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Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils - A Hands-on Resource for Educators and Parents
Elizabeth and Kathy use simple concepts and fun activities to show children the big picture-how quality soil is the basis of nutritious foods, and how eating a variety of wholesome foods leads to healthy bodies. Their program enhances existing curricula through methods that include writing, art, scientific investigation, music, and puppetry. Suggested resources encourage you to adapt the program to your needs, small scale or large. For instance, the activity "What If All I Ate Were Potato Chips?" encourages children to investigate the nutritional value of foods, while a seed-sprouting experiment "teaches through the taste buds." School gardens such as an Appetizer Garden or the legendary Three Sisters, or a series of classroom worm-composting activities help students discover the role nutrients play in healthy plant production. Handy extension activities demonstrate ways that students can help effect change in their own lives and communities. Background information, suggested readily available materials, and clear instructions give you enough guidance to integrate these activities into your classroom right away.
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You’ll participate in the ecological cycle of food production > compost formation > recycling back to the soil, while helping children understand how their food choices affect not only their own health, but farmers, the environment, and your local community.
This manual grew out of a successful pilot program funded by the USDA. Elizabeth Patten is a licensed dietitian working in the field of preventive health. She lives in Freeport, Maine, with her family and several thousand red wigglers. Kathy Lyons is an environmental educator and puppeteer in Orono, Maine. Annelida the worm puppet was first created for a recycling program but has happily joined the team as "spokesworm" for the Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils project. Helen Stevens is an illustrator and graphic artist in Gardiner, Maine.
Children's Literature - Chris Gill
Want to help kids plant a rainbow garden? Build a worm condo? Understand how much sugar one cola contains? This is the book for you. A Hands-on Resource for Educators is the subtitle of this teaching manual. Food choices affect not only personal health but also local economics and global environmental concerns. You can lead children to consider ways to create a healthier and more sustainable future. Authors Patten and Lyons have been using these concepts and methods in their teaching since 1995 when they started a pilot project with funding from the USDA's Food & Consumer Service. Four sections cover where food comes from, food choices and nutritional issues, putting garbage to work, and growing your own food. Lessons are keyed to the "Benchmarks for Science Literacy" with each lesson providing goals, key points, background information, instructions, and other helpful resources. Sprinkled throughout the sections are hands-on activities like making pizza dough and constructing worm condos. From Agriculture to Zoo Gardens, this manual can support your classroom efforts to bring a greater awareness of food and nature to your students.
Anna Blythe Lappé, Co-author, Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils is just what we need now! Never before has it been so critical that young kids learn healthy eating habits and an appreciating for eating local, in-season, balanced diets. As we struggle to help our kids get connected to the earth and the food they eat, in a world where most kids think vegetables grow on Aisle 8, this book is a great tool. Patten and Lyons make learning about food fun!"
...not only a valuable record of a long-ago time and place, but also brims with fresh enthusiasm of youthful adventure.
Portland Sunday Telegram
Every so often, history gives up a forgotten gem that is not just informative but downright brilliant.
TEACHERS TAKE NOTE:
Teachers, whether they live in a city or a farming community, will find this book a wonderful tool to help "ground" children as they learn about their power to make healthier food choices. Educators will also enjoy the inclusion of strategies to introduce a puppet to classrooms. Patten and Lyons have had such success using their puppet Annelida, the Healthy Foods From Healthy Soils "spokesworm," that they have integrated her into the book.
Healthy Foods From Healthy Soils will help inspire classroom conversations about:
- What "locally grown" means to students
- Eating and exercise habits
- Recycling opportunities
- Soil quality and worm composting
- Gardening techniques
- Farming heritage
- The connections between food and culture
- Puppetry and creative arts
What’s For Lunch?
Travel the Internet to learn about lunch around the globe
Recommended Grades 3-6
Social Studies, Geography, Language Arts
Food preparation and the customs surrounding meals vary greatly. Learn about different practices in other countries and compare them to what we consider "normal."
Did you know that the average French student has a minimum of one and sometimes two hours to eat lunch? In the Middle East, daily breaks are commonly at least that long. Many American schools usually do not have an extended mid-day break devoted to meals. In this anthropological investigation, students assess differences and similarities between their school lunches and those of students in other regions by comparing types of foods, amount of time provided for lunch, and particular customs. If possible, connect with other students via the Internet or email. Electronic correspondence permits a potentially rich exchange of stories about customs, rituals and cultures.
What is needed:
Contact information for potential teacher correspondents; email or postal pen pals or web sites.
How to do it:
Begin by having students describe typical school lunches where they live. Then designate three states or countries where they might have a pen pal or a classroom contact (in areas that are likely to have different cuisine). Divide class into thirds. Each group contacts its "pen pals" and introduces this project: "Doing Lunch" Comparisons to learn about another school’s food lunch period and contrast with your school. Students may ask about the following elements: what does their "lunch" meal consist of? How much time are they given to eat? Where does eating take place? Is there music during lunchtime? What are the seating arrangements? How many students purchase lunch vs. bring their own?
Next: Using responses received, compare their lunches with those of the other regions/cultures, within their own group. Each group makes a chart so the three can be compared side-by-side.
Finally: Present results to class members.
Discuss the differences and similarities with students. What would they like about the other approaches and how does this comparison change their own perspective?
Want to do more?
- Create placemats that illustrate a lunch scene in another region or culture.
- Have students survey their parents, neighbors or relatives about their lunch breaks as children or as adults at work.
- Encourage students to look for demographic patterns in lunch traditions. What are the similarities and differences between rural and urban populations? Or between Northerners and Southerners? Or between countries?
- Research how was lunch eaten 100 or 200 years ago compared with today.
Do students have enough time to eat lunch? If not, is it a school or system-wide issue? What might change the lunch timetable? If they seek more time for lunch, have students draft a letter to their school principal/superintendent/school board.