K6-5 Spring Salad

Published July 26, 2016 | Updated June 19, 2017
Place of Learning: Kitchen
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 6
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

In this sixth grade humanities lesson, students prepare Spring Salad with Basic Salad Dressing and vegetables harvested from the garden.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Read and follow the recipe, and understand that some recipes are flexible and some are specific
  • Taste ingredients and discuss sensory observations using descriptive vocabulary
  • Begin to connect the kitchen with the garden and the environment as a whole

During this lesson, students will:

  • Combine vinegars and herbs to make a customized salad dressing
  • Taste the assorted vinegars and vegetables and discuss similarities and differences
  • Identify vegetables grown in the garden and recognize the different plant parts that are edible



For the Chef Meeting

For the Salad

Seasonal vegetables, such as:

  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Snap Peas
  • Asparagus

For the Salad Dressing

  • Assorted vinegars (red wine, apple cider, rice, balsamic, champagne)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Assorted fresh herbs (optional)
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Shallots (optional)
  • Honey (optional)


  • Salad spinner
  • Salad bowl
  • Vegetable peelers
  • Whisk
  • Chefs’ knives
  • Paring knives
  • Wavy knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Measuring beaker
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dropper bottles (for tasting vinegars)


Before You Begin
  • Create the Visual Aid
  • Copy the Basic Salad Dressing recipe to hand out
  • Harvest or purchase the vegetables
  • Collect all the tools and ingredients, and then distribute them to the tables
  • Gather supplies for the Chef Meeting
  • Set out the vinegars for tasting

Timeline Overview

Total Duration: 90 minutes

  1. Invitation*  (5 minutes)
  2. Concept Invention*  (10 minutes)
  3. Application* (65 minutes)
  4. Reflection* (10 minutes)

At the Chef Meeting (15 minutes total)

1. Invitation*:  (5 minutes)

  1. Welcome students and introduce Spring Salad as an opportunity to eat food harvested straight from our garden.

2. Concept Invention*: (10 minutes)

Students learn about the spring garden and making salad.

  1. Review the seed to table cycle
    • Choose one ingredient harvested from the garden and trace its steps through propagation, transplanting, and harvesting.
  2. Review the different vegetables we will be eating in the salad, emphasizing the different plant parts (leaf, root, bulb, flower, fruit, stalk) that will be used.
    • Have students identify which part of each vegetable we’ll be eating, and which parts we’ll be composting.
  3. Discuss the difference between a recipe that is precise and a recipe that is flexible.
    • Encourage students to taste the different vinegars, paying attention to the different flavors of each.
  4. Explain the process of emulsifying by gradually whisking the olive oil into the vinegar.
  5. Ask students to wash their hands and join their table group.

At the Table

3. Application*: (65 minutes)

Students make salad and dressing.

  1. Meet with the table groups to review the recipe, the vegetables on the platter, and how each vegetable will be prepared.
  2. Check-in and assign cooking jobs.
  3. Prepare the recipe.
  4. Set the table; eat; clean up. 

At the Closing Circle (10 minutes)

4. Reflection*:

  1. Ask students to identify a kitchen technique they used while preparing the salad.


Connections to Edible Education Framework

Communication is strengthened by working together to choose a vinegar and negotiating as a group to season their table group’s dressing according to taste. Sustainability is accentuated by reviewing the concept of seasonality and highlighting the bounty of a spring garden. Nourishment is acquired by making a Spring Salad and salad dressing from scratch and discussing how easy, delicious and versatile salads can be. Life Skills are sharpened as students use a salad spinner, review knife skills learned in the fall semester and practice tasting and balancing seasonings according to taste.

Academics fulfill Common Core State Standards in ELA for integrating information presented in different media; following precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments; integrating quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; interpreting information presented in diverse media; 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.6.6 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: 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.
  • 1.1.1 – 1.3.12: This lesson fulfills all Edible Schoolyard Program standards, numbers 1.1.1 through 1.3.12. See The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley Standards for details.

In the Kitchen Classroom, 6th grade

  • Techniques 2.2.6: Read and follow recipes, and understand that some recipes are flexible and some are specific.
  • Techniques 2.2.7: Taste finished dishes and discuss their sensory observations using descriptive vocabulary.
  • Concepts 2.3.8: Approach lessons with intention by thinking through how the recipe relates to the kitchen, garden, and wider environment as a whole.

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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