Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

A Thanksgiving Lesson on Where Food Comes From—with FREE download!

  Editor's Note: This blog was previously published, we're re-sharing it today during the Thanksgiving season.  


by Hameray Staff  

Thanksgiving, our biggest food holiday of the year, provides the perfect opportunity to do a short unit on food and how it gets to the table.  As a harvest celebration, Thanksgiving naturally lends itself to discussions about farms and what a harvest is, as well as the various other steps in the food production process from farm to table.

                                                                                         The foods traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving are generally minimally processed foods that are easily traced back to their farm origins.  Try introducing your class to some food-related fictional literature , such as  Thanksgiving Dinner  (which lists traditional Thanksgiving foods in a playful rhyme),  The Little Red Hen  (which traces the bread-making process from seed to table), or your favorite Thanksgiving story or food/farm story.





Then bolster the ideas from those fictional stories with informational texts that teach children about farms, harvests, and where food comes from . In the  Story World Real World  series, the  Little Red Hen theme set  comes with the storybook and three food-related informational texts:  Different Kinds of Bread  (which explores different breads from around the world),  Who Made Our Breakfast?  (which uses real photography and facts to explain the seed-to-table process of breadmaking introduced in the story book), and  Great Grains  (which discusses how grains are used for food).

Other books that introduce children to farming include the following:

1) General:  Where Does It Come From? On the Farm

2) Animals: the books in the Farm habitat in the  Zoozoo Animal World  series  

3) Plants: the books in the  Growing Things  theme of the  My World series

Pretty much any book that help children make the connection between their food and its source will be helpful for this lesson. One way to really tie the concept to the holiday is to  ask your students to bring a Thanksgiving recipe from home, then trace each of the ingredients in the recipe back to its source . You can let the children or parents choose the recipe, or you can brainstorm a list of foods as a class, then divide the class into groups of assigned recipes. This also allows children who might not have traditionally American customs to suggest a special holiday dish from their own culture and share the information with the class.
You can  download a free worksheet  here  to use in this lesson! It has spaces for recipe ingredients, whether the ingredient source is a plant or an animal, and a space for children to try to draw the ingredient (either in natural or processed form) or cut and paste an image of it.