These investigations are virtual adaptations of the FoodPrints Curriculum

Show & Tell: Inventions

Investigation Description:
Show students a number of different kitchen tools or inventions (blender, sharp knives, coffee or grain grinder) and ask them what they are used for.

Next, show students some examples of garden inventions (trowel, hand cultivator, piece of drip tape, bulb planter, seed tape, etc.) and ask them what they think they are for.

Now, ask students to take 3 minutes to find an invention in their home. Ask student volunteers to describe their found item without showing it to the group and let students guess what the item is. It might work best for you to model giving descriptions for one of your items. For example, for a blender, you might give increasingly detailed clues such as “It uses electricity. It has sharp blades at the bottom. It has a lid and a spout. It is something I use to make smoothies.” Once students guess the invention, show it to them.

Time: 15 minutes

Teacher Materials: Kitchen and garden inventions to show

Student Materials: Household invention (optional)

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 5th Grade – Garden and Kitchen Inventions

Garden and Kitchen Inventions

Act It Out: Making Pancakes

Investigation Description:
Ask students if anyone has ever made or eaten pancakes. What pieces of kitchen technology do they think are ere used to make pancakes?

Ask students to act out the process of making pancakes without using their voices. This may include things like:
– measuring dry ingredients and mixing them in one bowl
– cracking eggs, measuring and pouring milk, and mixing wet ingredients into another bowl
– mixing wet and dry ingredients together
– scooping batter into a hot pan (you can also include turning on the stove and greasing the pan if you like!)
– flipping pancakes onto the second side, then onto plates
– adding syrup, cutting, and eating pancakes

Ask students afterwards what some of the tools are that they used. Which one was their favorite to use? Measuring spoons? Whisks? Pancake flippers? Rubber spatulas to scrape the last of the batter out of the bowl?

Time: 5-10 minutes

Teacher Materials: Pancake recipe, if needed, plus ingredients/equipment if you want to show them (optional)

Student Materials: None

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 2nd Grade – Changes Over Time

Changes over Time

Observational Drawings of an Invention

Investigation Description:
Give students a few minutes to look in their homes for helpful kitchen or household inventions.

Students will do an observational drawing of the invention, label the different parts of the tool, and write a sentence or two about how/why the invention/innovation is helpful. Remind them that observational drawings are as accurate as possible, that they should draw what they actually see in detail.

If students are really stuck finding something to draw, remind them that even everyday things like pencils, cell phones, and remote controls are all inventions that make our lives easier.

Give students 10-15 minutes to draw, label, and write, then ask for volunteers to share their work with the group.

Time: 15-20 minutes

Teacher Materials: Kitchen (and other household) inventions to show, paper, pencil, colored pencils

Student Materials: Paper and writing/drawing utensils, and a kitchen or household invention

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 5th Grade – Garden and Kitchen Inventions

Garden and Kitchen Inventions

Create Your Own Invention

Investigation Description:
Share a piece of seed tape with the group. Explain that seed tape is a very helpful invention that we use in FoodPrints a lot. Seed tape is great for many reason:
1) it saves money because seeds are spaced just right, so we don’t waste extra seeds when we have to thin plants later
2) it saves on our time and energy because correctly spaced seeds don’t have to be thinned
3) it can be made indoors, during any time of the year, and stored until it is needed
4) it is easy to make, so I can have lots of students help me make it in the classroom

Thinning seedlings is a lot of tedious, meticulous work, and so we are super happy that we discovered seed tape so that we don’t have to do that onerous chore.

Ask students to share chores or tasks that they don’t enjoy. Record the ideas on a whiteboard or chart paper.

Ask students to identify a chore they want to make easier or quicker or that they would like to do less often, and then to come up with an invention to address that chore or task.

Students should draw their invention and write a few sentences that explains what it is and what annoying chore or task it can help with. Here are some prompts that may help them organize their thinking:

-What is the invention called? (Come up with a snazzy name!)
-What does it do?
-When/how often would you use it?
-Why is it helpful / what problem does it solve?
-Who would want to buy this invention?
-How much would you sell it for?
(-If they are super creative, they might even come up with a jingle or slogan to advertise their product.)

If time allows, ask student volunteers to share their inventions.

Time: 25-35 minutes

Teacher Materials: Seed tape sample, whiteboard or chart paper, markers

Student Materials: Paper and writing/drawing utensils

This virtual investigation is adapted from: 5th Grade – Garden and Kitchen Inventions

Garden and Kitchen Inventions