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20 February 2015
I Do This - BBC NI Learning

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Autumn 2002
Key Stage 1 - World Around Us
Image of a flying saucer Potatoes
SEELB code:TK 0612

Programmes are still available to borrow or purchase from the Audio Visual Recording service at SELB. Just quote the SELB number that can be found below or on the programme page in your correspondence with the unit.

Images of stages of the potato picking processGrowing potatoes has traditionally been important to the Northern Ireland agriculture industry. This programme introduces the idea of a production line, following the manufacture of potato crisps. The benefits of technology in a modern factory are noted, while safety, hygiene and quality control are emphasised.
  About the Programme
Image of the crisp making processAn-10-Eye has grown tired of his usual food - rusty nails and diesel oil sauce. With Screen he searches for an acceptable alternative that is eaten on earth. At Kilkeel Primary School they find the children eating their packed lunches. An-10-Eye picks up on the word "crisp" because it reminds him of the crunchy nails and wants to know more about this "strange" food. The class is discussing potatoes prior to a visit to Tayto Castle in Tandragee. Mrs McVeigh is telling the children about her own younger days when everyone in the countryside helped to gather potatoes.

By following this trip An-10-Eye and Screen see all the stages in the making of potato crisps.

It starts with gathering and sorting potatoes on a County Down farm near Rathfriland. Even this process is mechanised although a farmer still has to do the final check by hand. The potatoes are packed into large wooden crates, each holding one ton weight, and are loaded onto lorries to be transported to the Tayto factory.

On arrival, An-10-Eye is delighted to find that all the work is done in a real castle! Before the children enter the processing area they must get safety instructions and put on protective clothing. There is a funny dressing up sequence which serves to emphasise the company rules of safety, hygiene and quality control.

The class follows the various processes which turn the potatoes into crisps; unloading, storage, cleaning and peeling, slicing, cooking and flavouring. The highlight of the trip is tasting the newly cooked crisps before the flavouring is added.

In the packaging department, An-10-Eye even discovers one of his mechanical ancestors whirling around and wrapping boxes of crisps. Huge pallets stacked with different varieties are loaded onto lorries and the children are finally seen buying crisps at their local school tuck shop.

  An-10-Eye's Word List
Crisp     Harvest     Hygiene     Potato     Snack     Flavour     Safety     Quality

Dig the ground and make a drill
Soon the fields with plants will fill
Watch for flowers and soon you will
Have something nice to eat.

Potatoes grow below the ground
That’s where all the food is found
The farmer wants to see them sound
Have something good to eat.

Spuds to cook in many ways
You can eat them as you play
They taste good by night or day
Have something good to eat.


First the potato you must clean
Cold, then hot in a big machine
Starch and sugar can’t be seen
Have something good to eat.

Cut and slice till they’re just right
Fry them till they’re crisp and light
Pack them in a bag air-tight
Have something good to eat.

At last delivered to the shop
Lunch time specials, they’re the top
You could munch them till you drop
Have something good to eat.

  Classroom Activities after the Programme
  • Through a discussion of choice, Screen introduces the idea of combination and permutation at a very simple level. The class could discuss other examples. What might happen if two of them are invited to a party, or different meals they could have when sausages, beans and chips are offered in the school canteen.
  • Encourage children to consider crisps in the context of a balanced diet. Where would they place crisps on a food pyramid?
  • How many different ways of cooking potatoes can the class think of? Find pictures of these from magazines and newspapers to make a collage.
  • As a homework project ask the children to check the tins and packets in the cupboard or fridge/freezer: How many have potatoes listed in their contents?
  • Design your own crisp bag. Come up with a good slogan to advertise them.
  • Imagine that the potato can think. Write a paragraph about what it is thinking as it passes through Tayto Castle.
  • Get the class to think of words associated with potatoes which have other meanings. Examples are eyes, jacket and chip.

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