This article explores the use of food as a focal topic in an environmentally focused curriculum course for elementary teacher candidates (ETCs) to help them personally connect to the content. Environmental topics are interdisciplinary; therefore, as we prepare ETCs to teach them, consideration of the social dimensions of science is imperative. This article discusses how the design and implementation of a unit on food allowed for exploration of elementary science and social studies environmental content with the goal of developing ETCs’ environmental identities. A focus unit on food as a daily practice that connects ETCs to the environment is described to highlight the personal salience of environmental issues and how ETCs impact and are dependent on the environment. Concept maps of daily activities that connect them to the environment were used as initial and final assessments for the course, along with an oral reflection with the instructor on their final maps. Examples of initial maps, final maps, and comments from students’ oral reflections show that ETCs deepened their understanding of how salient environmental issues were to their daily life activities, such as eating. Implications of the implementation on how to increase ETCs’ explicit connections with their identity positions relative to their experiences of and responses to environmental issues and proposed solutions are discussed.
Innovations Journal articles, beyond each issue's featured article, are included with ASTE membership. If your membership is current please login at the upper right.
Agyeman, J., Schlosberg, D., Craven, L., & Matthews, C. (2016). Trends and directions in environmental justice: From inequity to everyday life, community, and just sustainabilities. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 41, 321–340. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-110615-090052
Blanchet-Cohen, N. & Reilly, R. C. (2017). Immigrant children promoting environmental care: Enhancing learning, agency and integration through culturally-responsive environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 23(4), 553–572. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2016.1153046
Feinstein, N. W., & Kirchglaser, K. L. (2015). Sustainability in science education? How the Next Generation Science Standards approach sustainability, and why it matters. Science Education, 99(1), 121–144. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21137
Flowers, R., & Swan, E. (2012). Introduction: Why food? Why pedagogy? Why adult education? Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 52(3), 419–433. https://ajal.net.au/introduction-why-food-why-pedagogy-why-adult-education/
Geijsel, F., & Meijers, F. (2005). Identity learning: The core process of educational change. Educational Studies, 31(4), 419–430. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055690500237488
Gibbons, G. (2007). The vegetables we eat. Holiday House.
Hay, D., Kinchin, I., & Lygo-Baker, S. (2008). Making learning visible: The role of concept mapping in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(3), 295–311. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802049251
Holland, D., Lachicotte, W., Jr., Skinner, D., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Harvard University Press.
Hussar, B., Zhang, J., Hein, S., Wang, K., Roberts, A., Cui, J., Smith, M., Bullock Mann, F., Barmer, A., & Dilig, R. (2020). The condition of education 2020 (NCES 2020-144). U.S. National Center for Education Statistics. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2020/2020144.pdf
Kandiko, C., Hay, D., & Weller, S. (2013). Concept mapping in the humanities to facilitate reflection: Externalizing the relationship between public and personal learning. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 12(1), 70–87. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474022211399381
Kempton, W., & Holland, D. C. (2003). Identity and sustained environmental practice. In S. Clayton & S. Opotow (Eds.), Identity and the natural environment: The psychological significance of nature (pp. 317–341). The MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/3644.003.0019
Kinchin, I. M. (2014). Concept mapping as a learning tool in higher education: A critical analysis of recent reviews. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(1), 39–49. https://doi.org/10.1080/07377363.2014.872011
Llewellyn, D. (2007). Making the most of concept maps. Science Scope, 30(5), 74, 76–77.
Menzel, P., & D’Aluisio, F. (2010). What I eat: Around the world in 80 diets. Material World Books.
NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18290
Novak, J. D. (2002). Meaningful learning: The essential factor for conceptual change in limited or inappropriate propositional hierarchies leading to empowerment of learners. Science Education, 86(4), 548–571. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.10032
Pollan, M. (2009). The omnivore’s dilemma: The secrets behind what you eat (R. Chevat, Adapter; Young readers ed.). Dial Books.
Roth, C. E. (1992). Environmental literacy: Its roots, evolution, and directions in the 1990s. ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED348235.pdf
Scott, W. (2020). 25 years on: Looking back at environmental education research. Environmental Education Research, 26(12), 1681–1689. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2020.1869185
Shepardson, D.P., Wee, B., Priddy, M., & Harbor, J. (2007). Students’ mental models of the environment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(2), 327–348. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.20161
Stets, J. E. & Biga, C. F. (2003). Bringing Identity theory into environmental sociology. Sociological Theory, 21(4), 398–423. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1467-9558.2003.00196.x
Swan, E., & Flowers, R. (2015). Clearing up the table: Food pedagogies and environmental education—Contributions, challenges and future agendas. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 31(1), 146–164. https://doi.org/10.1017/aee.2015.27
Thomas, G. P. (2012). Metacognition in science education: Past, present and future considerations. In B. J. Fraser, K. Tobin, & C. J. McRobbie (Eds.), Second international handbook of science education (pp. 131–144). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9041-7_11
Tzou, C. T., & Bell, P. (2012). The role of borders in environmental education: Positioning, power and marginality. Ethnography and Education, 7(2), 265–282. https://doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2012.693697
Wilson, R., & Bradbury, L. (2016). Stalk it up to integrated learning: Using foods we eat and informational texts to learn about plant parts and their functions. Science & Children, 53(9), 46–51.
Wilson, R. E., Bradbury, L. U., & McGlasson, M. A. (2015). Integrating service-learning pedagogy for preservice elementary teachers’ science identity development. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 26(3), 319–340. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-015-9425-4
Woolf, A. (Director). (2007). King corn: You are what you eat [Film]. Mosaic Films Incorporated; Independent Television Service.
Zimmerman, H. T., & Weible, J. L. (2017). Learning in and about rural places: Connections and tensions between students’ everyday experiences and environmental quality issues in their community. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 12(1), 7-31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-016-9757-1