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Center for Ecoliteracy


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Social Studies, History

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Lesson Plan
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West



Oranges: A Taste of California Sunshine

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  • In this hands-on lesson, students will read, observe and taste-test navel oranges, attempt to locate their orange among others after careful observation, and write descriptive paragraphs.
  • Students will also learn about Eliza Tibbets and the history and importance of California's navel orange industry.
Teaching Tips


  • The step-by-step directions provide all of the information needed to walk through this lesson, including learning objectives, vocabulary terms, reproducibles, assessment questions, and additional resources.
  • This lesson includes printable materials that are colorful, engaging, and provide supports to help aid comprehension of the material.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson includes a somewhat lengthy materials list, so be sure to prepare ahead of time.
  • Teachers will need to bring enough oranges for each student or pair, referring to the "Selecting Oranges" section for tips on choosing the best fruits for this lesson.


  • Since this lesson includes a writing task, consider providing writing supports might be most appropriate for your students, such as a checklist, writing rubric, or a writing graphic organizer.
  • As extension activities, refer to the suggestions in the lesson plan, such as conducting comparison tasting or having students research how drought and climate change may impact California's citrus industry. 
  • If time allows, consider having students cut out the "What Makes It Unique?" handout ahead of time to avoid disrupting the flow of the lesson.
  • Before students write descriptors on their "What Makes It Unique?" cubes, brainstorm examples of words or pictures that they might use to describe the unique characteristics of their oranges.
  • Other activities that might supplement this lesson include these enrichment activities and these posters about other California-grown fruits and vegetables. 
Scientist Notes
This resource is an in-depth lesson on Californian grown oranges. It dives into its history as well as its cultivation. All information within is accurate and verifiable. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
      • W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Geography, People, and the Environment
      • 6.1.5.GeoGI.4: Explain how cultural and environmental characteristics affect the distribution and movement of people, goods, and ideas.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
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