Almond Board of California (ABC) recently developed lesson plans that round out its educational offerings, including a video and an activity book, for elementary schools in California’s Central Valley. The lesson plans, “California Almonds: An Almond Story,” offer a unit outline for educators to teach students about the history and applications of almonds.
For the past six years, ABC has worked with California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom to offer the popular “An Almond Story” video and accompanying activity book, which insert the teaching of agriculture — specifically almonds — into the classroom.
“California is the number one agricultural-producing state, with 80 percent of the world’s almonds grown here,” said Rebecca Bailey, program coordinator for Industry Relations, Almond Board of California. “Almonds are grown throughout the Central Valley in California, so it’s important to provide educators with the tools they need to teach students about almonds in a fun way.”
The lesson plans are built with grades three to five in mind, and include a five-lesson unit that makes up the almond unit. Lessons include Fact or Opinion, Science and Poetry with Almonds, Fun with Almond Math, Almond History and Cultural Significance, and Nutritious Almonds. The entire unit aligns with the education standards for California schools, along with the country’s Common Core standards for math, science and English.
Many students don’t realize that California is a major agricultural state, with more than 400 crops grown here. A goal of the lesson plans is to teach children how to be aware of what is being grown around them, and to instill a sense of responsibility for the land. Moreover, forging a personal connection the people who grow the food on their plates makes students excited to eat more nutrient-rich foods. And many California students are personally tied in some way to the almond industry, making almonds more than just a snack.
Not only are the lesson plans educational, they’re also a fun and hands-on way to bring ag into the classroom.
“The kids learn about almonds, but the plans also build in options for interactive activities,” said DeAnn Tenhunfeld, curriculum coordinator for Ag in the Classroom. “The lesson plans allow teachers to choose from having their students make recipe books, poetry books, travel brochures or even coordinate a farmer visit.”
The idea for the lesson plans came from ABC’s Almond Leadership Program, a yearlong program during which participants learn about the almond industry by going to monthly seminars. The participants work on a presentation throughout the duration of the program that they unveil in their final month.
“Two participants of the 2013 Almond Leadership Program presented the “California Almonds: An Almond Story” as their project,” Bailey said. “They realized the potential to create a more complete offering around the activity book and video we had already been using, and the Almond Board’s Industry Services Committee decided to make their idea a reality.”
The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,000 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom are multigenerational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a nonprofit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.