Feeding minds to grow knowledge - Education Matters Magazine
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Feeding minds to grow knowledge

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The latest teaching resource from the not-for-profit Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is a valuable curriculum tool for all schools with a kitchen garden.

The fifth set of books in the Kitchen Garden Foundation’s Tools for Teachers curriculum resource series provides lesson and activity plans linked to Learning Areas and Strands of the Australian Curriculum.

Foundation Curriculum Officer Bev Laing, author of the Tools for Teachers series, said Tools for Teachers 5 activities were designed to combine hands-on learning with skills and knowledge development.

“Students take what they have done in the kitchen or garden, such as transplanting seedlings, then we build on their experience to understand how plant root systems work, the needs of plants and why we are careful to keep the roots hydrated and handle them gently,” Bev said.

One of the units in the books, ‘Farms and Market Gardens’, was written in collaboration with the National Museum of Australia.

The unit is based on historical sources – including images and video from the museum – to unlock learning about history, geography, technologies and mathematics.

“We explore how the size of farms has changed in Australia, and how this relates to changes in technology, agricultural economy and land use,” Bev said.

“We compare farms in the past to farms of today, and look to the future in terms of urban agriculture and food security.

“Students undertake food mapping activities and explore how the energy source on a farm relates to farm size.”

A unit for younger students, titled ‘Shape Makers’, helps students learn geometry through folded and cut shapes of food.

“There are samosas for equilateral triangles and we do pastry cutting to explore circles, crescents and aggregated shapes,” Bev said.

‘You Are What You Eat’, a unit which looks at food identities and food cultures, provides curriculum links to health and a chance for students to discuss what their families eat.

It encourages acceptance of diversity, as well as self-knowledge and includes activities on being a good guest and a good host.

In the ‘Heat and Energy’ unit students can design compost-heated greenhouses or explore heat maps of cities.

They explore the science of cooking as they learn how heat transfers from one object to another through convection, conduction or radiation.

Students can also make rhythms come alive in kitchens and gardens by sampling sounds and motion in kitchens and gardens with the ‘Rhythm Loop’ unit.

The two volumes of Tools for Teachers 5 – one for Years 3&4 and the other for Years 5&6 –will be released in early 2015.

The books can be pre-ordered on the Foundation’s website before 31 December 2014 at a special 25% discount price of $29.99.

Pre-orders will be delivered in February 2015 and will include a free copy of the ‘Real Kids, Real Food’ with Stephanie Alexander DVD (while stock lasts).

Visit our website for more information about curriculum resources and how schools with a primary curriculum can join the Kitchen Garden National Program.