Mother nature decided to dump three inches of snow on us last night (Yes, that is what living in Minnesota is all about). We had no errands to run, so it was a perfect day to bake bread. To get the kids involved, I sprinkled in some activities to learn about wheat.
Wheat Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten
We started the day snuggling on the couch and reading two books on how wheat turns into bread.
From Wheat to Bread, by Kristin Thoenne Keller is a great non-fiction book telling the story of how wheat is grown, harvested, milled and turned into bread. This book is good to read to preschool and kindergarten and readable for first or second graders.
An another great book is Bread Comes to Life: A Garden of Wheat and Loaf to Eat, by George Levenson. This book is more focused on bread making, but the rhyming verse is engaging. The baker in the book grows his own wheat in his backyard. He also mills it by hand, giving readers an inside look at how the process is done. I really like the large photographs in this book.
Wheat is a really easy plant to grow in the classroom. It sprouts fast and it tolerates over and under watering. A project I have done with students is writing the student’s first initial in glue on a piece of cardboard. Have the student shake wheat seeds on top of the glue. Gently, spray the seeds with water. In a few days the seeds will sprout.
You can also grow seeds in egg cartons or cut off milk cartons.
Here is a time-lapse video of wheat sprouting
No wheat unit would be complete without making bread. Today, Hannah and I made brown bread (because Jonnie didn’t want to participate). Brown bread is simple for a classroom because it doesn’t involve yeast or eggs.
I would invite two or three students to the front of the class to help with measuring, mixing and pouring.
Simple Brown Bread Recipe
- Mixing spoons and large bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups buttermilk
- 2 greased bread pans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
Add the buttermilk and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the bread pans.
Bake for one hour.
While the bread was baking, I had the kids play with flour. Each child was given a cookie sheet with 1/3 cup of flour on it. They used toy cars and plastic spoons to draw pictures and play in the flour. Of course, this was Jonnie’s favorite activity.
As the kids played, we talked about how the flour felt, smelled and even tasted. I also asked them questions on how flour was made to see if they remembered any thing from the books we read.
North Dakota Wheat Commission : This website is packed with activities, coloring sheets, printable books, and posters to help Prek-5th graders learn about wheat.
GrainChain.com : This website is a collaboration of the UK grain growers, flour millers, and bakers associations. On the site you will find games, worksheets, activities, videos, recipes, and more for kids 5-16 years old.
Zweber Farms connection
On our farm we have fed wheat middlings to our cattle. Wheat middlings are the by-product of the milling process. They are good source of protein, energy, fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
Also, we bed our animals with wheat straw (the stalks left over when the grain is taken). Organic requirements mandate that bedding for organic animals is from organic sources. So, if our cattle would chew on the straw they are still organic.
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