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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.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • 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.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.2.3-5 Identify positive and negative incentives that influence the decisions people make.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.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)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
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