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

2nd Grade: Food Traditions; Plant Life Cycle

In second grade,

students explore the plant life cycle through seeds and soil.

The fall is spent harvesting garden produce, digging into the soil, and caring for the garden beds as we prepare them for the long winter ahead. In the winter, students are able to watch the process of decomposition and recognize the diverse players in our soil ecosystem by exploring and building worm bins. This foundational knowledge supports their garden lessons in the spring when they take part in selecting seeds, researching seeds, and creating planting calendars to guide the gardening practices of their peers and their families.

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:

What is soil?
Where does soil come from?
How does soil form?
Where does food come from?
Where do seeds come from?
Why do we have farms?
What is waste?
How do humans and plants affect each other?


Observe how blowing wind and flowing water can move Earth materials from one place to another and change the shape of a landform

  • Garden Observation


Develop and use models to compare how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live.


Use texts and media to compare: a. different kinds of living things in an area, and b. differences in the kinds of living things living in different types of areas.


Describe and classify different kinds of materials by observable properties of color, strength, flexibility, hardness, texture, and absorbency


    Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same design problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each object performs.

    Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction

    Work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication

    Measure and estimate lengths in standard units

    Work with time and money

    Represent and interpret data


    Construct a map of a familiar location (e.g., the school, the neighborhood, a park).

    Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral

    Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text

    Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section

    Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g. read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations)

    Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification

    Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

    • All lessons

    2nd Grade Book List


    • Rooting for You, by Susan Hood
    • Superworm, by Julia Donaldson
    • Yucky Worms, by Vivian French
    • Wonderful Worms, by Linda Glaser
    • Wiggling Worms at Work, by Wendy Pfeffer
    • Garden Wigglers, by Nancy Loewen
    • An Earthworm’s Life, by John Himmelman
    • Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin
    • Garden Wigglers, by Nancy Lowen
    • Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals
    • Underground, by Denise Fleming
    • And the Good Brown Earth, by Kathy Henderson


    • Seeds, by Ken Robbins
    • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons*
    • Anno’s Magic Seeds, by Mitsumasa Anno
    • A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds, by Jean Richards
    • Jody’s Beans, by Malachy Doyle
    • A Seed is Sleepy, by Diana Aston
    • Flip, Float, Fly, Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Macken
    • Scarlette Beane, by Karen Wallace


    • Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens*
    • Linnea’s Almanac, by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson
    • The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons
    • When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley
    • Pick, Pull, Snap, by Lola Schaefer
    • Grandma’s Garden, by Elaine Moore
    • Eddie’s Garden, by Sarah Garland
    • A Place to Grow, by Stephanie Bloom
    • Tomatoes Grow on a Vine, by Mari Schuh
    • Round the Garden, by Omri Glaser (written by an 8 year old)
    • One Leaf Rides the Wind, by Celeste Mannis (poetry/haiku in the garden)
    • A Garden for a Groundhog, by Lorna Balian

    * Suggested by MA Curriculum Frameworks