasting.

Circulate the vegetables among the kids.

Ask them to describe the flavours and textures of each vegetable.

Do the vegetables taste the way you thought they would after examining them? Why or why not?

Reading (5 minutes)

Tools: Poem, “The Yellow Bean

Tell the class you’d like to finish today by reading a poem about a plant trying really hard to grow. Remind them that their vegetables are doing the very same thing under the ground right now!

Read poem “The Yellow Bean.”

Wrap up (7 mins)

Thank the students for their hard work today. Remind them of all the things they did and learned.

Today we had our Garden Talk, and we talked about different ways that people grow gardens in the city.

We looked at some vegetables and guessed what they were and what they were for. (Name vegetables.)

We talked a bit about how plants grow and together, we made a list of rules for How We Care for Our Garden.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll probably start to see a lot more growth and change in our garden. Make sure to watch for that!

Next visit, we’d like to do a vegetable Show and Tell. We’d like each of you to bring a vegetable from home—something that you and your family eat. Maybe you can think of a certain dish you eat it in. Your teacher will remind you before then, but start thinking about it now.

End class.

Extension and integration (Follow-up activities for teachers)

  • Discuss the five senses and how the students used them to identify the vegetables.
  • Have students make up vegetable riddles and test each others’ vegetable knowledge.
  • Have students draw or discuss the new vegetables they tasted in the Mystery Game.

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Lesson Plan372.34 KB
The Yellow Bean42.08 KB