Garden Science: Papas Fritas

Papas Fritas


In this 6th grade science lesson, students learn about the prevalence of potatoes while also preparing, roasting, and eating garden potatoes from the wood-burning oven.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify potatoes as tubers
  • Recall harvesting and eating potatoes from the garden


During this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize the edible part of the potato plant as a tuber.
  • Explain where the potatoes were harvested from before cooking, seasoning, and eating potatoes.


  • Visual aid

Ingredients for the Papas Fritas

  • Potatoes (9 pounds per class)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the Papas Fritas Station

  • 2 Tables
  • Cups
  • Napkins
  • Water pitchers
  • Tablecloths
  • Knives
  • Cutting boards (one for each student)
  • Tongs
  • Metal mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Serving spoons
  • Sheet pan
  • Hot mitts
  • Firewood
  • Bucket of soapy water (for hand washing)
  • Towels

Before You Begin

  • Create the visual aid
  • Collect all the materials
  • Light a fire in the oven (1 hour prior to class)
  • Create the papas fritas station by setting up the cooking tools on a table close to the oven
  • Set another table nearby for eating


At the Opening Circle

  1. Welcome students and introduce papas fritas as a delicious way to prepare, cook and eat potatoes that were harvested from the garden in a previous class.
  2. Divide the class into groups for garden jobs. Rotate each group through the papas fritas station during garden work time.

At the Papas Fritas Station

  1. Have students wash their hands and observe the heat radiating from the fire as they walk over to the prepping table.
  2. Each student should stand in front of a cutting board at the table.
  3. Hold up an example of a potato and ask students if they know what part of the potato plant you are holding.
  4. Explain that the potato is a tuber, which grows off of the roots underground and stores energy for the plant.
  5. Ask students how they think potatoes are reproduced.
  6. Explain that all potatoes have little dimples called eyes and that if placed under ground, from the eye a potato plant will sprout and grow.
  7. Prompt students to think about how many potato plants one could grow from a single potato.
  8. Demonstrate cutting the potatoes so that each slice is the same width, this helps the potatoes cook evenly.
  9. Pass out knives and potatoes to each student and have students cut the potatoes into ¼ inch slices, placing their cut potatoes into a large mixing bowl at the center of the table.
  10. Have students season the potatoes with olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl and then spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet.
  11. Put the potatoes into the wood-fired oven.
  12. While the potatoes are cooking, discuss the potato facts on the visual aid, stopping occasionally to observe the smells and sounds coming from the oven.
  13. Walk students to harvest herbs as garnish for their potatoes
  14. When the papas fritas are ready, distribute napkins, water, fresh herbs and potatoes to students at the table.
  15. Invite students to share sensory words describing the potatoes.

At the Closing Circle

Have students give an appreciation to another student for something that happened during their 8-week rotation in the garden.

Download: Potatoes Visual Aid

Download: Papas Fritas Visual Aid Facts

Download: Papas Fritas Oven

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