BIG IDEAS, ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS and KEY CONCEPTS from OUR GARDEN to TABLE CURRICULUM courtesy of THE CENTER FOR ECOLITERACY Lower Elementary Our family and cultural backgrounds influence the foods we eat. Upper Elementary Cultures have distinctive food patterns and behaviors that can change due to a variety of influences. Middle School The decisions a society makes about food, food production, and food practices are influenced by the prevalent culture’s values, assumptions, and norms. What food traditions do different cultures have? Why do families and other groups have customs and rules about food and eating? How do we learn about foods from others? How have food traditions changed over time where we live? What can we learn about different cultures by studying their food and the ways they procure, prepare, eat and dispose of waste? How do ideas, values, and behavior patterns spread within a culture and from one culture to another? How have past and present technological changes (including transportation) brought changes to in food choices, food production, and human behaviors related to food? How might we uncover the ways that culture influences our own biases, perspectives, and beliefs about food and food-related behaviors? How does our society’s costbenefit approach to decisions influence food and food practices, and how does it compare with the ways other societies make decisions. What are examples of ways in which our society favors individual rights over the collective good as it relates to food? How do these examples compare with other societies? Cultural beliefs strongly influence the values and behavior of the people who grow up in the culture, often without their being fully aware of it. Heredity, culture, and personal experience interact in shaping human behavior. Benefits and costs of proposed choices include consequences that are long-term as well as short-term, and indirect as well as direct… but benefits and costs may be difficult to estimate. All social trade-offs pit personal benefits and rights of the individual, on one side, against the general social good, on the other. Culture Each culture has distinct patterns of behavior, usually practiced by most who grow up in it. People can learn about others from direct experience, from the media and from listening to other people talk about their work and their lives. People also imitate people or characters in the media. What is considered to be acceptable human behavior varies from culture to culture and from one time period to another. Human beings tend to repeat behaviors that feel good or have pleasant consequences and avoid behaviors that feel bad or have unpleasant consequences. Each culture has distinctive patterns of behavior, usually practiced by most of the people who grow up in it. Within a large society there may be many groups, with distinctly different subcultures associated with religion, ethnic origin, or social class. Although within any society there is usually broad general agreement on what behavior is unacceptable, the standards used to judge behavior vary for different settings and different subgroups, and they may change with time and different political and economic conditions. Technology, especially in transportation and communication, is increasingly important in spreading ideas, values, and behavior patterns within a society and among societies. New technology can change cultural values and social behavior. 100