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

3rd Grade: Local Agriculture and Culinary History

In third grade,

students begin to trace the history of our food, and its impact on our lives today.

During the fall we celebrate the harvest through exploring the diverse food traditions during the colonial era. Once we have identified the components of soil, we spend the winter experimenting with soil and studying the characters in the complex soil food web. We return to the stories and tales of our island's food history in the spring as we design our own colonial gardens and plant a three sisters bed.

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?


Evaluate the merit of a design solution that reduces the impact of a weather-related hazard

  • Soil Observation
  • Climate Change and Food Production


Use simple graphical representations to show that species have unique and diverse life cycles. Describe that all organisms have birth, growth, reproduction and death in common but that there are a variety of ways in which these happen.


Provide evidence, including through the analysis of data, that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exist in a group of similar organisms.


Distinguish between inherited characteristics and those characteristics that result from a direct interaction with the environment. Give examples of characteristics of living organisms that are influenced by both inheritance and the environment.


Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular environment some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive.


Define a simple design problem that reflects a need or a want. Include criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost that a potential solution must meet.


Generate several possible solutions to a design problem. Compare each solution based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the design problem.


Gather information using various informational resources on possible solutions to a design problem. Present different representations of a design solution.

Develop understanding of fractions as numbers

Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects

Represent and interpret data

Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and to addition

Reason with shapes and their attributes


Explain who the Pilgrim men and women were and why they left Europe to seek a place where they would have the right to practice their religion; describe their journey, the government of their early years in the Plymouth Colony, and analyze their relationships with the Wampanoag and Abenaki/Wabanaki people


Explain the diversity of Native Peoples, present and past, in Massachusetts and the New England region.

Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text

Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace

3rd Grade Book List


  • A Handful of Dirt, by Raymond Bial
  • Dirt, by Steve Tomecek


  • The Good Garden: How One Family Went From Hunger to Having Enough, by Katie Smith Milway
  • City Green, by DyAnne DiSalvo
  • Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, by Jen Cullerton Johnson OR Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, by Claire A. Nivola

Colonial America/Wampanoag History

  • The Popcorn Book, by Tomie DePaola
  • Corn is Maize, by Aliki
  • The Sun’s Daughter, by Pat Sherman
  • Native Plant Stories, by Joseph Bruchac
  • The First Strawberries, by Joseph Bruchac
  • Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Families , by Michael J. Caduto
  • The Little Red Hen, by Paul Galdone (Grains)
  • Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White (3 Sisters)
  • A Medieval Feast, by Aliki*
  • Strega Nona’s Harvest, by Tomie dePaola
  • Harvest Home, by Jane Yolen
  • Harvest, by Kris Waldherr

American Revolution

  • First Peas to the Table, by Susan Grigsby


  • The Reason for a Flower, by Ruth Heller
  • The Honey Makers, by Gail Gibbons
  • Honey in a Hive, by Anne Rockwell
  • In the Trees, Honeybees, by Lori Mortenson
  • The Life and Times of the Honeybee, by Charles Micucci


  • Good Enough to Eat, by Lizzy Rockwell


  • Weeds Find a Way, by Cindy Jenson-Elliott

* Suggested by MA Curriculum Frameworks