Creating your own potato chips: growing

Time Allocation: 30 – 40 minutes*

Activity Level: Moderate


In this activity sequence, children will investigate what would be required to grow, cook and market their own brand of potato chips. For simplicity, we are focusing on the ‘hot chips’ style of potato chip, rather than ‘crisps’.

The process of growing the potatoes takes many months, but children will be rewarded with a wonderful crop at the conclusion of this exercise. We suggest combining this activity with gardening activities such as the Creating a food garden series to help provide the resources and materials needed to produce a crop of potatoes.

* Time allocation reflects the time suggested for learning about potatoes, planting them and completing the activity sheet.


  • Printable activity sheet
  • Clipboards
  • Potato/Sweet potato growing guide (see Educator notes)
  • Pencils and paper
  • Hats, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • First aid kit and allergy plans
  • Protective footwear and weather appropriate attire
  • Kitchen garden protocols
  • Additional volunteers or staff support
  • ‘Seed’ Potatoes
  • Garden beds
  • Compost-rich soil
  • Straw
  • Gloves
  • Trowels
  • Rulers
  • Device for taking photos
  • Instructions

    Step 1


    Prepare the soil in the garden bed. Refer to the installing a no dig garden bed learning activity if needed.

    Source ‘Seed’ potatoes.  Although potatoes can be grown from store-bought potatoes, Seed potatoes are recommended as they are not treated with sprout inhibitors and are sourced from disease free stock. Seed potatoes are available from nurseries and garden centres.

    Note: Different types of potato are more suited to some uses than others. Varieties such as Desiree potatoes are good for making hot chips.

    Download the Gardenate app  or use the Gardenate website to help determine the timing, spacing and other compatible plants required for your climate zone.

    If you are in a tropical climate, consider whether sweet potatoes could be a better alternative.

    Print the activity sheet and growing guides out for the children.

    Draw a large timeline on the whiteboard (you will use this to model the use of the timeline later).

    Step 2


    Ask the children: ‘If you were going to grow, manufacture and market your own brand of chip, what would you need to know?”

    Focus the discussion towards growing potatoes and explain that chips are made from potatoes.

    Discuss how potatoes grow underground as part of a plant that grows above ground.

    If the children are unfamiliar with the concept of how potatoes grow, watch a clip, such as this one from Gardening Australia.

    Distribute the activity sheet and growing guide.

    Discuss what inputs would be required for growing potatoes:

    • Timelines, including seasonal considerations
    • Soil, water and care
    • Harvesting
    • Washing
    Step 3


    Head outside to the garden.

    Model how to plant the potatoes:

    Potatoes should be planted in rows.  Bury the potatoes 10-15cm deep and space them 30 – 40cm apart.  Use rulers to measure depth and spacing.

    If your potatoes have sprouted, face the sprouts facing upwards.

    Use a digital recording device to take photographs of the children planting or caring for their crop, as this will be used in part 3 of this activity sequence.

    Model how to use the activity sheet and work with groups to plant the potatoes, alternating between planting and completing the activity sheet.

    Step 4

    Monitor and Care

    Use the activity sheet to identify possible challenges that may occur.  Discuss factors such as:

    • Growing times
    • Seasons
    • Water availability.

    When the potato plants are approximately 20cm high, mound more compost-rich soil around the stem of the plant.  This will encourage the plant to produce more potatoes.

    Extension Activity

    Research how the humble potato has grown in popularity over the last few centuries.

    There are many ways to grow potatoes, the simplest being straight in the ground. However, you can help your plants and their yield by using materials such as timber, tyres, and even old pots to create potato towers, which add soil to the growing stem of the potato plant, encouraging production.