The Topic:

Easier - A potato plant is a leafy vegetable. It has a thick, uneven shaped plant stem (tuber) that grows underground. This eatable tuber is also called a potato. Potatoes have a thin skin that is usually red, yellow, or brown. Inside the potato is pale flesh.
Harder - Potatoes are an important food source. They are the most widely cultivated vegetable in the world. An average-sized potato weighing between 6 and 8 ounces contains less than 100 calories. Potatoes consist of about 80 percent water, 20 percent solid matter, and have a high nutritional value. Starch makes up about 85 percent of this solid mass and the rest is protein. Potatoes also provide vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin C. They also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
Potatoes were originally cultivated in South America, probably in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. More than 400 years ago, the Inca Indians in those countries grew potatoes in their mountain valleys. They made a light floury mixture that they used to bake a potato-type bread. The word potato comes from the Haitian name, batata, for sweet potato.
Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to eat potatoes. Both Spanish and English explorers introduced potatoes into Europe and England in the mid-1500's. Their use spread into Ireland, Scotland, and other countries. They quickly became the principal crop of Ireland and became known as the "Irish potato" because of the population's dependence on them. By the mid 1800's, a blight inundated Ireland's potato crop and contributed to massive starvation and disease. About 1.25 million Irish people left their country to settle elsewhere. Although potatoes had been introduced into North American colonies in the early 1600's, they did not become an important food crop until Irish immigrants brought them.
Dig Potatoes from British Potato Council
Learn about the potato's journey from planting to eating.
Idaho Potato Official Web Site
Visit this official site for Idaho potatoes to get recipes, menu ideas, photos of potato fields, and tips for storing and cooking with potatoes.
Related Websites:
2) Idaho Potato Commission
3) Maine Potato Board
4) North Carolina Potato Association
5) Potato Information from Sunspiced
6) Washington State Potato Commission
Potato Help from United States Potato Board
This comprehensive potato site includes facts and information, history, recipes, and more.
Related Websites:
2) British Potato Council
3) Global Potato News by L. Pieterse
4) International Potato Center
5) National Potato Council
6) Potato Grower Magazine Online
Potato Then & Now
This is another comprehensive potato site that includes information on the science and history of potatoes as well as fun facts.
Related Websites:
2) Accounts of the "Potato Revolution," 1695 - 1845 from Modern History Sourcebook
3) Biology of Potato
4) Potato!
5) Potato Museum from The Food Museum
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of these related activities.
Complete A Potato WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at the following webQuest sites:
1) Irish Potato Famine (Grade 5) by D.R. Dailey
2) Not the Same Old Potato
Grow A Sweet Potato Vine. Although potatoes and sweet potatoes are called by the same name, they are different plants. You can learn about sweet potatoes by growing your own sweet potato vine. Find helpful information for doing this at Sweet Potato Vine from Canadian Gardening. Or you can try raising your on potatoes in a garden plot.
Prepare Some Potato Food. You can select a recipe from the many found at (1) Potatoes from RecipeUSA, (2) Potato Recipes: Collection by M. Pantke, (3) Tater Bin Potato Recipes, and (4) Recipes for Kids - Idaho Ideas for Small Fries: Kid-friendly Idaho Potato Creations.
Bake Home-Made Potato Chips. Find online help at Homemade Potato Chips. For a varied taste treat, try the simple recipe at Vegetarian Baked Sweet Potato Chips.
Make A Potato Print. Follow the procedures found at How to Make a Simple Potato Print by P.G. DeLoach at Artists Exchange or Craft Project: Energy-Saving Labels from Poor Richard's Energy Almanac.
Create A Mural Of The Potato. As a group or individual project, create a mural that depicts the journey of a potato from plant to table. Show different products. Alternate subjects for your artwork could be the history of the potatoes or potatoes around the world.
Organize A Potato Day Festival. Plan a day celebrating the history and importance of potatoes. Include a wide variety of events such as potato poetry, a potato play, potato parade, potato contests, etc. Include potato foods. You may get some more ideas from the Official Potato Days Festival from Barnesville, MN and Potato Days from Clark, SD.
Make A Potato Battery. This activity uses a common potato and two different metals to make a enough electricity to run a small digital clock. Follow the instructions found at Potato Battery.
More Spud-Sites
Colorado Potato Beetle (Agriculture Canada Publication No. 1878/E; 1992)
The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), has become the most significant pest on potato across Canada and in many potato-growing areas of the United States.
Related Website:
2) Colorado Potato Beetle Management by R. Bessin, University of Kentucky College
of Agriculture
GM Potatoes Deter One Pest but Attract Another from New Scientist
An attempt to make potato plants resistant to sap-sucking insects has highlighted the unpredictability of genetic engineering. The modified plants unexpectedly turned out to be vulnerable to other kinds of insect pests, demonstrating how important it is to assess each transgenic crop individually. (Note: This site loads slowly)
How to Grow Potatoes from The Garden Helper
Have you ever munched down on a fresh, home grown potato? There is a good reason why potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. They taste better!
Related Websection:
2) Potato Varieties for the Home Garden
Related Websites:
3) Potatoes
4) Production Management from Potato Production Guide
Irish Famine, 1845-50
"It began with a blight of the potato crop that left acre upon acre of Irish farmland covered with black rot." The Irish Famine of 1846-1850 took as many as one million lives from hunger and disease, and had a profound impact on the social and cultural structure of Ireland. In addition, it spurred new waves of immigration, and thus also shaped the histories of the United States and Britain. This well-written, illustrated treatise includes a glossary and an extensive online bibliography.
More Websites on the Potato Famine:
2) Great Hunger from Click2Disasters
3) Great Irish Famine
4) Ireland the Tragedy-(1180-1855)
5) Irish 'Famine'
6) Irish Potato Famine from The History Place
7) Potato Blight
8) Potato Famine from EMI Records Limited
9) Views of the Famine by S. Taylor
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
The site contains lesson plans, a kid's section, recipes, the history of the vegetable, and information on how sweet potatoes are grown and harvested.
Related Website:
2) Bright Harvest Sweet Potato Company
3) How the Farmer can Save His Sweet Potatoes and Ways of Preparing them for the Table by G.W. Carver (Bulletin No. 38, November 1936), Tuskegee Institute Press
4) Sweet Potato by H. Hallack
5) Sweet Potato from MIT's Technology Review
6) What is the Difference Between a Sweet Potato and a Yam?
Official French Fries Pages
This site has everything - - everything that is - - about French fries.
Related Websites:
2) McDonald's USA French Fry Facts
3) Original Belgium Fries Website
4) Unusual Beginning of French Fries in the United States from Univ. of New Hampshire
Cooperative Extension
5) Where Do French Fries Come From? at Christian Science Monitor
Mr. Potato Head from Hasbro
This is Mr. Potato Head's official home on the Web.
Related Websites:
Adventures of Mr. Potato Head!
Mr. Edible Starchy Tuber Head
Toy Story: Mr. Potato Head (audio clips)
Potato from by R. Wolford & D. Banks from University of Illinois Extension
This site provides a summary overview of the potato.
Related Websites:
2) Crop Profile: Potato by M. Peet, North Carolina State University
3) Potatoes from Ag's Cool
4) Potato Information Exchange from Crop and Soil Science Department, Oregon State
Check out this British potato crisp company. Learn the history behind Walkers, find out how potato chips are made, and look at some of their best commercials.
Related Websites:
2) An In-depth View of the Chip Making Process from Better Made Potato Chips
3) From Potatoes to Chips at Frito-Lay
4) George Crum: Inventor of Potato Chips from Enchanted Learning
5) Legacy of Mr. Crum's Potato Chips by W.M. Hilburn
6) Potato Chips by J.E. Harmon from Atlas of Popular Culture in the Northeastern
United States
7) Potato Chips by George Crum
8) Simple Pleasure, But a Complex Task-The Challenge of Providing Top-Notch Chips
by M. Whitworth
8) Story of Eleanor Wiley
9) Tater to Chip is a Quick Trip by S. Stern, Christian Science Monitor
10) Where Did the Potato Chip Come From? by M. Brain from HowStuffWorks
Websites For Teachers
Enormous Potato (Grade K) by A. Davis
This lesson centers on the story of a farmer who needs everyone to help pull the potato from the garden. He calls his wife, daughter, dog, cat and a mouse to help provide the teamwork. Eventually, the enormous potato is released from the ground and everyone in the town has plenty to eat.
Irish Potato Famine (Grades 9-12) by J. Hendren
A devastating potato blight and famine struck Ireland in the 1840’s. Irish Catholic peasants were hit hardest and suffered immediately. Students will learn how the potato famine affected the Irish population. They will also speculate on how the Irish were viewed by the English.
Lesson 1 (Grades K-3) from Idaho Potato Commission
This lesson focuses on the eight basic steps in the process of getting food from farm to fork. The Idaho potato is used as the example.
Related Lesson Plans:
2) Lesson 2
3) Lesson 3
Potato Chip Classification (Grades 5-8) by J.C. Duncan from AskERIC
The purpose of this activity is twofold. It introduces the structure and function of a dichotomous key preparatory to asking students to identify plant and animal specimens. It also reinforces the idea that there are many "right" answers in science.
Potato Float from Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Investigate why a slice of potato mysteriously floats in the exact center of a glass of water.
Stone Fox: Student Activity 1 by M. Wilson-Manos
Little Willy has to harvest the potato crop himself this year in order to save Grandpa's farm. You will be exploring some Internet sites and learning more about potatoes so you can help Little Willy with his task. This cyberguide integrates a potato lesson with Chapter 2 of Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.
Related Lesson Activity:
2) Student Activity 2
Terrific Taters: Nutrition Ideas for Schools & Families (Grades K-2) from United States Potato Board
Here you can download a "spud-tacular" potato educational ideas packet, filled with learning exercises as well as convenient, kid-friendly recipes.
Related Site:
2) Terrific Taters: Nutrition Ideas for Schools & Families (Grades 3-5) from United
States Potato Board
Turn on Inventiveness - Potato Possibilities (Grades 4-6) by D. Holm from AskERIC
This lesson has students look at ordinary potatoes and transform them into something totally different. Students practice visualization through a fantasy trip and test their powers of observation by blindly identifying their own potatoes.
russet potato
potato blight
white potato
red potato
potato eye
potato plant
potato chip
"seed pieces"
yellow flesh potato
green skin
French Fries
Inca Indian
new potatoes
sweet potato
Irish Potato Famine
high yield
hash browns
potato patch
herbaceous plant
potato skin
"Irish potato"
food crop
Solanum tuberosum
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 9/02.