Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Middle School Social Science Lessons

These lessons have been developed to bring garden-based nutrition education and California standards-based social studies curriculum together. We believe that food history is an integral part of understanding culture and that experiential lessons in the garden and cooking classroom can encourage students to eat more healthily and deepen their understanding of past civilizations.

The lessons below are works in progress and are not yet approved by the Network for a Healthy California. These are a sample; garden and cooking activities have been modified and tested for most seventh grade social studies units (Fall of Rome, Rise of Islam, Civilizations of West Africa, Ancient China, Feudal Japan, Feudal Europe, Renaissance, and Mezo-America). For eighth grade we have lessons for the Constitutional Convention, Native American, and Westward Expansion units. If you would like more information please contact kpearce@husd.k12.ca.us

China in the Garden (Grade 7)
Students are introduced to fruits and vegetables that originated in China as well as wellness
practices and the cultural significance of citrus through a multi-station activity. A follow up cooking lesson is available.

Europe in the Garden (Grade 7)
The grains, fruits, and vegetables of Feudal Europe are presented to students in a multi-station
activity. Students will understand that social status under Feudalism affected food options through a poster matching game, get to grind wheatberries into flour (to be used to make bread later), and taste peas while learning about the nutritional value of various European fruits and vegetables.

Westward Expansion in the Garden (Grade 8)
Students are introduced to fruits and vegetables available during the overland journey from the East Coast of the United States to the West during the 1800's. Students act as settlers in this garden based card game, and move along one of the three trails, which presents challenges in regards to geography, climate, and food security. After gathering produce from the different regions of the U.S., students put them together in a cooking activity, making bean chili and writing ghost stories.
 

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Do You Know Nanuk the Farm Cat? Get to know him. We love him and the other UCSC farm cats that are not social media savvy. ... See MoreSee Less

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Are you interested in learning more about local fly fishing? Tonight's your chance!

Join the Coastal Watershed Council at the Patagonia Santa Cruz store for Fly-Casting & Fly-Tying Demos at 6:45 PM and a short film at 7:45 PM. See you there! Thanks to Trout Unlimited and Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen for this exciting event.
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We're live from the school garden conference with keynote John Fisher of life lab!

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Hear the community plea to the Watsonville City Council regarding a sweetened beverage tax for the City of Watsonville. ... See MoreSee Less

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We had a wonderful morning hosting a group of farmers from Alushta, Ukraine through the City of Santa Cruz Sisters Cities Committee. They are here for a week of cultural exchange, and were stoked to learn about our work with children in gardens. We even got some sweet chocolates from Ukraine as a thank you! #sharingthejoyofthegarden ... See MoreSee Less

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Rachel Pringle

Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside

Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.

Erica Curry

Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.

Sheila Bricken

Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary

Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.

Tara Neier

Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom

Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.