Beets are rad(ish)!

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Beets are rad(ish)!

This year, Valentine’s Day was full of nostalgic excitement, as I remembered my days of elementary school, full of sugary candy and a “holiday”. This was my first year teaching on Valentines Day, and I wanted to share something special with the students of 2nd  Street Elementary. I decided to do a lesson plan on the heart! What foods are good for the heart? Why is it that the red color of beets or even a radish, are good for the heart? What do you love that isn’t a material item? These are all questions that I proposed to my students. I decided to make dye out of beets and radishes. I chopped and boiled the beets and radishes (bradishes) overnight .In the morning, I put them in a clear mason jar. I also made a visual poster of natural dyes and food that make them. Some things that stood out in the lesson were the student’s amazement that turmeric and seaweed can make dye! Many of them didn’t know what turmeric is. I had them smell turmeric, kelp, coffee grounds and onions. It was a rain day, so we had an indoor discussion of their sensory experiences as well as breaking down antioxidants and why they help the body function and give certain foods color. Their favorite part of the lesson was at the end, when we painted in our field journals with the beet dye. I gave the kids each a piece of fennel paintbrush from the garden, and they painted a “love” note to the garden. It was one of their favorite activities and had them wildly engaged.

Beets are rad(ish)!

This year, Valentine’s Day was full of nostalgic excitement, as I remembered my days of elementary school, full of sugary candy and a “holiday”. This was my first year teaching on Valentines Day, and I wanted to share something special with the students of 2nd  Street Elementary. I decided to do a lesson plan on the heart! What foods are good for the heart? Why is it that the red color of beets or even a radish, are good for the heart? What do you love that isn’t a material item? These are all questions that I proposed to my students. I decided to make dye out of beets and radishes. I chopped and boiled the beets and radishes (bradishes) overnight .In the morning, I put them in a clear mason jar. I also made a visual poster of natural dyes and food that make them. Some things that stood out in the lesson were the student’s amazement that turmeric and seaweed can make dye! Many of them didn’t know what turmeric is. I had them smell turmeric, kelp, coffee grounds and onions. It was a rain day, so we had an indoor discussion of their sensory experiences as well as breaking down antioxidants and why they help the body function and give certain foods color. Their favorite part of the lesson was at the end, when we painted in our field journals with the beet dye. I gave the kids each a piece of fennel paintbrush from the garden, and they painted a “love” note to the garden. It was one of their favorite activities and had them wildly engaged.

Sarah Shutman

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