How Can I Find School Garden Lessons Relevant to
My Context and Goals?
When looking for great garden lessons, it is important first to identify your primary objective. Are you hoping to teach second graders an NGSS-aligned Core Idea about pollination, or to inspire fifth graders to eat more salad? It can be tempting to try to do it all, but lesson planning can be more effective when you identify your one “north star,” and design the lesson for that purpose. Then you can weave in opportunities to reinforce many other goals throughout the lesson itself. For example, you might develop a lesson with the primary objective of teaching kindergarten students that plants need water and light to thrive. But you might also build in throughout this lesson opportunities to support their social-emotional wellbeing by facilitating collaborative group work; develop their ecological literacy by having students adopt a plant; reinforce their literacy skills by engaging in a read aloud, etc.
Once you know your primary objective, the question becomes: how to find good lessons or activities that support that objective? There are so many garden lessons developed by School Garden Support Organizations across the country, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few useful tools to help you navigate the resources to find what you are looking for:
The Big Green Greenhouse - A searchable garden lesson database, featuring resources from various School Garden Support Organizations
The Kids Garden Community hosts a Curriculum Database where school gardeners share their curricula.
The Collective School Garden Network Curriculum Database - A searchable garden lesson database, featuring resources from various School Garden Support Organizations
Edible Schoolyard - Middle school gardening, cooking and social studies curriculum
Education Outside - Ten units for grades K-5, each with 4-8 lessons. Lessons designed to connect students to nature and engage them in hands-on science in the garden with reference to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Food Corps Lessons - 96 sequenced lessons for grades K-5 designed to spark inquiry and love of healthy food; tied to national standards and developed following Culturally Responsive Teaching, Place Based Learning, and Social and Emotional Learning frameworks.
Outdoor Teaching and Learning Resources compiled for schools looking for curricular resources for teaching outdoors
Kids Gardening – Free lessons and garden activities, and a diverse collection of printed publications
Life Lab Curriculum and Activity Guides - Next Generation Science in the Garden (K-2), The Growing Classroom (Grades 2-6), and Sowing the Seeds of Wonder (PreK-K). All lessons are designed to cultivate a love of learning, healthy food, and nature. All lessons are cross-mapped to national NGSS and Common Core standards.
Slow Food’s Good, Clean and Fair Curriculum - “Good” is designed to teach Sensory Education and Kitchen Skills in the garden, and “Clean” teaches gardening for sustainability with environmentally conscious practices. “Fair” is still being developed, but will focus on producing food that respects economic and social justice.
Whole Kids Foundation Lessons - 35 Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education lessons designed to engage students in a fun and educational exploration of fruits, vegetables and healthy eating. The lessons are cross-curricular and support curriculum for Pre-K-5th grade.
Curriculum Resources List Curated by UT Austin
List of free lessons and web-based lesson materials created for middle school level. Curated by Life Lab.
Back Pocket Learning - A collection of Distance Learning Resources from various School Garden Support Organizations
Spanish-Language Plant and Garden-Related Videos from Valeria Chubra
Videos of FoodCorps Service Members teaching over 200 hands-on lessons
A large collection of resources to teach gardening and nutrition education in Spanish curated by Life Lab.
Learn more about Finding, Improving, and sequencing high quality garden Lessons