3rd Grade- Let's Explore Vegetation! (Prickly Pear Cactus)

Grade Level: 3rd Grade 

Lesson Developer: Celia Peru

Lesson Plan Title: Making Prickly pear cactus ice cream

Standards Addressed: Science-Strand 4: Life Science

Concept / Topic To Teach: Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation, and Behavior Identify plant and animal adaptations.

PO1. Identify adaptations of plants and animals that allow them to live in specific environments.

Standards Addressed: Science-Strand 1: Inquiry process

Concept 2: Scientific testing 

PO4. Use metric and US customary units to measure objects. 

Standards Addressed:Mathematics-Strand 4:Geometry and Measurement

Concept/Topic: Concept 4: Measurement

PO 2. Apply measurement skills to measure weight and capacity using US customary units.

General Goal(s): Children will be able to understand how the prickly pear cactus can be used for other purposes, and for the children to complete step by step process and have a desired outcome. 

Specific Objectives: Children will understand and apply appropriate units of measurement. Children will participate in planning and conducting investigations, and recording data. Children will understand the basic structures of plants. 

Required Materials:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or half & half
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc) 
  • 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
  • Ice cubes
  • 3/4 c. prickly pear syrup/jelly

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In): 

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
  2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
  3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
  4. Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don't increase the proportions more that that -- a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy.

Plan For Independent Practice:

  • Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set): Write a journal page about their experience with the ice cream activity. Was it successful? What could be done different how can this be modified? What went wrong? 

  • Assessment Based On Objectives: What new knowledge have you gained about a prickly pear cactus? 

  • Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities): Make this Lesson a group or partner activity. That way each child will feel included and be responsible for helping each other through the process. 

  • Extensions (For Gifted Students):Research five ice cream stores that may offer prickly pear cactus ice cream...Make a copy and distribute one to each classroom member. Create a label for their prickly pear ice cream...Design personal how to make ice cream video and market the jelly post the video to you tube. 
  • Possible Connections To Other Subjects: 
  • Writing: Write about the life cycle of the cactus.
  • Reading: Find internet sites that describe the plant’s process of photosynthesis.
  • Technology: explore various pictures and watch informative videos about a particular vegetation, wildlife, or creature found in the Desert. 
  • Math: Create a graph or chart about which vegetation that can be adapted for useful resources, Reproduction process,colors or what knowledge was most interesting.