Explore and Engage with Food
Posted: 12 April 2021
Author: Ms. Elizabeth Rosenberger (Buckingham Brown & Nichols School)1st and 4th Grade Science Teacher, Ms. Damaneet Chhabra (Buckingham Brown & Nichols School) Academic Coordinator Form I & II
Schools: Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, USA and The Shri Ram School, Aravali, India
The students of Grade I, class of 2019-20, The Shri Ram School (TSRS), India collaborated with Buckingham Browne and Nichols (BBN), USA school through the Round Square network. The theme was Exploring and Engaging with Food. BBN School selected to learn about herbs and TSRS chose carrots.
The essence of Round Square was undertaken through the exchange of photos, videos, and information with our partner school. Students were able to explore and learn about growing, harvesting, cooking and understanding its nutritional value.
There were opportunities for a hands on learning experience with a trip to an organic farm. Families shared traditional recipes to inspire students with new dishes. The students also read stories about carrots and became authors to create stories with carrots as characters.
To integrate a holistic approach, activities in Math, Art and Craft were incorporated as a part of the project. Children took back important skills of collaboration, problem-solving, teamwork, questioning and appreciation of diversity and sustainability.
With the idea of providing experiential learning of the journey of carrot from the ‘Farm to the Plate,’ the project was broken down week wise through the course of 8 weeks.
The children embarked on a journey of holistic learning involving the soil, weather conditions, varieties of carrots, nutrition facts, practical hardships of growing, joys and skills of harvesting, consumption of carrots, stories and traditions across cultures, food diversity, commitment to sustainability and involvement of the wider community.
The entire process was carried out at different places and the learning was integrated.
In-class activity- Discussion about Round Square, BBN School, varieties of carrot, nutritional value, recipe making, story writing were all part of the class activities. Video exchanges were shown in the class too. Integration was done at various levels, such as the concept of 3D shape Cone was done in Maths and Art by making a conical shaped carrot. In their English classes, children were read stories on Carrot. Students also made their own story booklet with Carrot as one of the main characters. Each class tried different traditional recipes and children were involved in activities such as grating, grinding, chopping, etc.
In-school field- A carrot patch was created. The school gardener explained the ideal climate, soil & adequate water requirement for the carrot. Tilling, sowing & observation were all done outside. Children recorded their observation week wise.
Lunch Hall at school- A ‘carrot fest’ was celebrated for a week where every child & teacher tried a recipe of carrots.
At home- Parents helped children in making a variety of Carrot Recipes specific to their region. Children brought that to school and shared it with others.
Field Trip- A trip to organic farm exposed them to the hardship involved in the growth of the crop, variety of crops, irrigation technique, vermicomposting and harvesting.
While the journey was very enriching, we did face some challenges along the way. Due to paucity of time and untimely rain, the seeds planted in the school nursery was not able to support the observation of the life cycle of a carrot, however we were able to organize a field trip to a carrot farm to help children understand the entire process.
Due to the difference in time zones between the countries, live engagement and interaction were challenging. To overcome this challenge, we exchanged video recordings to share our ideas and questions.
The project had a huge positive impact on the entire school community- children, parents and teachers. Children took back extremely important skills of collaborative learning, problem-solving, teamwork, questioning and appreciation of diversity and sustainability.
Long Term Outcomes
The long term outcome is awareness about food and appreciation for the complexities involved in getting food from the farm to the table. Creating empathy and understanding the importance of building sustainable systems and the need for protecting the environment for a safer and healthier future. Learning is beyond borders even if the time zone is different, we can still explore ways to collaborate.
We would love to collaborate with more schools and indulge in theme-based learning.
- Choose a topic that the children have a direct connection with.
- Though different time zone worked out, however, the impact will be far better when the children can communicate one on one.
- Integration with different subjects helps in covering various aspects.
- Activities conducted should show a visible impact or garner a better understanding of their immediate environment.
- Activities should be able to give back to the community at large to inculcate empathy and the ability to have a holistic view.
- Communication skills
- Problem Solving
- Appreciation for diversity
- Sense of responsibility
- Commitment to sustainability