These 12 lessons extend the topic of organic, presenting different engagements that support the core learning of the curriculum. There are recommendations for how the inquiry extensions can extend particular core lessons. However, these lessons may be taught as standalone lessons and do not have a defined sequence like the core lessons. View the extension inquiries scope and sequence that includes guiding questions for each lesson.
Understanding Organic: Connections to Action in the Garden Classroom is a garden and classroom-based curriculum for middle to high school students that explores the concepts and meanings of organic agriculture. The curriculum consists of a short preparatory unit, a sequence of ten core lessons, and twelve optional extension inquiries that can also be taught as standalone lessons. The ten core lessons utilize hands-on explorations of organic practices and feature textual analysis and open discussions to examine the complex meanings of organic. The final project workbook introduces students to a social action project in which students apply their knowledge and experiences to enact justice-oriented change related to organic. We recommend that you start by reading the curriculum overview linked below before reading individual lessons.
This preparatory unit introduces students to some of the structures and practices utilized throughout the curriculum. Note that some of these resources are designed for teachers while others are written for students.
- Facilitating Open Discussions [Teacher Resource]
- Mindsets for Discussions [Teacher Resource]
- Agreement Setting [Teacher Resource]
- Circles of Connections [Lesson Plan]
- Making Sense of What We Read [Lesson Plan]
The following ten core lessons explore the meanings and practices of organic agriculture through hands-on gardening, textual analysis, and discussions. These lessons are designed to be taught in sequence, starting with lesson one and finishing with lesson ten. View the core lesson scope and sequence or browse the individual lessons linked below.
Understanding Organic Webinar Series
In the fall of 2021, lead curriculum designer Raquel Vigil hosted a series of webinars providing an overview of the Understanding Organic curriculum. Click the link below to access the webinars and learn how you might apply the curriculum in your teaching practice.
|1||What is Organic?||Garden Classroom, Indoor Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Understanding Organic, Critical Thinking, Practicing Discussion|
|2||Principles of Organic||Garden Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Values of Organic, Practices of Organic, Making Observations|
|3||Practices of Organic Farming: Soil Investigation||Garden Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Soil Texture and Types, Making Observations, Gardening Practices|
|4||Practices of Organic Farming: Compost||Garden Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Compost, Making Observations, Gardening Practices|
|5||Discussion on Organic||Garden Classroom, Indoor Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Practicing Discussion, Connecting to Community, Critical Thinking|
|6||Practices of Organic Farming: Tillage and Cultivation||Garden Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Tillage and Cultivation, Making Observations, Gardening Practices|
|7||Practices of Organic Farming: Cover Crops||Garden Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Cover Crops, Making Observations, Gardening Practices|
|8||Analyzing Media on Organic||Garden Classroom, Indoor Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Textual Analysis, Critical Thinking, Media Literacy|
|9||Organic and Action||Garden Classroom, Indoor Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Social Action, Textual Analysis, Connecting to Community|
|10||Introduction to Final Project||Garden Classroom, Indoor Classroom||6 – 8, 9 – 12||Social Action, Critical Thinking, Connecting to Community|