The following activities can be used to promote fruit and vegetables in the classroom during Kick Start to Crunch&Sip (term one), Fruit & Veg September or at any other time during the school year.
- Plan and write a feature article about Fruit & Veg September or healthy eating initiatives at your school for a local newspaper or your school's newsletter.
- Class debates or persuasive writing. Students write a persuasive text or conduct a debate on topics such as 'all Western Australian students should have a daily Crunch&Sip break' or 'all junk food advertising should be banned.' Students should consider their point of view and write to convince a reader or listener of their opinions.
- Create a class cookbook with healthy original recipes or family favourites. Students can explore how recipes are grouped in cookbooks and how they are structured. Include the production of the cookbook and how it can be promoted.
- Writing fruit and veg adventures. Characters such as Apple Blossom, Celerina Celery, Ben D Banana, Crazy Carrot and Squashed Orange can be developed to create an adventure story. The adventures might centre around how being nutritious can make them a hero.
- Invent, describe and illustrate a new fruit or vegetable.
- Write sensory poems to describe the look, feel, taste, smell and sound of fruit and veg, contrasting the inside and outside of a piece of fruit.
- Compile a fruit and veg crossword.
- Writing descriptions. Describe characteristics of a chosen fruit or vegetable such as colour, shape, size, similar objects, and taste. Include the food group it belongs to and other foods that are also in this food group according to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
- Measurement using a selection of fruit and vegetables use and respond to comparative language such as: which piece of fruit is longest/heaviest/biggest? Compare weight with volume - how many pumpkins would you need for 500g? What about 500g of lettuce leaves?
- Crunch&Sip surveys. Students collect, organise, summarise and represent data pertaining to Crunch&Sip or fruit and veg such as: what is your favourite fruit or vegetable, what our class has for our Crunch&Sip break, favourite fruits and vegetables, foods eaten at lunch time, class intake of fruit and vegetables etc. The results can be graphed and displayed and also published in the school newsletter. Surveys can be extended to include several classes, parents and the school community. This video explains data collection (for junior primary).
- Fruity maths. Using bulk common fruit such as apples or oranges encourage students to pose mathematical questions such as - How thick is the skin of the fruit? How long does it take to eat the piece of fruit? What is the average time taken to peel? What is the average number of seeds? What is the average surface area/weight? How much does the peel cost? What percentage/fraction of the fruit is peel, seeds, juice and pulp? Conduct a class investigation to find out the answers.
- Parts and wholes. Offer a mixed fruit and veg platter at recess by cutting fruit and vegetables into halves and quarters, relating to the concept of whole and parts.
- Modify fruit and vegetable recipes so they feed a family or a class. Use price lists from supermarket websites to work out the cost of the recipe.
HEALTH & PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- Food balance online game. Help Peach and Basil get across the tightrope safely by choosing healthy meals and snacks from the five food groups.
- Discuss the importance of a balanced diet. Refer to the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Encourage students to increase their fruit and vegetable intake and decrease unhealthy snacks.
- Discuss the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables. Include questions on personal intake of fruit and vegetables and what influences their food choices. Discuss ways of increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables. Publish this information for class use, as posters or snippets in the school newsletter.
- Use a decision making model to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables by students. For example: review the situation, plan before deciding, decide and act, monitor and evaluate.
- Snack record. Over a week, set aside time each day for students to make a daily record of snacks they eat and the times they eat them. At the end of the week, have students examine their snack record and with a partner identify if they need to improve their snacking habits. If the answer is yes, ask students to think of ways to improve their snacking habits. Students can decide on a snacking goal and make a plan to achieve their goal. Emphasise that snacking goals need to be realistic and achievable. Have students check their progress towards their snacking goal every few days.
- Hygiene. Discuss the importance of washing fruit and vegetables and personal hygiene before cooking and eating. Useful interactive websites include Be a Soaper Hero and Scrub Club.
- Health promotion. Students create an action plan to promote a healthy behaviour at the school e.g. healthy lunchboxes or reducing litter.
- Monitor fruit, vegetable and water intake. Use the Crunch&Sip tally charts and ask students to reflect on their fruit/veg and water intake. Older students could set up their own spread sheet for their intake or to collate the whole school results, or use the tally chart on a SMART Board.
- Crunch&Sip and dental health. The Western Australian Dental Health Service has a number of teacher resources relating to the benefits of eating fruit and veg and drinking water on dental health.
- Choosing drinks. Students compare the sugar and caffeine content of common drinks (juice, milk, cordial, soft drink, sports drinks and flavoured mineral waters). Research the benefits of drinking water as opposed to other drinks (the only drinks recommended to children are water and milk). Ask students to suggest ways to increase their water consumption. Check out Rethink Sugary Drinks for further information and to access posters, videos and fact sheets.
- Weigh up your lunch. Students can learn about what makes up a healthy lunchbox through this interactive online game.
- Crunch&Sip collage. Create a class collage of foods that can be eaten for Crunch&Sip.
- Print making with vegetables. Click here for details.
- Still life. Students sketch a still life of a basket of fruit or vegetables, focusing on light and shading.
- 'You are what you eat' collage. Share some images of Guiseppe Archimboldo's paintings of fruit and vegetable faces or look at the Go for 2&5 fruit and veg characters to recreate or design new portraits. Portraits can be collage, drawn or created from fresh fruit and veg and photographed.
- Colouring in. Colour in or create an electronic Vegie Man on the Go for 2&5 website. Alternatively download and print colouring in sheets from Fresh for Kids.
- Put on a show. Perform the Crunch&Sip rap or learn 'Veggie Believer', available here.
- Lyrics swap. Using a common or popular song, students change the lyrics to promote eating fruit and vegetables.
- Listen and discuss. Play students some of the songs from The Vegetable Plot or the Formidable Vegetable Sound System. Use this as a basis for a discussion on different methods to promote healthy eating to children.
HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES
- Research project topics could include: why fruit and vegetables are good for you, ways to get more fruit and veg into your diet, Indigenous foods, the pros and cons of agriculturalists using sprays or research a specific fruit or vegetable. Information on the vegetable industry in Australia can be found here.
- Research could be presented as a poster, mobile, rap song, booklet, radio play, PowerPoint presentation or other innovative ways.
- Identify the origins of fruit and vegetables on a world map.
- Investigate the journey of certain fruits and vegetables from paddock to plate. Information could be presented in a flow chart. Discover where food comes from and how it gets to our plate.
- Interview an older person about what they used to eat as a child.
- Investigate scurvy, how it affected sailors and how a cure was discovered.
- Dissect fruit and vegetables to identify parts. Learn about the differences between fruit and vegetables and classify by whether they grow on a tree, vine, bush or in the ground.
- Lifecycle of a fruit or vegetable e.g. the apple tree or bean. Explore plant parts through drawing.
- Grow a variety of vegetables. Plant vegetable seeds to observe and record the changes. Create a fair test for the best way to grow vegetables using variables (e.g. no sunlight, no water) and control conditions. Do this activity online here. Broad beans are great fun and fast growing. Sprouts are easy and can be eaten in a salad. Other ideas for growing include a pizza garden and companion planting.
- Investigate decomposition of fruit and vegetable scraps. Ask students what might happen to the food scraps after a few days if they are thrown in the bin. Conduct an experiment where food scraps are left for a few days in a jar. Students can record any changes to the food and answer questions such as: What happened to the food scraps? Why do you think this happened? Have small groups of students discuss ways to use food scraps.
- Cook fruit and veg (e.g. vegetable pizzas) and discuss how the food changes in colour texture and taste when cooked and factors that influence the rate of change. Great recipe books for kids can be downloaded from Foodbank WA's Superhero Foods HQ.
- Fruit preservation. Using apple slices, design and conduct an experiment to delay the browning process. Variables to rub on the apple could include crushed vitamin C tablets, lemon juice and water. Observe differences after 1 hour.
- Floating and sinking fruit. Using oranges and a selection of other fruit, guess which fruits will float or sink in a container of water. After testing, try again with whole orange peel and flesh.
- Why do plants make fruit? Find out with this video from the ABC.
- Origins of food. Students construct a flow chart indicating the origins of the fruit or veg for their Crunch&Sip break. The flow chart may include: growing, processing, transporting, buying, eating, and recycling/composting.
- Crunch&Sip sort. Group/sort students fruit and veg for their Crunch&Sip break according to how it is grown e.g. on a tree, on a vine, under the ground etc.
- Testing water. Students conduct a blind tasting of different types of water (bottled, tap, rain, flavoured, mineral) with another class to determine if they can identify which is which and preferences.
- Water theme. Incorporate hydration and the body's use of water into a wider water theme. Visit the Water Corporation's website for information on becoming a Waterwise School.
- Design a fruit and vegetable board game. Modify a game to include fruit and vegetables e.g. Snakes and Ladders.
- Design a healthy food vending machine for your school. Factors to consider: Include five food groups, will it have refrigerated or heated sections, does food need replacing regularly, how would you make food appealing?
- Design a structure for tomato vines and other vegetables to grow.
- Design and build garden beds.
- Design efficient packaging for Crunch&Sip snacks that will prevent bruising of fragile fruit.
- Design and make scarecrows or other structures to deter crows and other garden pests.
- Develop a marketing plan to sell a particular fruit or vegetable. Include a menu, make healthy recipes and design packaging. Check these websites for examples: Australian Avocados, Australian Pears, Australian Bananas, Potato Growers, Australian Mushroom Growers.
- Fruit and vegetables from different countries and cultures.
- Learn names of fruit and vegetables in languages other than English.
- Discuss how different cultures prepare and cook various fruit and vegetables.
- Cook in class: Cook some traditional recipes of different countries.
- A to Z of fruit & veg brainstorm. Challenge students to create a comprehensive A to Z list of fruit and vegetables. This could be completed as an individual, small group or whole class activity. Younger grades can use pictures from catalogues or magazines or their own drawings and glue on the relevant initial letter. Upper grades may have a time limit to complete their lists or in small groups, rotate through each letter of the alphabet to add to the list. Completed lists can be compared with these links: Market Fresh, Fresh for Kids and Go for 2&5
- Have a class fruit and veg tasting. Seek donations from local businesses or growers, or ask students to bring something from home for a shared Crunch&Sip snack. Encourage students to try fruit and veg that they have not tasted before or would like to taste again, such as golden kiwi fruit, persimmon, fig and guava. Children are often more likely to try new foods in group situations, as everyone else is doing it! Appropriate measures to check for food allergies should be taken.
- Complete a PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) chart on the topic 'eating 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day' to gauge students thoughts on eating fruit and vegetables.
- Crunch&Sip garden. Students can supplement the fruit and veg bought from home with produce grown in the school patch. Alternatively, plant a Crunch&Sip garden using this garden guide. This video from the ABC explains how to plant a vegie garden and these NSW resources are fantastic!
- Name the fruit and veg. Print off photos of a variety of fruit and vegetables and ask students to name each one. Alternatively, see if they can name all of Vegieman's parts.
- Share students' stories of how they enjoy fruit and vegetables at home and at school. Students can also discuss fruit and vegetable dishes that can be eaten for specific occasions e.g. birthday parties, religious days, sporting events.
- Cooking. Invite parents to cook with your class, focusing on fruit and vegetable based recipes. Click here for Go for 2&5 recipes.
- Fruit and vegetable 20 questions. Tell students you are thinking of a fruit or vegetable and invite them to guess what it is. Only 'yes' or 'no' answers are allowed.
- Supermarket/fruit and vegetable retailer/farm visits. Your local fresh produce store may be keen to form links with local communities and work around healthy eating campaigns. A visit would aim to develop positive links and create positive images around fruit and vegetables. Geraldton Fruit & Veg (email firstname.lastname@example.org) offers school tours. Farms sites offering school visits include: Landsdale Farm School and Kelmscott Senior High School Farm.
- Establish a Crunch&Sip break. Involve students in the decision making process by thinking through key questions to form an action plan: What needs to be done? What risks and barriers exist? What strategies can be used to implement changes? Who is responsible? What are the timeframes? This process aims to allow students to have ownership of the Crunch&Sip break and increase participation.
- Tally fruit and vegetable consumption for a week. Students aim for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day and reflect on their achievements.
- Fruit and vegetable sort. Collect pictures of fruit and vegetables from magazines or supermarket catalogues for students to sort according to colour, size, shape, tried/not tried, eaten cooked/raw/either etc.
- Aussie Apples have a number of curriculum activities for primary school students. Visit www.aussieapples.com.au