K6-1 Kitchen Orientation

Published July 25, 2016 | Updated October 3, 2016
Place of Learning: Kitchen
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 6
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

This lesson introduces sixth grade students to the kitchen classroom. Students meet staff, explore the kitchen, learn the basic rules and systems, and practice setting the table to eat a garden snack. While eating, they share a food memory.



After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Name and locate the basic tools and equipment in the kitchen
  • Practice implementing basic kitchen routines
  • Use descriptive language and sensory details to describe a food memory

During this lesson, students will:

  • Accurately identify the basic tools and equipment in the kitchen
  • Set the table, compost foods scraps and correctly utilize the bussing system
  • Share a personal food memory using descriptive language and sensory details


  • Pitcher
  • Reamer
  • Apple corer
  • Potato masher
  • Zester
  • Grater
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Crinkle cutter
  • Pasta crimper
  • Garlic peeler
  • Bench scraper
  • Wooden spoon
  • Chefs’ knives
  • Paring knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Measuring beaker
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons


Before You Begin
  • Create the Visual Aid
  • Collect all the tools and ingredients, and then distribute them to tables
  • Copy the Food Memory Worksheet for students
  • Prepare a seasonal garden snack

Welcome (10 minutes)

1. Invitation*:  

Welcome students and divide them into three table groups.

  1. Table groups are color-coded: green, red, and blue.

Introduction (10 minutes)

2. Exploration*: 

Students ask questions of teachers and volunteers.

  1. Have a student volunteer from each group choose a question from the question cards for each adult to answer before they are introduced.

3. Concept Invention*:

Students learn about the kitchen classroom.

  1. Emphasize the students’ transition from the garden to the kitchen.
    • Invite them to share examples of plants they saw growing in the garden throughout the fall.
  2. Have students define organic and seasonal.
    • Discuss what is cooked in the kitchen (organic, seasonal, vegetarian).
  3. Discuss the behavior expectations in the kitchen.

Table Group Orientation (30 minutes)

4. Exploration*:

Students tour the kitchen, explore cooking stations and get to know the toolbox.

  1. Break into table groups.
  2. Lead a small group check-in.
  3. Go on a walking tour of important kitchen features and systems:
    • Cubbies
    • Library
    • Recycling
    • Compost
    • Spice Table
    • Oven
    • Dish Cupboard
    • Altar
    • Metro Shelf
    • Fridge
    • Bussing Station
    • Griddle
    • Dish Tower
    • Dishwasher
  4. Return to table groups and give students time to explore their cooking station and toolbox with the directive to observe and memorize everything they find in each place.

5. Concept Invention*:

Students learn about tools, ingredients, equipment and responsibilities.

  1. Quiz the group after exploration time to help them recall the names, uses, and locations of basic tools, ingredients, and equipment.
  2. Explain to the table groups their areas of responsibility and that students are responsible for cleaning and maintaining these three areas:
    • Table
    • Toolbox
    • Cooking Station

Practicing Kitchen Rituals (30 minutes)

6. Application*:

Students apply what they have learned to eat a snack together.

  1. Describe to students the items needed to set the table.
  2. Help students to set the table for a garden snack.
    • Encourage them to work independently by giving as little hands-on help as possible.
  3. Eat.
    • While eating, pass out the Food Memory Worksheet and encourage students to share a food memory.
    • If there is time, use the question cards to engage the full group in shared conversation.
  4. Clean up.
    • Have students familiarize themselves with the kitchen systems by composting, bussing dishes, and refilling water pitchers.

At the Closing Circle (10 minutes)

7. Reflection*:

Students reflect on today’s class time.

  1. Invite students to share their food memories.
  2. Answer any remaining questions.
  • Seasonal
  • Organic
  • Cubbies
  • Dish Cupboard
  • Altar
  • Metro Shelf
  • Fridge
  • Bussing Station
  • Griddle
  • Dish Tower
  • Spice Table
Connections to Edible Education Framework

Communication is strengthened by sharing a personal memory while working as a group to set the table, eat a snack and clean up. Sustainability is highlighted by connecting plants in the garden to work in the kitchen, and understanding that the ESY kitchen is organic, seasonal and vegetarian. Nourishment is emphasized by eating organic, seasonal food that is not only good for our bodies and the earth, but is also delicious and flavorful. Life Skills are sharpened as students set the table and have conversation while eating together, then clear dirty dishes, compost food scraps and recycle waste water after they have finished eating.

Academics fulfill Common Core State Standards in ELA for integrating information presented in different media; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; interpreting information presented in diverse media; presenting claims and findings; adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks; demonstrating command of standard English grammar; using knowledge of language and its conventions; and acquiring words and phrases. See Connections to Academic Standards below for details. 

Connections to Academic Standards

Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts and Literacy, Grade 6

  • RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RST.6.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.  
  • RST.6.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • SL.6.1.b Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • SL.6.1.c Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
    • SL.6.1.d Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
  • SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL.6.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
  • SL.6.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language standards 1 and 3 on page 53 for specific expectations.)
  • L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • L.6.1.a Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • L.6.1.b Use all pronouns, including intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves) correctly.
    • L.6.1.c Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • L.6.1.d Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
  • L.6.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
    • L.6.3.a Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/ listener interest, and style.
    • L.6.3.b Maintain consistency in style and tone.
  • L.6.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression. 
Connections to Edible Schoolyard Standards

Edible Schoolyard 3.0 

In the Edible Schoolyard Program

  • 1.0.0: Students work with each other and teachers to develop community and personal stewardship, along with skills that will help them navigate different situations throughout their lives.
  • Tools 1.1.1: Engage in structured groups to complete tasks and practice teamwork.
  • Tools 1.1.2: Make positive contributions to small group discussions.
  • Tools 1.1.3: Communicate relevant questions to classmates; build language and listening skills by practicing self-control, self-awareness, and noticing our impact on others.
  • Tools 1.1.4: Recognize the right tool for a job and clearly articulate reasons for choosing it.
  • Techniques 1.2.5: Solve problems by clearly identifying the challenge, posing questions, visualizing the end goal and identifying multiple solutions.
  • Techniques 1.2.6: routinely make decisions, and demonstrate increased self-awareness, confidence, empathy, and ability to respectfully challenge and debate others.
  • Techniques 1.2.7: Follow a set of rituals and routines that help work go smoothly and develop into lifelong habits.
  • Concepts 1.3.8: Create an atmosphere of cooperation and unity. We elevate the class experience for all by offering and receiving encouragement, and welcoming the ideas and contributions of others.
  • Concepts 1.3.9: Notice and appreciate beauty. We take ownership in pleasing and awakening our senses to communicate care and value, because beauty can deliver a message of optimism and expectation without saying a word.
  • Concepts 1.3.10: Develop confidence by creating a supportive and stimulating middle school environment in which they can seek and test boundaries, begin to formulate value systems, and define their interests and talents. The kitchen and garden offer opportunities for students to explore their strengths while building skills for life.
  • Concepts 1.3.11: Understand seasonality by recognizing and enjoying foods at their peak of flavor and ripeness. Students know that locally sourced foods are good choices because they provide optimum freshness, support the local economy, and help offset global warming.
  • Concepts 1.3.12: Are mindful of bio-diversity as it pertains to the ecology of the garden, the development of food throughout history, and within our own faculty and student body. We explore the garden as an ecosystem and understand that embracing and preserving diversity builds a strong, healthy, and resilient planet.

In the Kitchen Classroom, 6th grade

  • 2.0.0: Throughout their years in the ESY kitchen, students develop a set of tools, techniques, and concepts to feed themselves nutritiously and deliciously, while increasing their awareness of the role of food in much wider environmental, economic, and historical contexts.
  • Tools 2.1.1: Identify basic tools at the ESY Cooking Station and use and care for them with guidance.
  • Techniques 2.2.5: Use basic techniques as instructed, and refer to them by name in conversation.
  • Concepts 2.3.10: Fully engage their senses and use descriptive vocabulary to discuss observations, situations, events, moods, and other subjects including and beyond food.

All lessons at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley are developed in collaboration with the teachers and staff of the Edible Schoolyard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

Learning Cycle and Think-Pair-Share discussion routine © The Regents of the University of California. All materials created by BEETLES™ at The Lawrence Hall of Science.

This lesson follows the BEETLES Project’s Learning Cycle (Invitation-> Exploration -> Concept Invention -> Application -> Reflection) and uses their Discussion Routines (Think-Pair-Share, Whip-Around). All are highlighted * with an asterisk for easy identification. See the documents BEETLES Discussion Routines and BEETLES Learning Cycle included in Resources below for more information.

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