A Taste of Pennsylvania

Last week we wrapped up our unit on Pennsylvania.  It was so much fun.  The kids loved learning about our state, and I really loved teaching it.  Science and social studies is, by far, my favorite thing to teach.  To culminate the unit, I hosted a PA foods day, which we called A Taste of Pennsylvania.

PA has so many unique foods, especially the PA Dutch foods.  We had whoopie pies, cheese steak sandwiches, Hershey's chocolate, Turkey Hill drinks, PA Dutch birch beer, mushrooms, sweet Lebanon bologna, Herr's potato chips, Utz potato chips, and TastyKakes.  All of those foods are either grown or manufactured in Pennsylvania.  Fun fact- Central Pennsylvania is nicknamed "The Snack Belt" due to all of the snack food companies located in Lancaster, York, and Berks Counties.  Pennsylvania is also the mushroom capital of the world!

I used a super simple set up in my classroom, which led to easy clean up.  I grabbed some plastic trays and bowls from Dollar Tree and covered the tables with butcher paper in our state colors, yellow and blue.  I labeled each of the foods on the butcher paper.   My parent volunteers helped me cut up each of the dishes into bite sized pieces and arranged them on the trays.  You could definitely do this the night before if you're short on time. 

The kids were split into groups of four, and they rotated around the tables, trying each of the foods.  I asked that they tried everything, even if it was for a no-thank you bite.  They really did try everything with very little grumbling!  They were surprised at what they actually did like.  The students rated each of the foods that they tried using a scale.  You can grab it here. 

After we finished our taste testing, we gathered together.  Students took a moment to rate their top three favorite foods.  We then used that data to created a tally graph.  It was the perfect tie into my graphing unit, which we had just begun the day before.  Later in the day, we used the same data to create bar graphs.

A Taste of PA was seriously so fun!  It was the perfect end to our PA unit.  We spent about 4 weeks learning about Pennsylvania history, geography, and symbols.  I used my Pennsylvania Lap Book and Interactive Notebook for the unit.  It was perfect, as my students are loving interactive notebooks this year.  I don't have any food allergies in my room, so that kept things pretty easy.  I had all of my food donated by families.  I use Sign Up Genius for parties and donations.  I kept it simple, but organized, and it all went really smoothly.  I can't wait to do it again next year!   Let me know if you give it a try!

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