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Finding School Garden Lessons
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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:

Garden Lesson Databases

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. Kids Gardening – Free lessons and garden activities, and a diverse collection of printed publications 

OutTeach lessons use outdoor phenomena to spark a passion for Science, accelerate learning in all subjects, and help students build the STEM, 21st Century, and SEL skills needed to forge pathways toward rewarding careers.

Emovement Learning Database high-quality environmental education lessons and activities that students can do from wherever they are.

Edible SchoolYard Resource Library Discover free lesson plans and materials created by our program and partners

Garden Program Curricula (Free Downloadable)

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.

Food Corps Sprouts Scouts - Through fun, hands-on activities, Sprout Scouts clubs teach kids how to grow, prepare, and eat healthy food. Sprout Scouts is a club for elementary-aged students that helps kids learn what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day.

Berkeley Unified School District’s Gardening and Cooking Program Curriculum  K-8 District Program curriculum with 18 Semester 1 lessons and 22 Semester 2 lessons. Each lesson has three versions in different levels of complexity.

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden 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.

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. Also see www.lifelab.org/school-garden-resources for hundreds of searchable lessons, activities and videos.

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.

Green Schoolyards America and the International School Grounds Alliance collaborate to produce a set of free, digital schoolyard Activity Guides, designed to provide a wide range of outdoor activity ideas for schools that work with children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old.

        Green Schoolyards America, National COVID Outdoor Learning Initiative –
        
Outdoor Teaching and Learning Resources compiled for schools looking for curricular
        resources for teaching outdoors

Cornell Garden-Based Learning an assortment of lengths and formats. Activities can be appropriate for one afternoon, a six week project, or can be incorporated into a longer program.

Huntington Botanical Garden - Garden Lesson Plans  (Archived via the WayBack Machine) Plant-based science lessons K-8.



Resources for Middle School and High School

List of free lessons and web-based lesson materials created for middle and high school level. Curated by Life Lab.

Garden Education Resources for Virtual Learning, Homeschool, etc.

Earth Genius Curriculum and Resource Guide 

The Living Classroom: Distance Learning Resources

Peas Community Distance Learning Resources

Edible Schoolyard Kern County Distance Learning Resources

Spanish-Language Plant and Garden-Related Videos from Valeria Chubra

Virtual Lessons from One Cool Earth

Videos of FoodCorps Service Members teaching over 200 hands-on lessons

Resources in Spanish

A large collection of resources to teach gardening and nutrition education in Spanish curated by Life Lab. Also see the School Garden Resource Blog Category En Español

Emovement Learning Database high-quality environmental education lessons and activities that students can do from wherever they are. Filter for Spanish

Learn more about Finding, Improving, and sequencing high quality garden Lessons

The document is curated by Life Lab