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Nature Knows Best!

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Essential questions
How do we know which foods are healthy for us?
What are some of the different ways in which humans use and enjoy plants?
Why is it important to learn about about local plants?
What alternatives do we have for disposing of organic waste, besides the landfill?
Why is decomposition necessary, and how does it work?

This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-101: The Good Food Game (Estimated time needed: 45 minutes)
In this fun, play-based lesson, students learn that food that is closer to nature is healthier for us and for the planet. Students watch a short, engaging video that shows them several ways to think about food—ways that will help them make healthy choices. Then they play the Good Food Game, a living board game that helps them synthesize what they’ve learned. In the game, students select one of two food choices and find that making a healthy choice is both fun and rewarding!

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Tea Party Plants (Estimated time needed: 45 minutes)
In this lesson, students learn that, in addition to getting many essential vitamins and nutrients when we eat plants, we humans also derive many other benefits from plants. Students explore how generations of humans have investigated the plants around them through an experimental process of trial and error and have uncovered countless properties that are beneficial to us—as medicines, shelter, clothing, fragrances, landscaping, and more. Students use their senses to discover some of the unique properties of plants and then have a tea party to celebrate what they’ve learned.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: Wormderful Worms (Two 40-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students learn that the food scraps they toss away in the lunchroom could be put to better use. In the first session, they listen to a short story in which food scraps explain their disappointment at not being put to better use. Then they explore two systems of food-waste management—a linear one that sends those wastes to the landfill and a circular one that cycles food waste back to the farm via composting. Students act out both systems and then use what they’ve learned to write a happier ending to the short story. In the second session, students play host to worms by creating worm hotels. These happy hotels help the students learn how to create a simple composting system and turn their food wastes into nourishing humus for the school garden.

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