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Food Miles: Growing Local Food Connections (Elementary)

K-3 activities

Elementary, Middle

Description

Food Miles is comprised of a number of activities that teach students about the food they eat and where it comes from. The resource aims to inspire students to reduce their food miles and emphasize the importance of a healthy diet. Students will explore where their food comes from and use what they learn to propose a sustainable food system in their hometown. The resource provides hands on activities to explore simple, earth-and-people-friendly gardening practices. This review examines those activities in the resource appropriate for primary students.

  •  The Traveling Tomato – This activity provides students with a better understanding of how their food travels great distances from fields to supermarkets. The activity has the class enact two short skits depicting the journey of a tomato and explores the problems associated with importing food from far away.
  • Where in the World Does Our Food Come From? – This activity will demonstrate to students that a large portion of the produce in grocery stores comes from countries far away. Students will map where certain produce comes from and calculate approximately how many greenhouse gases were emitted during that produce’s journey to New Brunswick.
  •  Know What You Eat – The activities include a basic food identification activity to familiarize your students with certain produce and a matching activity to help draw connections between produce and their processed state. The second activity is intended to inspire students to think about meal creations and to be aware of what foods are used in their daily meals.

The resource is set up in units, each with a background section designed to inform the teacher about important concepts, ideas and goals.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource provides age-appropriate skills to students can get a better understanding of the interconnected issues of the as it relates to what they eat. Students-

  • Calculate food miles
  • Carry out mapping activities
  • Read food labels critically

Strengths

  • Illustrates well the economic, environmental and social aspects of food miles
  • The activities are interesting and easy to use.
  • Lots of useful background information is provided
  • Glossary of terms is provided for teacher use
  • Reference websites are provided to enhance the learning.
  • The activities effectively address this important issue for the younger students.

Weaknesses

  • No assessment tools are provided.
  • No explicit opportunities for students to express or clarify their values.
  • No opportunites for students to actively present their learning to parents and peers.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Health Education
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
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      • Health Education
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        • Making meaning of healthy living and the decision-making process contributes to our understanding of healthy growth and development.
      • Social Studies
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        • Active citizenship contributes to the vitality of communities that can promote pluralism among diverse people in a democratic society
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        • Making meaning of healthy living and the decision-making process contributes to our understanding of healthy growth and development
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        • Active citizenship contributes to the vitality of communities that can promote pluralism among diverse people in a democratic society
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
    • Grade 4
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
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        • Physical and Health Education: Knowing about our bodies and making healthy choices helps us look after ourselves
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        • Local Communities:: We shape the local environment, and the local environment shapes who we are and how we live.
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        • Physical and Health Education: Adopting healthy personal practices and safety strategies protects ourselves and others
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        • Fractions are a type of number that can represent quantities
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        • Physical and Health Education: Adopting healthy personal practices and safety strategies protects ourselves and others
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        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being
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        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
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    • Kindergarten
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        • You and Your World: Healthy Lifestyle
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        • You and Your World:Place and Community
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        • You and Your World: Healthy Lifestyles
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        • You and Your World: Community
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        • Arithmetic
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    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Knowing about our bodies and making healthy choices helps us look after ourselves
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Education and Health Educayion: Knowing about our bodies and making healthy choices helps us look after ourselves
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Local Communities:: We shape the local environment, and the local environment shapes who we are and how we live.
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Adopting healthy personal practices and safety strategies protects ourselves and others
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Fractions are a type of number that can represent quantities
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Adopting healthy personal practices and safety strategies protects ourselves and others
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Food & Agriculture (2)

    • Food Security
    • Local Food
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Transportation

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • The resource provides many different points of view concerning the importance of reducing food transportation miles and supporting local communities.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good
  • The activities have students calculate the economic, environmental and social costs associated with the transportation of food over great distances.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
  • The resource promotes the importance of reducing food miles in order to support local farms and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.  These steps are connected to strengthening  local economies and creating more self-sufficient communities.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • Although there are no authentic action experiences in the first three activities, the resource does provide a unit on building an outdoor composting bin or an indoor worm composting bin.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Poor/Not considered
  • Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
  • The resource does illustrate clearly the importance of local farmers.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory
  • The resource aims to provide hands-on activities to explore simple, earth and people-friendly gardening practices. The suggested practical experiences can be carried out at school or home.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
  • The resource aims to inspire students to become aware of where their food comes from and the importance of a healthy diet.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • The resource provides students with the tools to make responsible choices for a sustainable future.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good
  • The lessons provide students with the opportunity to explore where their food comes from and to come to their own conclusions regarding the value of a sustainable food system in their hometown.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Math
  • Health
  • Social Studies
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
  • Students are provided with age-appropriate intriguing questions to explore.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • The resource provides a variety of different activities to guide the students through the web of the global food system.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory
  • The resource includes some reflection questions and points for discussion.  No rubrics or assessment tools are provided.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered
  • Not included in this resource
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered
  • Not included in this resource
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.
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