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Eat Smart, Move More NC Recipes for Success

July 19, 2009

How 3rd graders became Kids in the Garden

Recipe Name:

Third graders take Steps to Health and became Kids in the Garden


Target audience

  • Northeast Elementary 3rd Grade Students in Beaufort County

Partners involved

  • Northeast Elementary School
  • Beaufort County’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Coalition
  • Beaufort County Cooperative Extension
  • North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) Steps to Health SNAP-Ed Program
  • Master Gardeners
  • Beaufort County Health Department

Resources needed for the project

  • NCSU’s Steps to Health 3rd Grade Curriculum
  • SNAP-Ed Grant and NCSU funding
  • Supportive teachers and principals
  • Enthusiastic Family and Consumer Science agents
  • Engaged Master Gardeners
  • Dedicated local Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Coalition members


The project

Implement Steps to Health 3rd Grade Program with Northeast Elementary Students which includes a pre and post nutrition knowledge survey and seven educational lessons. Students learn how to identify fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy beverages and various types of physical activity. Each educational lesson includes a taste test (a snack the 3rd grader can make after- school) and a food demonstration (a healthy meal for parents to make for dinner)

Basic steps to implementing the project

  1. Confirm with 3rd grade teachers and the school principal dates for the program
  2. Administer pre and post nutrition and physical activity knowledge surveys
  3. Complete weekly grocery shopping for taste tests and food demonstrations
  4. Teach core nutrition lessons to students and incorporate worksheets and food demonstrations
  5. Encourage students to give parents weekly nutrition information handouts and recipes
  6. Encourage parent participation with parent feedback forms

The Timeframe

  • August - Initial inquiry with the school for their interest in participating in the program
  • December - 1 1/2 - day program training
  • January - Confirmation of program dates with the 3rd grade teachers
  • January – May 2009 - Nine 30 to 45-minute sessions


At the conclusion of the Steps to Health 3rd Grade Program, the Master Gardeners, Health Department, and the PAN Coalition Coalition collaborated to bring a Kids in the Garden program utilizing Health Department Aid to County funds. Upon arrival at the Beaufort County Cooperative Extension Office students received a t-shirt, a goodie bag and a fruit snack. Five learning stations were set up for students to visit.

  • Station 1 - A community garden tour where Master Gardeners showed students how to plant pole beans and flowers.
  • Station 2 - Taught students the importance of hand washing and food safety. As a reward for their excellent hand washing skills, students enjoyed a slice of watermelon.
  • Station 3 - Allowed students to compost their watermelon rinds and to learn about vermiculture.
  • Station 4 - Showed how easily rain barrels could be installed as well as the effects of run-off on our lakes and streams.
  • Station 5 - Exposed students to different herbs, ultimately allowing students to plant their own oregano to take home.

After a comprehensive day in the garden, students enjoyed a veggie pizza lunch complemented with a fruit and a vegetable salad. Parents stated that their children were excited when they came home from the program and that the students had enjoyed trying new foods. Teachers were surprised at how open the students were to trying new things. Students were excited to get dirty and have fun.

More Information:

Name, Title: Lindsay Hecht, MS, RD, School Nutrition Associate
Agency: NCSU Cooperative Extension
Address: NCSU Campus Box 7605
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919.513.8790
Fax: 919.515.2786

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