Curriculum Toolkit

Over the years, we have honed in on priority curricular units for every grade level, preschool through 12th grade, that build on each other and provide a meaningful food education for the students we work with.

This Toolkit is the compilation of these units, along with their related teaching standards, activities, and assessment tools. We are constantly adding to this site, so please check in again soon for updates.

We designed this curriculum framework to help our students grasp the following key concepts by the time they graduate from high school:

Feel confident in making healthy food choices

Appreciate the farming profession

Know that everyone can grow food

Understand the connection between healthy soil, healthy plants, and healthy people

Recognize the difference between the industrial and local food systems

1st Grade: Farms and Farming

In first grade,

students engage in a year-long exploration of farms and farming on Martha's Vineyard.

In collaboration with the MV Museum, students step back in time through stories, artifacts and photographs sharing the lives of island farmers from centuries earlier. They return to the present by visiting island farms and recognizing the vibrant farming community the island still holds.

Connections to IGS Learning Goals:

Appreciate the farming profession
Know that everyone can grow food
Understand the connection between healthy soil, healthy plants and healthy people

Essential Questions:

Where does food come from?
Why do we have farms?
What do farmers do?
What is a farm?
What are seasons?
What do farms look like now on Martha’s Vineyard?
What did farms look like long ago on Martha’s Vineyard?


Analyze provided data to identify relationships among seasonal patterns of change, including sunrise and sunset time changes, seasonal temperature and rainfall or snowfall patterns, and seasonal changes to the environment.


Use evidence to explain that: a. different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find and take in food, water and air; and b. plants have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits that are used to take in nutrients, water and air, produce food (sugar), and make new plants.


Obtain information to compare ways in which the behavior of different animal parents and their offspring help the offspring to survive.


Use information from observations (first-hand and from media) to identify similarities and differences among individual plants or animals of the same kind.


Determine the effect of placing materials that allow light to pass through them, allow only some light through them, block all light, or redirect light when put in the path of a beam of light.


Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change in order to define a simple design problem that can be solved by developing or improving an object or tool.


Generate multiple solutions to a design problem and make a drawing (plan) to represent one or more of the solutions.

  • Garden Planning

​Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction

  • Harvesting, Weighing, in the Garden

​Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units

Tell and write time

  • Garden Journaling

Represent and interpret data

  • Garden mapping
  • Garden graphs

​Reason with shapes and their attributes


Recognize and document sequential patterns in seasonal events or personal experiences, using a calendar and words and phrases relating to chronology and time


Evaluate the qualities of a good citizen or member of the community, drawing on examples from history, literature, informational texts, news reports, and personal experiences.


Explain the relationship between natural resources and industries and jobs in a particular
location (e.g., fishing, shipbuilding, farming, trading, mining, lumbering, manufacturing).


Give examples of products (goods) that people buy and use


Analyze examples of voluntary choices people make about buying goods and services (e.g., to buy from a company that supports its workers or protects the environment).

​Ask and answer questions about key details in a text

  • Farm Oral Histories (Sarah Jenkinson Story with MV Museum)

​Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses

Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure

  • Farm Field Trip Journals

Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g. explore a number of ‘how-to’ books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions)

With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question

  • Farm Field Trips

​Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

​Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation

​Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

1st Grade Book List


A New Coat for Anna, by Harriet Ziefert
Charlie Needs a Cloak, by Tomie DePaola
The Goat in the Rug, by Charles L. Blood and Martin Link
Weaving the Rainbow, by George Ella Lyon
Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, by Teri Sloat
How a Shirt Grew in a Field, by Marguerita Rudolph


A Year at Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen
The Reasons for Seasons, by Gail Gibbons
This Year’s Garden, by Cynthia Rylant
Growing Seasons, by Elsie Splear
In November, by Cynthia Rylant
Mother Earth and Her Children, by Sibylle Olfers


Barnyard Banter, by Denise Fleming
Cows, by Lynn Stone
G is for Goat, by Patricia Polacco
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen
Oliver’s Milkshake, by Alison Bartlett and Vivian French
Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More, by Cris Peterson
The Milk Makers, by Gail Gibbons
Rosie’s Walk, by Pat Hutchins


From Dawn Till Dusk, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Farm, by Elisha Cooper
Oxcart Man, by Donald Hall
All the Places to Love, by Patricia MacLachlan
Homespun Sarah, by Verla Kay
Scarecrow, by Cynthia Rylant
Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown
A Farmer’s Alphabet, by Mary Azarian
Farmer’s Market, by Carmen Parks


A Tree Is a Plant, by Clyde Robert Bulla *
Be a Friend to Trees, by Patricia Lauber
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, by Gail Gibbons
Applesauce Season, by Eden Lipson
Apples A to Z, by Margaret McNamara
Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie, by Herman Parish
Our Apple Tree, by Görel Näslund
The Chocolate Tree: A Mayan Folktale, by Linda Lowery


Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food, by Cris Peterson
To Market, To Market, by Nikki McClure
The Giant Cabbage: An Alaskan Folktale, by Cherie Stihler
From Seed to Pumpkin, by Wendy Pfeffer *
The Pumpkin Book, by Gail Gibbons
Spice Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotta
Over in the Garden, by Jennifer Ward
A Seed is a Promise, by Claire Merrill

* Suggested by MA Curriculum Frameworks