One of my favorite Ag in the Classroom lessons is explaining to the kids how everything they eat comes from the soil. I have given it several times with our County Conservation District. We tried to find the original source for this lesson, but were not successful. Try this one out on your kids at supper tonight. See if they would like to eat soil for supper.
Hi, my name is ___________ and this presentation is called “Soil, It’s what’s for supper.” How many of you think soil sounds good for supper?
You know what, it doesn’t sound good to me either. But, what if I told you everything you eat for breakfast, lunch and supper is because of soil? Do you believe me?
MAKE A GIANT SANDWICH
Well, I’m really hungry today so I’m going to make a Soil Sandwich. Everything I’m going to use to make my sandwich is because of soil.
So what’s the first thing I need to make my sandwich?
Bread. Let’s talk about bread. What is bread made from? (wheat, grains, etc) And where do wheat and other grains come from? (plants)
What are the three things plants need to grow? (soil, water, sunlight) Why do plants need soil? (it’s where they get their nutrients and water to grow and also anchors the plant)
What’s the next thing I should add to my sandwich? How about some turkey or ham? Doesn’t that sound good?
Turkey lunch meat comes from turkeys, right? So how can we say this turkey lunch meat comes from soil? Does anyone have an idea? (turkeys eat seeds which come from plants which grow in soil, turkeys eat insects which eat plants which grows in soil)
What about ham? Where does ham come from? (pig/hog)
Can someone tell me how this ham lunch meat comes from soil? (Pigs eat corn and processed soybeans to grow. No pigs don’t eat grass.)
I think I’d like to add some veggies to my sandwich. I’m going to add some onion, tomato and lettuce to my sandwich. How do all three of these veggies relate to soil? (All plants that get their nutrients and water from soil. Did you know the bulb of the onion actually grows underground and we have to pull or dig them up?)
Only add lettuce but show them the onion and tomato.
I almost forgot the cheese. What is the main ingredient in cheese? (milk)
And where does milk come from? (cow)
Can someone tell me how this milk relates to soil? (Cows eat grass, corn, soybeans, and other grains. Cows can eat grass because they have 4 compartments to their stomachs that can digest the grass unlike ours and the pig’s that only has one.)
My sandwich is almost done. Some people like to add mustard and mayonnaise to their sandwich. Do any of you? Does anyone know what mustard is made from?
What about the mayonnaise? What is mayonnaise made out of? Does anybody know?
Well, let’s just check on the label of this jar and see what it says. Do you know that every ingredient in this jar or any food in the grocery store has a list of ingredients and they are in order by the amount that is in the jar? Hmmmm...the main ingredient is soybean oil. Does anyone know what a soybean is? (plant)
The next things listed are vinegar and high fructose corn syrup. Both of these things come from plants. So the three main ingredients all come from....(plants).
You know what, I’m no longer hungry.
But all that talking made me very thirsty. What I need is water. (get out bottled water and take a drink) Mmmm, water is so good! How does water relate to the soil?
Soil helps clean the water – it removes things like fertilizers from your lawns, animal poop, and other things we don’t want in there.
IF YOU HAVE TIME, TALK ABOUT THE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE
What about the bottle – it’s made from plastic. Does anyone know how plastic is made?
Mostly plastic is made from petroleum which is found deep underground. It’s nonrenewable. Does anyone know what nonrenewable means? (Can’t be replaced/made)
So does that mean when the world runs out of petroleum we won’t be able to make plastic anymore? Well, we could recycle but guess what! Scientists figured out that plastic can be made from corn, wheat and other grains. And this type of plastic is biodegradable. What does that mean?
You have been such a good group today. I’d like to share my soil sandwich with you. And tonight, when you are eating supper with your parents, think about where each item of your food came from, and remember – it’s all because of SOIL!
Cut up sandwich and share with students. Don’t open mayo or mustard though it takes too much time and everyone wants something different!
I have done this lesson with 2nd graders and they really get into it. I have also presented the same concept to Kindergarten using a package of cookies and they really seem intrigued by all the ingredients and where they come from.
Thanks to the Wilson County Conservation District for supplying the script to me.
-A Kansas Farm Mom