Students will understand the cultural importance of Amaranth for ancient and modern day people.


Where does Amaranth come from? How is it used?


Amaranth slideshow for class

Amaranth slideshow with notes

Amaranth seed heads, plates for seed saving onto

Seed sieves

For Alegria:



Project slideshow so students can see what Amaranth looks like. Explain that today we are going to learn about another food that was important in ancient Mexico over 6,000 years ago. Review other foods or crops of ancient Mexico that you have learned about (chocolate, marigolds, chia, etc.).


Use the slideshow notes to share the history of Amaranth. Pause on the photo of ancient people threshing and winnowing Amaranth seeds and share saved seed heads with students. Pass around seed heads on plates to contain any messes in the classroom from the dried plant material. Have students practice finding the seed. If time permits, use seed sieves to winnow the chaff from the seed. Explain to students that this seed will be used in the spring for the school garden.

This important food was outlawed by Spanish colonizers, but it survived. Popped Amaranth is mixed with honey and pepitas to make a cake, similar to an energy bite or a rice krispy treat, that is sold by street vendors and is known as “alegria”, meaning joy or happiness in Spanish. Students can mix individual bowls of puffed Amaranth, honey, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. They can try to form them into cakes, though it takes time for the final shape to harden. Pass out spoons for them to enjoy their cake!