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Europe in the Garden

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Europe in the Garden
Goal: Students are introduced to fruits and vegetables that originated in Europe through a multi-station activity. Students will understand that social status under Feudalism affected food options and diet.
1- Students will be able to analyze the nutritional value of varied European fruits and vegetables.
2- Students will be able to develop an insight into the cultural importance of wheat as a staple crop, as well as have an opportunity to grind wheat themselves.
3- Students will be able to learn about feudal structure in the Middle Ages and its effect on food opportunities.
Station 1: Feudalism Poster
Small Food Cards
Status information cards
White board with instructions
Station 2: Wheat
Teacher instructions
Information Sheet
White board with directions
Station 3: Euro Fruit and Vegetable Cards
This lesson can be taught at the beginning or middle of a unit on the Middle Ages in Europe. I find it helpful when the students are at least familiar with the climate and topography of Europe.
1. Set up the stations.
2. Meet the students in the classroom, and ask them to share out answers to the following questions:
How was Northern Europe different than Southern? What do you remember about agriculture in Europe? Staple food crops?
3. Take the students out to the garden, and divide students into three groups.
4. Draw attention to each station location. Explain that the students will have 10 minutes at eachstation to complete the given task.
5. At each station, hold up the task card and read the overview.
6. Have the students go to their first station.
7. After 10 minutes, explain to students the rotation direction, and then ring the bell. Allow two minutes for passing and refocus.
8. After one more rotation, have all students come back to the tables.
Station 1: The students lead themselves in a matching activity. Students put food cards on a poster showing the hierarchy of Feudal structure. Students then reflect on which groups had the most varied diet and why they think that occurred.
Station 2: Students get to experience the making of flour from wheat berries, as well as learn about wheat and bread making in the Middle Ages.
Station 3: Students are able to learn about fruits and vegetables that originated from Europe, as well as do a tasting of peas.
Closing Discussion/Assessment:
Ask students:
3- Fruits or vegetables that were eaten in the ancient Europe
2-Ways position in society affected food choice
1- New thing you learned about wheat
Holt World History Text, Medieval to Early Modern Times
CDE Fruit and Vegetable Cards
Harvest of the Month
Core Curriculum and Health Standards:
Grade Level: Six
Social Studies
7.6 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Europe.
7.6.3. Understand the development of feudalism, its role in the medieval European economy, the way in which
it was influenced by physical geography (the role of the manor and the growth of towns), and how feudal relationships provided the foundation of political order.
7/8.1.N.2 Identify nutrients and their relationship to health
7/8 1.N.6 Analyze the caloric and nutritional value of foods and beverages
7/8 7.M.26 Demonstrate effective coping mechanisms and strategies for managing stress
Originally Submitted by: Catherine Pearce • Reviewed by Registered Dietitian • Reviewed by Certified Teacher:
Funded by the US Department of Agriculture Food Stamp Program, an equal opportunity provider and employer, through the California Nutrition Network.
contact 1-800-870-3633. ©ACOE-NLCC
Station #1 Instructions
1) Pass out the small food cards and yellow info cards
2) Take turns reading the yellow info cards out loud.
3) When you hear where your food cards should go, place it on the poster. When all the foods have been put down, make sure that the group agrees on where each of
them are. Make any changes you need to.
4) Pick one group and quickly write down what they ate.
5) Answer the following:
Which group had the most choices? Why?
Which group had the least choices? Why

Info for Posters for Station #1
The peasant’s main food was dark rye bread. They grew peas,
beans, and onions in their gardens and collected berries, nuts and
honey from the woods. Peasants did not each much meat. Many
kept a pig or chickens but could not afford to kill one. They could
hunt rabbits if allowed by their lord.
In the winter, monks only ate one meal, which consisted of bread,
beans, peas, cheese and butter. At harvest time, they would have
two meals, and might also have milk, eggs, fish, and honey. The
monks brewed beer and made wine.
The daily diet of most knights was probably quite simple. They ate
beans, onions, garlic, fish, eggs, cheese, beef, cabbage, and peas.
Their soups contained vegetables, animal bones, salt, and boiled
bacon. Bread was eaten at all meals. When fruit was eaten, it was
usually cooked as fresh fruit was thought to be unhealthy.
Lords and Royalty
For the lords, celebrations were times to eat and drink in large
quantities. The wealthy ate large quantities of meat, pork, veal
(baby cow), swan, crane, peacock, fish, and shark. The rich could
afford spices like salt and pepper. They also preferred white bread
over brown bread. Beer, cider and wine were available for drinking.
Station #2 Student Instructions
1) Copy and finish the following:
My favorite type of bread is…
The best way to eat it is with…
2) Listen.
3) Grind the grains.
4) When it is not your turn to grind, answer the
In the Middle Ages, how did your wealth affect what
bread you would eat?
Station #2 Teacher Instructions
1. Wait for students to finish their sentences. If you notice that
students are only writing white or wheat bread, remind them
that there are so many different kinds (tortilla, foccacia, ingiri,
pita, garlic, muffins, roti, ect…)
2. Have each student share out quickly
3. Read the following paragraph:
Most people in Medieval England ate bread. Rich farmers and lords in villages were able to
grow the wheat needed to make white bread. Wheat could only be grown in soil that had
received generous amounts of manure, so peasants usually grew rye and barley instead.
Rye and barley produced a dark, heavy bread. Maslin bread was made from a mixture of rye
and wheat flour. After a poor harvest, when grain was in short supply, people were forced to
include beans, peas and even acorns in their bread.
4. Explain to the students that two main grains that were milled to
make flour for bread were barley and wheat. Show them the
barley and wheat.
5. Grind the grains.
6. Have everyone shared something that they learned about bread
making in the Middle Ages.
Station #3
1. Copy and finish the following:
One thing I know about food in the Middle Ages in Europe is
2. Take a fruit or veggie card. Have you eaten this
European fruit or vegetable before? Is it particularly
rich in a vitamin or mineral?
3. Pea tasting.

Station #3 Instructions (Alternate)
Have each of the students copy in their journal the T chart
below. After they have done so, ask whether they thought
people in the Middle Ages were healthier than people today.
On the white board, record statements from the students
that support either side.
When all students have had a chance to give their opinion
and a reason why, pass out the yellow cards.
Have students take turns reading, and as a group decide
what from each statement can add to the information on the
T chart. Have the students restate the ideas from the
cards in note form on the T Charts in their journals.
Who was healthier?
People in Feudal Europe People in the US today

The peasants lived in simple houses. These often consisted of just
one room where they would cook, eat, and sleep. In winter they
might share their homes with the farm animals.
In a peasant’s home, there was a fire in the center of the room, and
smoke escaped through a hole in the thatched roof.
In the castle, beef, mutton (sheep), and deer were the main meat
dishes. Because there was no refrigeration, animals were kept close
to the kitchen until ready for slaughtering.
For the nobility, meat was saved by preserving with salt. Rich
sauces were also used to disguise the taste of over-ripe meat.
Producing food was hard work in the Middle Ages. It meant getting
up early in all weather to plow the fields, sow the seeds, and harvest
the crops.
Beer brewed from barley was popular in northern Europe; the water
was so dirty that drinking it could make people very ill.
Diseases spread quickly in the Middle Ages and were dangerous
because people had little idea how to prevent them. They did not
understand how germs were passed on, and they had few drugs.
For most of their lives, peasants ate simple food, such as brown
bread and cheese, porridge, and thick vegetable soups.
During the winter, root vegetables were buried in the earth or
pickled, fruit and beans were dried, and meat and fish were smoked
or preserved in salt.


Honey Wheat Bread-Finishing Directions and Herb Butter
1. Wash your hands.
2. Pour whipping cream into your glass jar so that it is a little over half way full. Add either 5 drops of honey or 5 shakes of salt.
3. START SHAKING! The cream needs to stay in motion the entire time, so if you get tired, pass it off to someone else. When you are not shaking, clean your station.
4. Put four drops of oil into the loaf pan and use a paper towel to smear it around the insides.
5. Take the bread and stretch it a little. Then put into the loaf pan and into the oven.
6. Drain the skim milk off of the butter. Put the butter on the plate and then send a person over to put it in the fridge.

Written By

Photo of Cynthia NielsenCynthia NielsenSchool Curriculum Coordinator, Horticulture (336) 641-2400 (Office) cynthia_nielsen@ncsu.eduGuilford County, North Carolina
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