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

8th Grade: Introduction to Food Advocacy

In eighth grade,

students are developing their roles as food advocates. With a strong foundation of understanding of food systems, now is the time for students to take an active role in making change.

In the fall, students explore the colonial food system. During the winter, they participate in seed-saving while researching the seed industry and the industrial food system. In the spring, they work in the garden as plant breeders, making changes to our environment one seed at a time.

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
Recognize the difference between the industrial and local food systems
Feel confident in making healthy eating choices

Essential Questions:

Where does food come from?
What is food culture?
How does history inform our food choices?
How do our food choices affect our communities?


Synthesize and communicate information about artificial selection, or the ways in which humans have changed the inheritance of desired traits in organisms


Develop and use a model to describe that structural changes to genes (mutations)may or may not result in changes to proteins, and if there are changes to proteins
there may be harmful, beneficial, or neutral changes to traits.


Develop and use a model to describe how asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation. Compare and contrast advantages and disadvantages of asexual and sexual reproduction.


Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms


Use informational text to describe that food molecules, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, are broken down and rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support cell growth and/or release of energy.


Examine and interpret data to describe the role that human activities have played in causing the rise in global temperatures over the past century.


Apply knowledge of the meaning of leadership and the qualities of good leaders to evaluate political leaders at the community, the state and national levels. 


Examine the role of political protest in a democracy.


Examine the influence of public and private interest groups in a democracy, including policy research organizations (e.g. Pew Research Center, Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation) in shaping debate about public policy.

Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration

Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media formats and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly

8th Grade Book List

Food Rules

  • Food Rules, by Michael Pollan

Local vs. Industrial

  • Will Allen and the Growing Table, by Jacqueline Briggs-Martin
  • Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious, by Jacqueline Briggs-Martin