Global Kitchen Project- Promoting Healthy Eating Habits Among Children Through Innovative Transdiciplinary Projects

In our study, we addressed a public health issue among youth in the United States: childhood obesity[1]. According to Stop Childhood Obesity, over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has skyrocketed: “more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.”

Our Global Kitchen project promotes health education and global competencies using educational technologies in elementary classrooms and offers creative strategies for developing culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum while integrating Universal Design for Learning (UDL), global education and media education frameworks. The studywas conducted in four classrooms in two elementary schools in low-income urban school settings and investigated over 78 2nd and 3rd grade students.Situated within the context of teaching and learning, this participatory action research (PAR) project aims to advance scientific knowledge of transdisciplinary project-based curriculum revolving around global nutrition education as a means to promote healthy eating habits among youth. In addition to Common Core standards, we integrated Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2013),ISTE’s NETS standards for students, Asia Society global competency[2] and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)[3] frameworks.

We focus on three main goals: (1) promoting culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum while developing global competencies and media literacy skills among children through mobile technologies (e.g. iPads); (2) describing their reactions, discoveries, and experiences; and (3) showcasing their multilingual multicultural multimedia projects.

This participatory action research project intends to transform the way global competencies are integrated in modern classrooms while conducting research on activities focusing on health and nutrition. Thus, this research is important because it focuses on children in their early ages and documents their discoveries, reactions, and experiences with interactive transdisciplinary activities. The objective is to develop a research-based nutrition education curriculum that can be individualized, differentiated and self-directed for students.

The goals for our study were, by the end of five classroom interactions, that:
· teachers will develop UDL lessons about nutrition integrating 21st century skills and global competencies as well as acquire technical and pedagogical skills and innovative educational technology resources,
· participants in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms will complete five Global Kitchen Project modules with 80% accuracy experiencing healthy eating choices, technology skills and global competencies.

In this hands on presentation, we bring the voices and experiences of teachers and their students who completed Global Kitchen modules. They explored, designed, and created innovative transdisciplinary strategies, curricula, and programs for improving students’ outcomes, and they gained alternative points of view on integrating nutrition education into their teaching and renewed interest and commitment to culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum design.

[1]Childhood obesity statistics
[2]Global Competency Matrix-
[3]Universal Design of Learning- Cast Model-