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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom



Oklahoma Vegetable of the Month: Green Garden Peas

Peas are some of the first vegetables to be planted in the garden because they are frost-hardy. That means they can stand temperatures below freezing. In fact, peas taste better when they are grown while the weather is still cool. Peas grow in pods. In some varieties, like snow peas and sugar snaps, the pods taste as good as the peas themselves, In other varieties, the peas are shelled - removed from the shells.

Green garden peas are a valuable source of protein, iron and insoluble fiber. Sugar snap peas contain less protein, but are an excellent source of iron and vitamin C.

Play With Your Food

Bring fresh green garden peas to class for students to examine and shell.

  • Students arrange the peas according to size.
  • Students estimate the number of peas in the pods before shelling them.
  • Students use tally marks to count the peas.
  • Students graph number of peas per pod.
  • Students use the peas to construct addition and subtraction facts.
  • Students develop strategies for estimating the total number of peas.
  • Students use peas to develop multiplication and division algorithms (e.g., four groups of three peas, etc.)

Gregor Mendel used peas for his experiments in plant genetics. Through the selective cross breeding of common pea plants over many generations, Mendel discovered that certain traits show up in offspring without any blending of parent characteristics. Read more about Mendel's Genetics.

Be a Food Explorer

Bring fresh snow peas, canned peas and frozen peas for a taste test. Graph preferences. (Fresh peas taste good raw, right out of the shell.)

Peas (Serving Size: 1/2 cup cooked)
amounts per serving
% daily value
calories from fat
total fat
total carbohydrate
dietary fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Other fresh veggies in season this month: asparagus, greens, lettuce, onions, radishes, spinach

Bankston, John, Gregor Mendel and the Discovery of the Gene (Uncharted, Unexplored and Unexplained, Mitchell Lane, 2004. (Young Adult)
Gregor Mendel was one of the first people to practice the science of genetics. Yet he wasn't a scientist. He was an obscure monk living in poverty. His work was tedious and demanding. Although he published several papers describing his research, few people read them. He was ahead of his time, and his fame would not arrive until long after his death.
Bardoe, Cheryl, and Joseph A. Smith, Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas, Abrams, 2006. (Grades PreK-2)
An attractive picture-book biography with readable text describes a scientist whose curiosity about inherited traits led him to discoveries that made him the father of genetics. Bright diagrams clearly depict Mendel's famous plants, the internal arrangement of their seeds and the results of carefully-controlled experiments in cross-breeding.
Llewellyn, Claire, What's for Lunch? Peas, Franklin Watts, 2003. (Grades 1-5)
The colorful, high-quality photgraphs complement the text and tell half the story. The book accurately depicts planting seed through harvesting, storage, packing and processing peas. Included with the production photos are a series of three time-lapse photos of seed germinationa and seedling growth. The book accurately portrays aerial spraying to control pests. also includes two photos of mechanical pea harvest.