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Teachers can now get closer to food story science tool

11th April 2019

Teachers can now get closer to food story science tool

The Soil, Food & Society science teaching tool for primary and intermediate students in years 5 – 8 is now even more accessible to science teachers, since the resource is one of the latest additions to the New Zealand Young Farmers’ educational resource site, Agrication.

The resource draws on the story of food and the role of food production in New Zealand as platforms for exploring science and promoting critical thinking. It tells the important facts about where our food comes from and teaches students that healthy soil, and the growth of nutrient-rich plant life, is essential to growing food for humans and animals. Importantly, it explains how New Zealand agriculture is the first step in the supply chain.

It is split into three easy-to-teach parts: The Chain in my Lunchbox, Our Food Garden and Plants are Earth’s Engine. Each topic is linked to the NZ Curriculum and provides opportunity for scientific discovery, conducting experiments and developing key competencies (such as independent learning and publishing).

Joy Kitt, lead teacher of science at Russell Street School, Palmerston North, contributed to the early development of the resource and now recommends it to other science teachers. “I particularly like its versatility,” she says. “I have used different aspects of the tool at different times as part of my living world units.”

Ann Thompson, Executive Director of the Fertiliser Quality Council (a key sponsor of the programme), says it is so important that school children understand the science that lies behind growing food. “Food just doesn’t arrive in our lunchboxes, it is grown on the land - and this requires maintaining healthy soil.”

In using the story of food to encourage scientific questioning and understanding, it is also hoped that the resource will prompt more students to go onto study science in their high school years – and perhaps, ultimately, choose a career in agriculture.

The Soil, Food & Society resource was originally funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund. Funding is now provided by the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC). The resource is available for download at


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