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

4th Grade: Introduction to Food Systems and Food Choices

In fourth grade,

students continue reflecting on the history of food, now through the lens of one crop: corn.

After exploring the interconnectedness of our garden food web in the fall, we narrow our focus to corn and its path from teosinte to its current state as our country's most consumed crop.

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
Feel confident in making healthy food choices

Essential Questions:

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?


Make observations and collect data to provide evidence that rocks, soils, and sediments are broken into smaller pieces through mechanical weathering and moved around through erosion by water, ice, wind, and vegetation


Obtain information to describe that energy and fuels humans use are derived from natural resources and that some energy and fuel sources are renewable and some are not.


Construct an argument that animals and plants have internal and external structures that support their survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction


Plan and carry out tests of one or more elements of a model or prototype in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify which elements need to be improved. Apply the results of tests to redesign a model or prototype.


Evaluate relevant design features that must be considered in building a prototype of a solution to a given design problem.

  • Garden Design

Generate and analyze patterns

Extend understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering

Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit

Represent and interpret data

Geometric measurement: understand concepts of angles and measure angles

  • Garden Design

Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles

  • Garden Design


Using maps of historic Native Peoples’ culture regions of North America and photographs, identify archaeological evidence of some of the characteristics of major civilizations of this period.


Trace on a map European explorations of North America and the Caribbean Islands in the 15th and 16th centuries, evaluate the reasons for the voyages, noting that they were part of an effort by European nations to expand their empires, find new routes for trade with Asia, new opportunities for colonization, and new natural resources; make a timeline of their landings and conquests.


Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text

Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided

Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears

Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly

Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally

4th Grade Book List


  • Anna’s Corn, by Barbara Santucci
  • Corn, by Gail Gibbons
  • Tick Tock the Popcorn Clock, by Jane Moncure


  • Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer, by Carol Brendler


  • Chicks and Salsa, by Aaron Reynolds
  • Our School Garden, by Rick Swann
  • Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes: How to Grow a Rainbow Garden, by Rosalind Creasy
  • Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman


  • Sip Slurp Soup Soup Caldo Caldo Caldo, by Diane Bertrand (in Spanish and English)
  • Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English, by Alma Flor Ada

America: A Melting Pot of Food

  • Everybody Bakes Bread, by Norah Dooley
  • Everybody Cooks Rice, by Norah Dooley
  • Everybody Brings Noodles, by Norah Dooley
  • Everybody Serves Soup, by Norah Dooley