The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) recently unveiled a new comprehensive “Pod to Plate” curriculum that was created for children in fourth through eighth grades. Pod to Plate includes an educational website as well as related materials for teachers to use. Funded by the soybean checkoff, Pod to Plate will enable educators to teach children about soybeans as they are produced, transported and processed into food and other uses, including aquaculture and soy biodiesel. Throughout the summer, ISA will be presenting Pod to Plate to teachers at educators’ workshops throughout the state.

The new website features Sam the Soy Biodiesel Semi and his friends, and offers a self-guided adventure where children can discover everything about the soybean and how it affects the world. Within the site, they can visit and explore five different destinations: production, transportation, processing, products and exports. Players have the opportunity to customize their experience through a variety of tools – including designing their own soy biodiesel semi-truck, selecting their level of difficulty for the journey, and choosing the destinations they want to discover. This exploration approach offers children a more personalized learning experience.

The website includes animated “surprises” to engage students and make education fun, and a quiz at each destination to challenge minds and help with retention. The site also has built-in rewards to encourage children to explore and learn. When students complete one of the five quizzes, a “token” is earned. When students successfully complete all five quizzes, they can choose to print a certificate of achievement.

The Pod to Plate website includes an array of worksheets that closely follow Illinois Learning Standards and are organized by grade and subject. Teachers can print these worksheets for use in their classrooms. A corresponding Teacher’s Guide and a Pod to Plate poster are offered free of charge to teachers, via an order form on ilsoy.org. Plus, educators in schools with a slow – or no – Internet connection, can request a DVD version of the website, which includes all worksheets and the Teacher’s Guide.

For more information, visit podtoplate.org and ilsoy.org, or call 309-663-7692.