Address academic standards through engaging lessons in the school garden. These resources lend themselves well to school-day subjects, as well as after-school garden club activities.
Dig in! Each lesson highlights different fruits and vegetables, addressing 5th and 6th grade Common Core State Standards and human nutrition. While this unit pairs best with a garden, lessons lend themselves to any teaching space where food can be grown. Be creative! Free print copies of this curriculum are available to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, or other Child Nutrition programs.
The Great Garden Detective Adventure Designed for 3rd and 4th grade, this curriculum leads students on a standards-based taste bud adventure—from the garden to the cafeteria. Skills in gardening and nutrition are integrated into lessons addressing language arts, mathematics, science, and health. Free print copies of this curriculum are available to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, or other Child Nutrition programs.
Grow It, Try It, Like It This garden and nutrition education kit features My Plate front and center. These resources are suited to child care facilities, and for parent/child learning at home. Participants will be introduced to 6 fruits and vegetables and child friendly cooking practices.
Center for Nutrition in Schools A hearty thanks to UC Davis for providing not 3, not 4, but 5 standards-based nutrition curricula. Whether you teach Pre-K or 12th grade, there is a resource here that will meet your needs!
4-H Available for purchase: Teach science, healthy living, and citizenship through 4-H curricula such as Afterschool Agriculture, Backyards and Beyond, Junior Master Gardener, or many, many others! Stay tuned for which of these resources will be offered through our free lending library!
Journey 2050 How will we sustainably feed over 9 billion people in the year 2050? This computer game explores this question, and is an invaluable opportunity to teach students about sustainable agriculture through decision making and critical thinking. Use free resources to teach the program on your own, or invite a trained guest speaker to lead the introductory session in your classroom. You can also request an educator training on this resource, if you and fellow teachers are looking to learn more!
Growing Minds Located in Asheville, NC, Growing minds offers standards-based gardening lessons for students in PreK-12. Pick and choose the lessons that work for your students!
School Garden Center Utah’s Agriculture in the Classroom School Garden Center includes a long list of lesson plans, books, activities, and other instructional resources. If you see a loan-able resource here that we do not yet offer, let us know!
School Garden Project Located in Lane County, Oregon, the School Garden Project provides a plethora of resources for addressing Next Generation Science Standards in the garden. Some STEM options are also available in unit form.
Project Budburst Work with citizen scientists across the U.S. to chart seasonal changes through detailed plant observations. Whether you and your students can participate once, or are able to monitor the same plants over multiple months, Project Burst has resources for you. The data collected is free and available to anyone. What data analysis project could your class do?
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Cornell is committed to monitoring how birds are affected worldwide by habitat loss, pollution, disease, and climate change. You can help in a number of ways! Whether you are interested in watching birds at a feeder, monitoring birds in the nest, or recording bird sightings in an urban setting, Cornell has a project for you! Celebrate Urban Birds and Project Feederwatch are especially good options for schools.
Find additional citizen science opportunities here.
The Gardening Book for Kids by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher Written by some of the creative minds behind Life Lab, this book includes 101 engaging activities for kids of all ages. Highlights include themed gardens, and recipes for cooking and preserving your harvest!
The Growing Classroom, Garden-Based Science by Roberta Jaffe and Gary Appel This teacher’s manual was developed by the Life Lab Science Program, and has been updated to meet current science standards for grades 2-6. Lessons emphasize nutrition and ecology, and are designed to facilitate learning in community. A searchable online database for standards ensures that this resource is always up to date.
Shelburne Farm’s Project Seasons, Deborah Parrella Designed for the classroom, pre-school, after-school, and even camp settings, this resource aims to foster an awareness and appreciation of agriculture and natural resources in students.
Gardening with Young Children by Beatrys Lockie Teach about berries, seeds, leaves, and garden wildlife using kid friendly recipes, stories, songs, and poetry.
Sustainable Food Center’s School Garden Activity Guide This guide offers 23 hands-on activities that teach gardening, food systems, and cooking for upper elementary and middle school students. With minor modifications, many lessons can also meet the needs of high school teachers. Written for Texas schools, activities are aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge Standards. Don’t let that scare you away, as this resource is invaluable.