Healthy Bodies, Healthy Gardens

School Garden Curriculum

The Healthy Bodies, Healthy Gardens curriculum provides experiential opportunities for student inquiry and investigation into health, earth and life sciences, math, literacy and social science. Our seasonal approach to teaching bridges nutrition, gardening and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) using standards-aligned lessons for the elementary school classroom and garden. While our lessons are tailored for the elementary classroom, lessons can easily be adapted to fit the needs of middle and high school classrooms. Each lesson includes applicable Colorado Academic Standards with suggested extensions and modifications. All of the lessons include a healthy, classroom and kid-tested recipe that reinforces the topic and season. DUG’s curriculum was developed as a result of 15 years of working with elementary-aged students.


  • Build connections between healthy bodies and healthy gardens.
  • Teach the course in a way that augments the current classroom curriculum.
  • Stress the strength of diversity and respect for those who learn in different ways.
  • Increase relevancy of earth and life sciences through hands-on garden and nutrition lessons.
  • Increase students’ nutrition and gardening knowledge.
  • Increase students’ nutrition and gardening self-efficacy.
  • Increase students’ positive attitudes about healthy eating and gardening.
  • Increase students’ daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Key Messages

  • Healthy Bodies = Healthy Gardens
  • There are many aspects to being healthy
  • Eating fruits and vegetables can be easy
  • Know the ingredients for both healthy gardens and bodies
  • Be brave and try new foods
  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Be familiar with your fruits and veggies and the plant parts you are eating
  • Eat a rainbow (vary your fruits and veggies and their colors)
  • Focus on fiber (eat whole grains, fruits and veggies)
  • Compost completes the cycle

Standards Alignment

DUG’s lesson plans build upon the Colorado Academic Standards and concepts in science and comprehensive health. In addition, our lessons can easily be adapted to fulfill other academic standards, such as literacy, math, social sciences and art.

Teaching Principles

Progression and Repetition
Topics are taught in a repetitive manner over time. This allows students to build upon earlier knowledge with new information. This teaching style reiterates the connectedness of these topics, encouraging students to see the correlation between science and their health and other aspects of life.

Multiple Teaching Styles
Nutrition, health and gardening are whole body concepts and activities. As such, we use three different approaches to teaching:

  • Lecture and discussion;
  • Activities and experiments;
  • Sensory experience of lessons taught.

Strengths Perspective
DUG believes that all people have innate capacities that, when encouraged, have potentially powerful and positive impacts on their communities. We tailor our activities to the students’ strengths, for example, directing students to gardening activities that suit their skills and motivations. Additionally, we reward class participation and encourage positive leadership by supporting pro-social behavior.

We’d like to thank Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation for their generous support of the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Gardens Curriculum.