INVESTIGATE FRESH FOOD

Our free resource inspires students aged 5-14 to explore fruit and vegetables.

There are over 300,000 edible plants grown on Earth, but 90% of our diet is based on just 25 of them. Investigate Fresh Food activities will spark curiosity and knowledge about where food comes from, encouraging scientific investigation of fresh foods and their properties. 

Key questions 

  • What are the origins of the foods we eat?
  • Why do apples go brown?
  • What causes mixtures to rise or set? 

Key learnings 

  • Plants are very important foods and we base our diet upon them.
  • Close observation provides a whole new perspective on foods and their properties.
  • Fresh foods can change when exposed to the air, whisked, or combined with ingredients, and this can help in cooking.

FILM DISCUSSION POINTS

Watch our Investigate Fresh Food film.  

  • How many different things can you find out about melons during the video? 
  •  What different senses does Jacqueline use to investigate the melon? 
  • Which sense do you think helps Jacqueline find out the most about the melon?
  •  What other methods could you use to explore fresh fruit or vegetables? 

ACTIVITY IDEAS

  • Make a list of all the fruits and vegetables that the class has eaten, both regularly and occasionally. Challenge the class to try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Encourage students to try fruits and vegetables in different ways such as raw, grated, cooked, mashed, in a smoothie or soup and explore how changing the texture can change reactions to fruit or vegetables. For further challenge, ask the students to design menus to include the new fruits and vegetables they have tasted. For example, they could include the fruit or vegetables in a packed lunch, as a snack or as part of their favourite dish.
  • Give each group of students a fruit or vegetable and ask them to produce a ‘PMI’ about it (plus -something good about it, minus – something not very good about it, and interesting – something to question about it, or find out more). Challenge the students to turn a ‘minus’ into a ‘plus’ by thinking about the fruit or vegetable in a different way, for example, by changing the way it is served, cooked, seasoned – and more.
  • Collect donations of food suitable for a food bank – this could be done as a whole-school activity. Discuss what foods can be donated (cans and dried foods, and why this is) and why food banks are important for people. For further challenge, ask the students to write a recipe for a meal based on items in the donated box plus other affordable ingredients. You may want to give the meal a theme using the favourite foods for your local Team GB athlete. Offer a prize for the most creative recipe.
  • Visit a local farm or horticulture centre to see how foods are grown locally. This could be an arable farm, or herb/salad production in tunnels or under glass. Plan to grow some foods in the school grounds, window boxes or pots. Use these home-grown ingredients and others to design some ideas for school lunch using our Homegrown Cooking activity.

Student Resources

Fresh Food

This presentation explores the origins of healthy foods important to our diet. It introduces vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans and pulses. The presentation works well as an interactive assembly with a follow-up form time activity focused on investigating a fruit or vegetable.

Resource type: Presentation

Learning focus: Science - making observations, making scientific drawings

Recommended age group: 5-11

Browning Apples

This simple science investigation explores what it means to create a fair test. Pupils investigate what causes apples to go brown, how this can be prevented, and why this is important to our daily lives.

Resource type: Activity sheet

Learning focus: Science - conducting fair tests, exploring reversible and irreversible changes

Recommended age group: 7-11

Foaming and Fizzing

These simple scientific experiments work well as group activities. Students explore what causes mixtures to rise, comparing whisking egg whites and adding yeast, and the impact on mass and volume.

Resource type: Activity sheet

Learning focus: Science - estimating mass and volume

Recommended age group: 7-11

Thickening and Setting

This simple science investigation explores reversible and irreversible changes when heating food, such as eggs, and how this property is used for thickening and setting in recipes.

Resource type: Activity sheet

Learning focus: Science - observing changes of state, understanding temporary and permanent changes

Recommended age group: 7-14