our curriculum

Our 5-part curriculum was developed through a partnership with a team of volunteer educators. Our mission was to create an opportunity for place-based, hands-on learning about food, farming and the land.

When the Sauvie Island Center was founded in 2005 our curriculum consisted of four modules: Plant Parts, Wildlife & the Food Web, Seed to Harvest and Healthy Soil. With the help of the Xerxes Society and generous funding from the Yahoo Employee Foundation, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and Patagonia Portland we were able to add our 5th module: Pollination Station.

Our curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are outlined  below. Through a collaborative, state-led process managed by Achieve, the K–12 science standards  are rich in content and practice, and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS are based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. Through collaboration with Portland State University Center for Science Education and Portland Metro STEM partnership, Sauvie Island Center began to incorporate into our curriculum in 2014. Students participating in field trips to the Sauvie Island Center will now be able to demonstrate an understanding of the link between plant structure and its function and how human agricultural impacts earth systems.

Below is a brief overview of our curriculum modules accompanied by NGSS connections. All modules last 45 minutes in a normal field trip schedule. Each module can be adapted for students from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

Seed to Harvest

Students learn about the life cycle of a plant through dissecting seeds, and then explore plant life cycles in action while planting, tasting, and tending in the Grow Lunch Garden.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • Life Science 1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
    • How do organisms grow and develop?
  • Life Science 1.A: Structure and Function
    • How do the structures of organisms enable life’s functions?
  • Life Science 2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    • How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy?
  • Earth Space Science 3.A: Natural Resources
    • How do humans depend on the earth’s resources?
  • Earth Space Science 3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
    • How do humans change the planet?

 Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Developing and Using Models

Plant Parts

Students explore the structure and function of the six plant parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds) and identify foods that come from each part through a scavenger hunt, games, and tasting on the farm.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • Life Science 1.A: Structure and Function
    • How do the structures of organisms enable life’s functions?
  • Life Science 1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
    • How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow?
  • Life Science 2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    • How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy?
  • Earth Space Science 3.A: Natural Resources
    • How do humans depend on the earth’s resources?
  • Earth Space Science 3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
    • How do humans change the planet?

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Pollination Station

Students investigate the process of pollination, meet pollinators on the farm, and explore why pollinators are so vital to humans and the planet.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • Life Science 1.A: Structure and Function
    • How do the structures of organisms enable life’s functions?
  • Life Science 1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
    • How do organisms grow and develop?
  • Life Science 2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    • How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy?
  • Earth Space Science 3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
    • How do humans change the planet?

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Developing and Using Models

Soil Investigation

Students investigate the four elements of healthy soil (water, air, minerals, and organic matter) and their importance to plants, and then make observations and perform tests to determine soil health in two locations on the farm.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • Life Science 1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
    • How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow?
  • Earth Space Science 2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
    • How do earth’s major systems shape the land?
  • Earth Space Science 2.E: Biogeology
    • How do living organisms alter Earth’s processes and structures?
  • Earth Space Science 3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
    • How do humans change the planet?

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Wildlife and the Food Web

Students discover the many players within a healthy food web, including producers, consumers, and decomposers, and recognize that all living things get their energy from the sun.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • Life Science 2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    • How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy?
  • Life Science 2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
    • How do matter and energy move through an ecosystem?
  • Life Science 1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
    • How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow?
  • Physical Science 3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life
    • How do food and fuel provide energy?

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Developing and Using Models

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