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Hidden treasure

To help the children appreciate that very ordinary things, which we often take for granted, can be very valuable.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help the children appreciate that very ordinary things, which we often take for granted, can be very valuable.

Preparation and materials

  • A list of potato varieties written on a whiteboard or blackboard:
    Charlotte, Desiree, King Edward, Duke of York, Osprey, Rocket, Maris Piper, Kerr’s Pink, Saxon, Vivaldi.
  • The quiz (see point 5.) is optional, for older pupils or teachers. You could choose the teams in advance of the assembly.
  • The logo for the United Nations Year of the Potato can be found at
    The nutrients contained in potatoes can be found at
    Further useful information on potatoes can be found at


  1. Explain that today we are going to talk about Hidden Treasure. You would like them to guess what this hidden treasure might be from the word clues listed on the board.
  2. The children might be surprised to think of potatoes as Hidden Treasure. Show the logo for the United Nations Year of the Potato 2008 from the website. Can they give any suggestions as to why potatoes may be spoken of as a treasure?
  3. Show the nutrients found in a humble potato from the website. Ask the children to spot ten parts of the body that benefit from the nutrients found in potatoes. Explain that this is the reason why baked potatoes can often be found as a healthy option for school meals.
  4. Talk about the many different ways in which we can eat potatoes. What is the children’s favourite?

    (Once back in class some survey and graph work could be done on this in a maths session.)
  5. (Optional) Tell the children that you are going to find out how much the older students or teachers know about this treasure. Ask for some volunteers and divide them into two teams, or choose two teams beforehand to take part.

    Ask the teams to choose from the list of ten potatoes which varieties are best for which method of cooking (answers in brackets):

    A good boiler (Harmony)
    A good new potato (Rocket)
    A good masher (Saxon)
    A good roaster (Desiree or King Edward)
    A good jacket potato (Vivaldi)
    A good salad potato (Charlotte or Maris Piper)
    A good potato for chipping (Maris Piper)
  6. Sometimes we turn our noses up at simple, plain and humble food like potatoes. In the past, though, people have depended on the potato for their lives. Thousands of people died in Ireland about 150 years ago, not because of illness or disease but because there was a famine caused by the failure of the potato crop. (The children could be encouraged to find out about this when they return to class.)

    Today in some extremely poor countries of the world the potato crop is the only thing between the poor and starvation.
  7. Have you ever heard of someone being spoken of as a treasure? Often these are very humble and ordinary people who quietly get on with doing small things to help other people. Maybe it’s the woman who checks on her elderly neighbour every morning; maybe it’s the postman who always has a cheery smile and wave for a housebound man; maybe it’s the pupil who stays behind to help the teacher tidy up; or maybe it’s the pupil who always notices if someone is left alone in the playground.

    Like the small, plain, brown potato, which appears on our table every day, we can also be Hidden Treasure today.

Time for reflection


Treasure is often thought of as caskets of gold, and silver jewels and coins.

Has today’s assembly made you think of some different kinds of treasure?


Dear God,
Thank you for all the things we can do with potatoes.
Thank you for sausage and mash.
Thank you for fish and chips.
Thank you for tatties and neeps (if you are in Scotland).
Thank you for potato wedges.
Thank you for packets of crisps.
Teach us to have thankful hearts.



‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: October 2008   (Vol.10 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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