Something garden educators believe: all subjects can be taught in the garden. Something I believe: this is true, but some subjects are easier to teach in the garden than others. Science and math come easily, and language arts is not hard to incorporate either. I think the most challenging curricular integration is social science. It takes a lot of planning to align lessons, plant the historical crops and create the wrap-around materials to deliver the material. Edible Schoolyard excels at this. Here is one of their staff laying out how all of their garden and kitchen lessons match up with 6th, 7th and 8th grade social science.
Then they walked us through one of their lessons. As you can see below, there are numerous concepts involved in teaching the history of rice in China. (This is hand-drawn and colored—again, back to beauty!)
Then they laid out all of the vegetables we’d be cooking with (beauty, again)….
And we got cooking in our teams….
Here’s another lesson they teach:
We rotated through various stations to learn this content, one of which was a snack-making station, which involved amaranth from the garden.
It goes on….here we ate a meal in the dining commons that represents the Columbian Exchange. Like I said, amazing.
…to move various heavy items using this pile of stuff. History, engineering, experiential learning…oh my.
Other activities work as scavenger hunts in the garden:
Can an average school garden replicate this? It would be very challenging without significant resources, but nonetheless I remain inspired to think through connections between the garden and the social sciences in the coming year. It’s always helpful and inspiring to look at the “best of the best”—thank you Edible Schoolyard for pioneering this work!