Growing Food for Thought

Student(s): Katherine Liles, Edgar Reynoso, Hannah Schrauben, Laura Williams, Tarah Ehlert, Steven Neal, Diana Sanchez
Date: April 9th, 2013       Grade Level(s): 9-12
Instructor: Carla Stone      Email:
Teaching Assistant: Bella Tirtowalujo      Email:

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Name of Project: “Growing Food for Thought”


Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

Students will plant and maintain a garden. When they harvest the plants, they will donate them to a soup kitchen. The students will also prepare a meal for the soup kitchen using their ingredients. While this is happening, students will be learning about healthy eating habits, helping those in need, and acquiring all the skills needed to maintain a garden.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

The community need addressed is hunger. Every nation in the world has an issue of people suffering from hunger. Furthermore, there are people making unhealthy choices about the food they eat every day. By combining both of these ideas, we determined that this garden would help students help those who are hungry while learning about the need for healthy eating habits to protect and maintain their own body.

What service will you provide to address the need?

The students will be preparing food from the garden they planted at the soup kitchen. They will protect and maintain the garden and learn what meals they can prepare for the soup kitchen from the ingredients that they have.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

Science: The Scientific Method, benefits of each plant on the body, where each plant relates on the food pyramid, looking at soils, photosynthesis and the Calvin Cycle
Math: Measure out the grid for where each plant will be, and graph the growth of plants
English: Logs on growth of plants, write a lab report
Social Studies: Research into urban gardening and a broad range topics surrounding history of gardening and nutrition
Arts: Draw picture of plants/garden, take pictures
Health: Research into healthy eating choices

What are the educational goals?

The educational goals of this service learning project are to meet the several state mandated standards while simultaneously teaching students self-sustainability and healthy choices for life.

State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

English/Language Arts Standards
E1.1A Generate new questions that can be investigated in the laboratory or field
E1.1C Conduct scientific investigations using appropriate tools and techniques
E1.2B Identify and critique arguments about personal or societal issues based on scientific evidence.
E1.2D Evaluate scientific explanations in a peer review process or discussion format.
E1.2F Critique solutions to problems, given criteria and scientific constraints.
E1.2K Analyze how science and society interact from a historical, political, economic, or social perspective.
E2.4B Explain how the impact of human activities on the environment (e.g., deforestation, air pollution, coral reef destruction) can be understood through the analysis of interactions between the four Earth systems.
E2.4D Describe the life cycle of a product, including the resources, production, packaging, transportation, disposal, and pollution.

Social Studies Standards
5.1.1 Emerging Global System – Analyze the impact of increased oceanic travel including changes in the global system of trade, migration, and political power as compared to the previous era.


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

1. Journals will be used to have students document their thoughts on the project and their experiences from the beginning to the completion of the service.
2. Small group discussions will be used to gather critical feedback from each student as well as to solidify and synthesize in-class knowledge with the service project experiences.
3. A scrapbook of the whole project will be made to memorialize the effort that the students put into the project. It can also be used as a discussion element and a means by which we demonstrate their work to their parents, peers, and other community members.
5. A before/after questionnaire can be used to gauge the students’ beliefs and attitudes of the project beforehand. After the project is completed, the students can take the questionnaire again. The responses can be compared and contrasted in group discussion.
6. The lab reports that the students create can be used as reflection activities because they can look at the information that they researched and the effort they put into making connections with their schoolwork and service learning.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc.)

Socioeconomic Status: While at the soup kitchen, students will interact with people with different socioeconomic backgrounds than themselves.

Nutritional Beliefs: While researching various gardening and food practices, the students will explore different opinions on nutrition that may different than their own. Many people follow different beliefs in regards to their diets for religious and ethical reasons. For example, students may learn the tenets behind veganism or vegetarianism.


 Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

Students will have significant ownership of the project from start to finish. They students will contact local nurseries to acquire plants and gardening tools to construct the garden as well as finding a local church or community center that provides food services. Furthermore, students will be selecting which plants to grow, take care of the plants, choose the meals they wish to serve at the soup kitchen, and serve the food to the community. The students will also be advertising for the soup kitchen in the local community.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

We will partner with a local soup kitchen, church, synagogue, mosque, or community center that offers food services for the local community. We will also be partnering with one or more local plant nurseries.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students will benefit from these partnerships because they will be developing a sense of community while providing a needed service to the community. Students will develop communication skills with the businesses, personal and community efficacy, gardening skills, and volunteering skills. Each partnership will bring the community closer together in an effort to provide a valuable service.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The organization that provides the soup kitchen will benefit from the collaboration because they will receive increased supplies and advertising of their services to the community. The additional food supplies from the garden will bolster the stores that they may need. Furthermore, they may receive additional volunteers from the advertising that students will provide. The plant nursery will receive additional advertising from the collaboration with the students; this may lead to additional business in the community.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

Student learning goals will be assessed from various sources. Firstly, the lab reports that students will be creating for the project can be used to see if they understand the expectations from science curriculum. Secondly, the journals that students keep throughout the service learning project can be used to assess their learning. These journals are opportunities for the teachers to give individualized feedback to each student. Thirdly, there will be several class discussions in which we talk about the service and the classroom learning.

How will you assess your service goals?

The service goals can be assessed through follow-up sessions with the class, the community partners, and the recipients of the food at the organization that holds food services for the community. These meetings can be used to determine what was efficient, what was lacking, and what needs to be changed about the project. Furthermore, the quality of the plants can be used as an assessment method of the service goals.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

To prepare the students for the service learning experience, a guest speaker from the soup kitchen and/or the nursery can come in and speak about their organizations. A tour of the soup kitchen and the nursery will give students a better understanding of the physical materials and locations with which they will be working. Furthermore, the teachers will provide a clear and concise explanation of the project and the expectations of the project. The parents will also receive an explanation of the project as well.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

There are several activities that can be done with the service learning projects:
• Monitoring plant growth by making graphs and recording information
• Writing in journals about the process, experience, and thoughts about the project
• Making posters to advertise for the local plant nursery and soup kitchen (church, synagogue, mosque, community center, etc.)
• Research what foods are healthiest for the human body
• Determine how many people use the soup kitchen’s services



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

The project addresses multiple areas of sustainability. Firstly, the students will learn how to take better care of the environment while making the sustainable food source of the garden. The students will conduct research on urban gardening and how it could possibly be enforced in the community as well. Secondly, the project encourages social progress by instilling the students with a sense of community and a helping nature. By serving and interacting with the community, the students learn how to work with others properly while attempting to reach a common goal. Finally, the project allows for economic sustainability by teaching students and others to create an economically efficient source of food from the garden. The project also stimulates local businesses and services with increased advertising.