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UC-CalFresh Increases Science Literary through Nutrition Education

Through the effective partnership of UCCE Master Gardeners and UC CalFresh nutrition educators, a vital aspect of understanding plant biology and its importance to nutrition has evolved into an instructional seminar.   This year, utilizing Teams with Intergenerational Support (TWIGS) curriculum, UC CalFresh educators introduced nearly 100 sixth grade students at Viking Elementary to plant science. Master Gardeners discussed the various stages of a plants lifecycle, sharing their knowledge and skills. Students then learned about the edible plant parts.  The experience culminated with the students seeding and cultivating their own bean plant in a cup and taking the plants home. Master Gardeners provided guidance on when they should transplant it.  

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Hands-on learning opportunities such as classifying edible plant parts expose students to scientific reasoning. Academic standards are brought to life through activities meant to engage, inspire and ignite students’ passion for science.  This type of science literacy, even when gardens are not accessible, not only aids students academically, but is linked with nutrition education to further promote understanding of a healthy lifestyle which includes fresh foods such as vegetables.

Diane Shambley, Sixth Grade Instructor at Viking Elementary School recently shared her thoughts about the UC CalFresh plant lifecycle nutrition lessons. “Our sixth grade students look forward to these lessons and are actively engaged in learning the entire time. Your teachers (UC CalFresh Educators) are highly knowledgeable in their content and make lessons fun as well as informational…they compliment the monthly nutrition lesson and tastings we do in the classroom.”