We recently read two wonderful books for children, Pumpkin Soup, and Delicious both by Helen Cooper.
In the first story three animals engage in their regular ritual of making pumpkin soup.
A squabble soon arises causing a serious problem for the friends to solve.
In the next tale, the friends are once again in a difficult situation as they do not have any pumpkins with which to make their soup. They have to get creative with other vegetables.
We also read, one of my favorite stories, Tops and Bottoms.
This is a clever story line that engages the reader to learn about roots,stems and leaves and from which part of the plant different vegetables come.
After reading these stories we started talking about various vegetables and soups and decided to make our own soup. We made a list while brainstorming vegetables we knew until we had come up with a different vegetable for each student to bring to class. That was 16 different ingredients for us!
The children brought their vegetables to school on Monday. We asked for them the day after a weekend to allow shopping time and an extra day before soup making in case someone forgot an item. We used that day to explore the veggies...we sorted them, looked at them with magnifying glasses, held them, smelled them, and then they began comparing how heavy they were to one another.
Upon observing this, we brought out our pan balances and the children engaged in weighing various combinations of the vegetables.
We had to be willing to allow the children to touch and explore the food and not worry about germs at this point. We knew we would be scrubbing and pealing them.
The next day, we started our soup activity by writing the recipe together which I copied for each child.
We set up stations for washing, peeling and chopping the vegetables. I even brought in my food processor for the tough to chop items such as the rutabaga and the children enjoyed putting the items in and watching them get sliced.
After adding all of our chopped vegetables, we added chicken broth and put the pot of the stove to cook.
We could smell the cabbage fairly soon. It was certainly an interesting smelling soup and a very pretty color due to the beets. We predicted how the vegetables would change during the cooking process. Most of the children though they would get softer. When it was cooked, in true community soup nature, we offered some to all the classes in the building. The children enjoyed explaining to the younger children how we had made it.
Sadly only about 2 children actually liked the soup, but everyone did try it. If we do this again sometime, we will think of a vegetable other than cabbage....hmmm, how could we forget green beans or peas....?!
It was a community and cooperative effort and many of these children learned about some vegetables they had never heard of or seen, much less tasted.