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Review of:

The Great Garden Detective Adventure: The Great Garden Detective Adventure cover A Standards-Based Gardening Nutrition Curriculum for Grades 3 and 4

Image courtesy of:
USDA FNS Team Nutrition
Producer:USDA FNS Team Nutrition
Date Produced:January 2013
  • CD-ROM
  • Booklet
  • Game
  • Curriculum
  • Newsletter
  • Elementary School (6-8 yrs)
  • Meal Planning
  • Eating Patterns
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Other
Description:Discover what fruits and vegetables are sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest through a series of investigations and fun experiences connecting the school garden to the classroom, school cafeteria, and home. This eleven-lesson curriculum for 3rd and 4th grades includes bulletin board materials, veggie dice, fruit and vegetable flash cards, and ten issues of Garden Detective News for parents/caregivers.
Ordering Info:Visit the Team Nutrition website at the link below to access the material in PDF or to order (for eligible schools and child care settings).
Web Site:http://origin.www.fns.usda.gov/TN/Resources/gardendetective.html


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

MyPlate introduced in Lesson Four.
B. Scope
Scope of information appropriate for target audience and essential topics discussed in appropriate detail.

Scope is appropriate for grades 3-4 target audience; essential topics are discussed in appropriate detail.
C. Purpose
Purpose of material clearly stated in title or introduction.

Materials’ purpose clearly stated via either their titles or in introductions.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.

Very well organized; easy to follow.
E. Accuracy
Information is accurate and recommendations current with content of MyPlate and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Accurate information; recommendations are current with MyPlate & 2010 DGA.
F. Learner Background
Material does not assume that reader has background information.

Provides a great overview in the Welcome Section
G. Learning Objectives
Learning objectives identifiable and met.

Learning Objectives are at various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, and are met via activities offered.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Material includes a variety of stimulating and interesting learning experiences, questions, projects, or suggestions for further action that will involve the reader.

Excellent variety of learning experiences (activities, projects).
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes five or more of the above.

Materials include: learning objectives; learner activities; instructional aids; lesson plans; evaluations; web site with additional materials.
K. Recipes (if included)
Overall, recipes are compatible with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
L. Recipes (if included)
Recipes include a nutrient analysis per serving for the following nutrients listed on the nutrition label: kcal, macronutrients, trans fats, cholesterol, dietary fiber and sodium. If for a low-income audience, a cost analysis is included.

I could not find a cost analysis for recipes.
M. Instructional Resources
Instructor resources included with suggestions for enhancing the teaching process. Suggestions for follow-up learning activities/discussion questions included.

Excellent instructor resources provided.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
All major ideas summarized or reviewed to reinforce key concepts; summaries easily identified.

Each lesson includes a nice summary (overview; key messages; garden connection; food service connection; home connection, etc.)

A. Role Models
Positive role models are provided in text and illustrations. Role models presented as having many roles, traits, and emotions.

Unsure of ‘emotions’; roles and traits presented well. It would be nice to see a male role model in the kitchen.
B. Multi-cultural Representation
Racial, ethnic, and religious groups are represented in a factual manner showing a variety of roles, occupations, and values.

Unsure whether religious groups are represented; racial/ethnic groups appear to be represented.
C. Different lifestyles and food patterns
Material reflects, but does not emphasize, a variety of values, practices, and/or food patterns representative of different lifestyles, cultures, and socioeconomic levels.

Appears to be middle class settings represented in images. Does not emphasize different lifestyles, cultures, socioeconomic levels.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear and flow smoothly.
B. Writing Approach
Writing approach is positive and personal. Active voice is used most of the time.
C. Vocabulary
Vocabulary used is appropriate for intended audience. Minimizes use of technical terms and if used, are defined.
D. Supportive Illustrations
All of the illustrations contribute to the material and are on the same page as their textual references. Tables and graphs are as simple and easy to read as possible. All information needed in graphs and tables is provided in a form requiring no further explanation.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout of material are attractive, and stimulate interest, without being too busy. There is good balance between print and blank space.

Great use of colors; beautiful photos of veggies! Good balance between print and white space. Newsletters well written; offer positive experiences for parents/kids.
F. Visual Quality
Paper weight used is heavy enough so that print from one side cannot be seen on the other side. Text is written in a font size that is easy to read, and the main body is not written in capital letters.

Durable; text font size is appropriate, easy to read.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices
Clear headings are provided for each topic area. Cueing devices (shading, boxes, arrows, etc.) are used to direct attention to key points.

Good use of shading/boxing; easy to read/follow headings.
H. Approximate Reading Level
Reading level is at or below 5th grade level for low-literacy materials. Assessment method provided.

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
Very easy to follow. The Welcome Section/tab provides a comprehensive overview that can easily be followed by a teacher/nutrition educator. Describes standards met in each lesson. Colorful, fun curriculum. Outstanding photos; broad range of activities; all content shared in a positive way. Offers many ‘connections’ to food service, home, community, and media. Very good background resources (Appendices), including information on Social Cognitive Theory Elements; Curriculum Standards by Lesson; Gardening Resources.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
Cost analysis for income-limited populations would be helpful. Consider: more Dads in the kitchen; more cultures represented.
C. General Comments
Excellent curriculum that covers a wide range of garden-based lessons in a fun and engaging way. An array of resources/ background information is provided for instructors, along with ways to connect what students are learning to home, food service, and community.
D. Overall Summary
Well-rounded, fun and colorful curriculum that provides an abundance of garden-related activities for Grades 3-4.

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Highly Recommended

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