7 - From Grapes to Raisins

In this lesson the class investigates the conditions needed to turn grapes into raisins as well as some of the environmental standards Fairtrade raisin producers have to meet.

Curriculum Links
This lesson plan has links to Curriculum aims and programmes of study in Science and Maths and to non-statutory programmes of study in Citizenship.

Learning Objective
To carry out a fair test.

Learning Outcomes
Children have discovered what conditions are needed to dry raisins and investigate the Fairtrade environmental standards raisin producers have to meet in order to receive Fairtrade certification.

Resources needed
4 different varieties of grapes (preferably Flame Seedless, Thomson Seedless, Top, Ruby or Crimson as these are those farmed by MiFruta), propagator/lamp.

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Develop the type of recording chart you wish the class to useThis could be developed into a joint maths and science activity. 
Pupils could try to grow grapes and follow the same process as MiFruta farmers exploring the impact of climate and environment. Do their raisins fit the environmental standards of Fairtrade certification?

Write some anagrams on the board of GRAPES and RAISINS. When pupils have worked them out ask them what the connection is between them. Where does the class think grapes are grown? How do they think grapes become raisins?

Main Activity
Look at the diagram describing the grape farming and drying process. (See below for an idea of how it should look). Explain that the class is going to investigate what conditions are needed for grapes to become raisins.

In groups pupils run drying experiments with 4 different types of grapes. They place samples in 4 different places e.g. 
• Outside
• On the window sill 
• In a shady place 
• Underneath a lamp/in a propagator.

Discuss with the class how you will keep the test fair – what are we keeping the same? What are we changing? Remember in a fair test we only change one thing.

The class keeps a daily record of the progress of each sample over 2 weeks (the time required in Chile to dry grapes into raisins). After the experiment analyse the results. How many (if any) samples become raisins? What are the conditions needed to produce raisins? What has the class learnt about the problems of grape farming? Using their data, the class draw graphs and pie charts, explaining what they have learnt.

Explain that MiFruta and EAC can’t just call their raisins Fairtrade. They have to meet certain standards including the environmental development criteria. Ask the class why they think the environment is so important to Fairtrade ideals? What rules do they think farmers have to follow?
- They can’t use dangerous chemicals (sometimes farmers use them on their crops because they don’t know what their effects are.)
- They have to look after local environment and natural resources like water and the forests.
- They’re not allowed to plant genetically modified crops.
- They should try to farm organically.
- They should use natural fertilisers.

Discuss with the class whether they think all farmers should try to follow these environmental rules. Why/Why not?