• Views 153
  • Favorites
Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Database Provider


The Nature Conservancy, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Videos, 3 minute, 56 seconds
  • Lesson Plans
  • Videos, 4 Minutes, 15 seconds
  • Activity - Outdoors

Regional Focus

North America, United States


PDF, Downloadable MP4/M4V

Garden Lesson Plan: Food and Carbon

Ask a Question

  • This two-part unit plan uses the 5-E model to teach students about the carbon cycle, climate change, and sourcing food locally. 
  • Students will evaluate how locally grown food may have a smaller carbon footprint than grocery store food, grow food to measure their own garden's CO2 offset, and measure the amount of food grown to evaluate the effectiveness of their local garden.

Teaching Tips


  • There is a clear guide for teachers that outlines the steps and resources required to undertake the lessons.
  • Vocabulary terms are included, which can be pre-taught to students.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need to have computer and Internet access for each group.
  • A school garden or local community garden is required for this lesson.
  • Students should have a basic understanding of the carbon cycle and greenhouse gases.


  • Student questions and resources can be displayed using a variety of formats to support different student abilities or learning styles.
  • The Extend section in the lesson provides multiple avenues for students to further research and extend their own knowledge and learning.
  • This is a great opportunity to take a field trip to a local garden or sustainable/regenerative/organic farm in your area to expand the lesson. If you do not have a garden at your school, students could use this lesson as inspiration to propose a school garden to their principal or student government representatives.
Scientist Notes
The resource is logical, valid, and recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • MS-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
      • D4.8.6-8 Apply a range of deliberative and democratic procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms and schools, and in out-of-school civic contexts.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • Related Resources


    Login to leave a review