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Food and Climate Change Curriculum

Alana Siegner

Comprehensive curriculum/unit to teach how food systems affect climate change. Strong use of real data is embedded throughout. Full lessons, mini-lessons, and short videos are presented.

This series of 6 lessons each take one 45 minute class period.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This curriculum works best in a school or community garden to make it more relevant to students. The lessons can be implemented without a garden, but having the garden for students helps them make connections and makes this curriculum easier to implement.
  • Teachers should try a few of the activities to see which will be most relevant for their students and which they are able to implement.
  • Teachers should be aware they may need to do some research and aid students in the final sustainability project, as this is more involved than the other activities.

About the Content

  • This curriculum is a short unit that can be used to teach about climate change in a school or community garden setting. The activities in Lessons 1-3 describe the science behind global warming and CO2 rise and make connections with agriculture and food science. The activities in Lessons 4-6 allow students to explore the role of climate change in their own school garden and how to make their own garden more sustainable.
  • Lesson 1 introduces the topic of greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect, the difference between weather and climate and how these interact with the garden.
  • Lesson 2 explores carbon emissions and the carbon cycle and how these relate to the garden.
  • Lesson 3 explores the national climate assessment and how farms are enacting sustainability measures.
  • Lesson 4 allows students to explore climate change indicators in their garden.
  • Lesson 5 explores adaptation and mitigation and ways students can mitigate climate change.
  • Lesson 6 is a culminating project that asks students to enact a mitigation strategy at their school.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The resource is easy to use and there is a good mix of multi-media materials and activities, I like the hands-on learning focus. When linking climate change and agriculture, I think it is important to more explicitly address animal agriculture and its climate impact. Also, the two scales of focus are on farmers and students - but how/why do we have the farm systems we have? Even a mini-lesson on aspects of policy/economy that relate to this issue would be important. There is a reference to equity and marginalization in the later lessons, but this deserves more attention, the ACE link about climate equity is an important one.

About the Pedagogy

  • This curriculum is a series of small lessons/activities that can be implemented in a school garden to address climate change. Different teaching strategies are utilized, including a lot of discussion questions that can be explored through think-pair-share or through journal entries, a jigsaw activity, guest speakers, videos, data collection in the garden, games, experiments, and a problem-based final project. Teachers are given options if they aren't able to implement all of the activities. The curriculum leads up to a final project that asks students to implement a sustainability strategy in their school or garden.
  • This activity allows students to do these activities in and around their own school and school garden. These place-based activities may help engage more underserved groups in participation. None of the content excludes any SES level. It can be utilized by urban, suburban and rural populations. Some activities involve "farming" for example, interview a farmer, which could be difficult for either urban or suburban students, but a video that shows a farmer being interviewed is provided so any student, no matter where they lived, can complete this lesson.
  • Learning outcome: The design of the activities will meet projected learning outcomes: food systems and climate impacts by having students complete a variety of activities.
  • Type of lesson: Multiple types of activities are conducted by students during this unit are: experimental, interviews, use of real data, hands-on, games, a scavenger hunt, self-assessments and a few worksheets. These activities involve group/team work (i.e. for a game) as well as individual lesson components.
  • It may be helpful for instructors to modify this for use in an elementary school environment, where instructors may have a community garden at their school available to them.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Data/Information accessibility: Real-time and non-real-time data is embedded throughout the module.
  • Technological requirements/software: No software and/or hardware required.
  • Organization/Design of activity: Quality scaffolding, organization, formatting, and overall design.
  • Cost: No direct costs (eg. Software).
  • Usability: This entire module/curriculum is ready to use day one.
  • Background/Supplemental materials: High quality background materials/supplemental materials are provided which are scientifically sound and referenced.
  • Preparation time/Teachers guide: Prep time is minimal (copying worksheets, setting up a game) and the quality teacher guides are provided throughout, including scripted pieces for the teacher.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Entered the Collection: April 2021 Last Reviewed: June 2019

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