45 min. This activity can be in addition to a dedicated seed saving lesson
Life Cycle of Plants/Observations/
Role of Teacher
Classroom Management, Curricular Tie/Introduction
Ingredients: Butternut Squash / Olive Oil / Pumpkin Seeds / Salt / Cinnamon / Cayenne / Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup
Equipment: Cutting Boards / Knives / Peelers / Baking Trays / Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper / Large Bowl / Measuring cups & spoons / Spatula / Strainers
- Fall is a busy time in the garden. Seed saving is once of many seasonal garden activities and connects beautifully to this cooking activity. See end of document for seed saving resources.
- Health Benefits of Squash include: High in vitamin A it benefits the eyes.
- Squash and the seeds are an important source of many nutrients, including Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin A (including beta-carotene) fiber and antioxidant compounds. These vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help keep eye sight sharp, the heart healthy, mood balanded, the immune system strong, skin healthy, and for those who work out, it’s a source of electolytes.
Topics / Goals / Learning Objectives
- Reinforce kitchen rules and knife safety
- Make observations of winter squash
- Identify, remove and prepare seeds for seed saving
- Explore cultural connections to squash
- Understand cooking technique of roasting/baking
Opening / hook
Welcome to the teaching kitchen! Today we will be making our Recipe of the Month, Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash. Butternut squash is in season, and is one of many different kinds of winter squash. Though they are in the same family as summer squash, there are some big differences. (Show pictures of other varieties of winter squash)
How do you think it’s adapted to survive in the cool fall weather? On your tables you will find butternut squash both whole and cut open. Take a minute to make observations. You can use you sense of taste the end of the lesson when you eat the dish we make. What do you notice about the color? Beta carotene is what gives it an orange color. This is also what makes carrots orange and is good for our eyes (share more health benefits the older the class) what can you tell me about the seeds?
The seeds can be saved and planted next year to grow more plants, or we can roast and eat them. Today we will scoop out the seeds and learn how to save them for next year. Once the seeds are removed, we will cut our squash into cube size pieces and follow the recipe to make a delicious dish. Practice using the Bear Claw technique when cutting today to keep fingers safe. (Demonstrate)
Let’s get cooking!
Procedures / Activities
Prep: peel and split open one butternut squash per station, provide one unprepped squash for observation.
- Welcome students outside the kitchen. Instruct them to wash hands and take a seat.
- Introduce the Recipe of the Month, making connections to curriculum and seasonality.
- Review knife safefy. The bearclaw technique is recommended.
- Squash is cut into cube shapes, spices and remaining ingredients are added.
- After all students have finished and the squash is on baking trays place them in the oven.
- While the squash is roasting, students learn how to save the seeds. They remove any pulp and rinse (students can rinse with a strainer and bowl at tables or use sink) cleaned seeds are placed on trays to dry.
- Students return to seats and set tables.
- Optional: serve with pumpkin seeds. Eat and enjoy!
After ending with a tasting allow students time to vote on whether they simply “like it, loved it, or tried it.”
Add an exit ticket to assess student comprehension of teaching objectives.
Extensions / Adaptations / Games
- Students can tour garden and harvest squash where available
- Students can bring recipe cards home and prepare dish with their families
- Lower grades can connect to math by estimating how many seeds are in each squash then counting the seed on the trays and comparing the difference
- Grades covering 3D shapes can explore cubes and brainstorm other 3D shapes
- Seeds can be dried and stored for follow up lesson on preparing roasted seeds
- Follow up with lessons on different types of seed saving
Assessments / Successes / Challenges
This is a simple recipe but cutting the squash with butter knives can be challenging for younger students.