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Center for Ecoliteracy


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Biology, English Language Arts, Health

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West



The Tomato Salsa Challenge

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  • This lesson plan and activity is a fun and engaging way to teach students about tomatoes and the food we eat.
  • Students will learn facts about tomatoes and will create their own salsa recipe using locally grown tomatoes.
  • Eating more vegetables and eating more locally are two individual climate solutions that everyone can participate in!
Teaching Tips


  • This resource is interactive and engaging; students will enjoy this activity.
  • All the included materials are ready to use in your classroom, including a vocabulary list, reproducible worksheets, salsa recipe cards, and instructions.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This activity requires materials for implementation, including copies of the worksheets, several varieties of tomatoes, tortilla chips, other salsa ingredients, knives, cutting boards, serving materials, and a blender. 


  • Connections can be made in math classes working on ratios, health classes discussing healthy eating habits, and language arts classes practicing reading and following directions. 
  • Consider turning this resource into a mini-project, where students can add on to their salsa recipes with other California-grown tomato recipes. Students can create cookbooks, or serve their meals to customers in their school.
  • After implementing this activity, have students reflect in writing about their experience.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a more in-depth lesson on nutrition on California grown tomatoes, providing history and facts about them. 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.3.1 Ask and answer questions, and make relevant connections to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
      • RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
      • W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Economics, Innovation, and Technology
      • 6.1.5.EconET.1: Identify positive and negative incentives that influence the decisions people make.
  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
    • 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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