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Salsa Science
Best Practices for New Teachers
Jill Shrum
Hendersonville High School
• 5114- Floral Design- Developing an SAEStandard 8.4
• Also can be used in Courses 5171, 5169
Problems solving skills or SAE Exploration
Overview of Lesson and why it would work in
Agriculture Education using research and technology
• Our agriculture program has 355 FFA members in a
large urban area with no farms and most of our
students living in subdivisions or apartments
– students struggle with developing SAE’s.
• One of my most successful lessons involves discussion
of SAE’s and the example of producing and making
homemade salsa with my students.
– We use this as a week-long unit of study where we study
the science of growing our own salsa garden, including the
study of spring and fall garden possibilities, frost free
dates, length of time for production of the ingredients, light
requirement and temperatures, methods of growing the
crops (raised beds, traditional gardening, straw bale
gardening), hydroponics, food preservation, research on
taste tests, pH tests, and marketing of the salsa product.
Overview of Lesson and why it would work in
Agriculture Education using research and technology
• There are many possibilities for not only SAE’s, but also
Agriscience Fair applications, Marketing Plan CDE’s, Ag
Communications, the Tennessee Cooperative Development
Challenge and the possibility of writing grants for funding.
– In July of 2012, I was awarded a $2500 grant to help fund our FFA
school garden and AgriScience Fair projects related to the garden
including our SALSA SCIENCE SAE.
• Students have worked in the summer making fresh salsa for sale at our
local Hendersonville Farmers Market which has also helped us in our
Tennessee Cooperative Development Challenge CDE at our State FFA
• In 2012 we had a student AgriScience Fair Project based on our tomato
variety germination statistics for this project. There are countless
applications for AgriScience projects that could be applied to this lesson
including germination experiments, pH readings on salsa or tomato
acidity on varieties, taste tests, preferences on commercially produced
salsa vs. fresh salsa, and the benefits of fresh food over processed canned
Overview of Lesson and why it would work in
Agriculture Education using research and technology
• Our “Salsa Day” has also been a public relations
hit with our administration.
– Our students invited the principals and vice
principals to be our taste testers to determine our
winners of the “Blue Ribbon Salsa Competitions”.
• Our administration looks forward to coming down to our
classrooms to interact with students and taste their
Overview of Lesson and why it would work in Agriculture
Education using research and technology
• Our students are grouped in groups of 4 and
each group researches recipes and ingredients
for their product.
• If our fresh produce is available at school, they
will use our vegetables and herbs, and if not,
students will provide their own ingredients from
their gardens or from the supermarket.
• They must work together to assemble
ingredients and create a product.
• Each group will be responsible for the
presentation of the salsa to their judges with a
creative name and sales pitch.
Materials list
Cutting boards or Dinner Plates
Paring Knives
Index or recipe cards
Labels for Jars/Bowls/plastic wares
Paper towels
Measuring spoons and cups
Small bowls for serving/Plastic spoons
Suggested Ingredients:
Peppers: Bell, Jalapeno,
Garlic (fresh or minced)
Limes or lemons
Optional: Cans of black beans, whole Kernel Corn,
Pineapple, Fresh mango, (for fruit/specialty
Lesson Plan for SALSA Science SAE
• Objectives : Students will study the needs for
SAE’s and the possibilities of developing their
own SAE with an example of making
homemade SALSA from their own gardens,
school garden, or bought from the grocery
• Sub-Objectives: Students will produce
materials and product for an SAE and see how
an SAE can be developed.
• Students will be placed in groups of 4 with the
task of producing the salsa, making a salsa
name, producing a marketing sales pitch, and
presenting to judges of their salsa creation.
• Research the cost of grocery products of fresh refrigerated
salsa and canned salsa as well as ingredients and compare
the costs with your homemade product. Is it worth the
difference to make your own? Which do you prefer?
• How much does each ingredient cost and create a cost for
your product?
• Analyze the acidity of the salsa and relate that to the
preferences/conclusions and decisions of the taste testers.
• Your labor will be one of the factors, so determine the
labor costs if your crew would be paid minimum wage for
producing your product, and think of cost cutting measures
to produce an economical product
• Special needs students (CDC) will help with
production of product and the invitations to
principals for judging of salsa.
• Produce a poster for each group with salsa
recipe and minimum of 6 ingredients .
Students will record all research, ingredients
and results of taste testing on poster. Present
as a group activity based on research selected
from this product.
• Each group will be responsible for a tri fold
poster using research from this project
presentable for the AgriScience CDE. This will
be graded on the CTE rubric of 4,3, 2,1 . Best
Salsa group taste testing will receive a blue
ribbon as well as 2nd place red ribbon and 3rd
white ribbon. Each group will be graded on
presentation to judges and overall
presentations ranked and graded by instructor.
Kenyana Hampton’s SAE project was growing a Salsa
garden pepper, herb and tomato plot that she could use
at home and school to produce salsa for her family and
for her FFA SAE.

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