The Tisch Food Center produces curricula independently and in collaboration with nonprofit food and nutrition education programs that engage children in exploring food systems, food choice, and personal health. A number of these curricula address the interplay of biology, personal behavior, and the present food system and technological environment which encourage over-consumption and sedentary behavior.
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Linking Food and the Environment (LiFE) is a collaboration of the Science Education and Nutrition Education programs at Teachers College, Columbia University. It was established in 1996 with the vision of promoting scientific habits of mind through thoughtful, inquiry-based activities that integrate the study of personal health and food, food systems, and the environment. The National Gardening Association published the first three books of the series, Growing Food, Farm to Table & Beyond, and Choice, Control and Change. Since the LiFE curriculum is inquiry-based science, each of the curriculum guides has a central or driving question. To learn more about the evidence base for each book in the series, visit our research page.
For more information and to order the curriuculum, http://www.gardeningwithkids.org/life-series-curriculum-set.html.
The development, evaluation, and dissemination of LiFE was funded by two National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA). Additional funding for publication was provided from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation for the Rethinking Food, Health, and the Environment: Making Learning Connections, a joint project of the Center for Ecoliteracy and Teachers College, Columbia University.
Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets for the better and to improve our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food, and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.
Each year, thousands of schools across the country participate in Food Day with a variety of activities including using the Food Day School Curriculum in the classroom, taste tests introducing children to new and healthy options, and health fairs.
Designed by the Tisch Food Center for upper elementary and middle school students, this curriculum offers five lessons to teach children the importance of eating real, fresh food, cutting back on processed foods, and advocating for a healthier community. The lessons can be easily adapted for older or younger students. We encourage you to teach the lessons in sequence on the week of October 24 in celebration of Food Day, but you can also use them individually and at any time.
i2 Camp is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics camp for middle school students. Tisch Food Center faculty and students developed a weeklong Food Chemistry curriculum, designed to help campers discover connections between science and food while thinking about today’s complex food system and the challenging health and social issues we face. By the end of the week campers become advocates for food justice and supporters of a more sustainable food system.
In Defense of Food Curriculum
This curriculum, a companion to the PBS documentary In Defense of Food, uses activities and film clips to give young people new tools to think critically about food. Students prepare delicious recipes, create performance poetry and participate in peer-to-peer learning to investigate the question, “What should I eat to be healthy?” and discover what Michael Pollan means by his now-famous answer: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. It is designed for middle school after-school programs, and can be adapted for students from age 10 through adulthood in a wide range of settings.
Click below for an overview of the curriculum:
To access the full curriculum as a free PDF:
On the PBS In Defense of Food website, click on the Resources page. Scroll down to the section titled "For Educators", and click on the link to download the middle school curriculum from Teachers College. In the pop-up window, choose "Use your educational materials." You will be taken to a PDF of the full curriculum. Every lesson includes links to the corresponding film clips on the PBS website.
More about the film:
In Defense of Food is a project of Kikim Media, LLC. The centerpiece of the project is a two-hour PBS documentary. It also includes a web site (pbs.org/indefenseoffood), materials for organizing community screenings and house parties (including a shorter version of the documentary) and Spanish-language materials.
Major funding for In Defense of Food was provided by the National Science Foundation and PBS.