Garden Lessons: All About Sweet Potatoes (3rd Grade)


Grade(s): 3rd

Lesson Objective(s):

  • Sweet potatoes are a types of tuber, the part of a plant that help the plant store energy.

  • Items (in this case, sweet potatoes) can be classified and organized by their weight

Supplies Needed

  • Bucket by sweet potato station

  • Ramekins (for sweet potato snack)

  • Roasted sweet potatoes (olive oil, salt pepper, rosemary)- in instapot to keep warm

  • spoon (for sweet potato snack)

  • “Sweet Potato Plant” Worksheet

  • Scale (for weighing sweet potatoes)

  • Post it notes & Markers

  • Dug up sweet potato

  • Bucket of sweet potatoes (of varying sizes, for weighing station)

  • Soap (by hand-washing station)

  • clipboards & pencils

  • Harmonica

Introduction (5 mins):

  • Welcome everyone to garden: introduce self & grown-up helpers again

  • Show class sweet potato: Does anyone have a guess what this is?

  • It’s a sweet potato. Today, we really need your help harvesting sweet potatoes!

Activity (20 mins)

Divide students into 2 groups. One group goes to weighing station (picnic table), one group goes to Sweet potato station (Black plot).

Station 1- Weighing Sweet Potatoes (10 mins):

  • Show students bucket of sweet potatoes- hold up two clearly different sizes of sweet potatoes

  • Let each student feel them in their hands- ask: Do you think these weigh the same? If not, which one do you think weighs more than the other? Why do you think farmer’s and gardeners would want to know the weight of their produce?

  • We’re going to put the sweet potatoes in this bucket in order- of heaviest to lightest.

  • Demonstrate one with class:

    • pick out one sweet potato- how much does this one weigh? have someone from class read it out loud. Write on post it note.

    • Pick another one- weigh it again, have someone read the weight out loud.

    • Which one is heavier? Put on table in order.

  • Go through as many sweet potatoes as you can like this in the remaining time


Station 2- Harvesting Sweet potatoes (10 mins):

  • Digging Up Sweet Potatoes

    • Show an example of how to harvest 1 sweet potato- emphasize how to be gentle!

    • everyone only harvests one and puts gently in harvest bucket

  • Each student gets “Sweet Potato Plant” Worksheet in their folder:

    • go through together

  • Take post-it notes with “leaf,” “stem,” “root,” and “tuber” written on it. Use a real sweet potato plant as an example. Ask students:

    • where do you think the leaves of this sweet potato plant are? The Stem? The roots? And the tuber (the sweet potato).

    • Stick corresponding sticky note on plant after each part is identified.

Transition: Everyone gather in Grape Arbor to wrap up

Wrap up (5 mins)

  • Ask group:

    • was it challenging to put the sweet potatoes in order by their weight? Why or why not?

    • Who had heard of a tuber before today?

  • Everyone gets a snack: Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Classroom Extensions:

Before: review how to read and understand decimal-point weights


  • Take the post-it notes back to your classroom and graph a scatter-plot graph with the data

  • Follow up this lesson with a section from this Sweet Potato Activity Book downloadable PDF. It has a bunch of resources for different levels, including a crossword, a spelling sheet, a follow-along story, a worksheet to label the parts of a sweet potato, and more!