The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 8

Notes and Lesson Plans

Organic Chemistry: Food & Nutrition
updated February 5, 2020

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your eighth grade year. Enjoy!

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Organic Chemistry
for Class 8

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Organic Chemistry / Nutrition.

FREE eBooks at the Online Waldorf Library
Excellent resource! Published Waldorf curriculum books provided here in PDF format for you to download, keep, and read... for free!

Sample Lessons and Free Curriculum

Other Helpful Links

Books to Buy

If you already own Eric Fairman's grade 8 Path of Discovery book, you can find his notes for this block on pp. 28-66. If you prefer to buy his notes for this block on their own, he did publish them as a separate volume. It is called Food, Nutrition, and Health. As of 04/24/2017, both are available from, with the Grade 8 book listed at $21.00 and the Nutrition block book listed at $18.00. I have the Nutrition book and was originally planning on using it as my primary text.

However, David Mitchell wrote a book called The Wonders of Waldorf Chemistry: Notes from a Teacher's Notebook for grades 7-9, which I purchased and will be reading as I plan this block.

I've recently discovered that the David Mitchell book is available for free at the Online Waldorf Library, which makes it a compelling choice! The section for eighth grade is pages 108 - 156.

I have also heard the set of Chemistry books by Mikko Bojarsky are excellent; however, I have not yet had a chance to purchase and review them. His book for this block, A Demonstration Manual for Use in the Waldorf School Eighth Grade Chemistry Main Lesson, is $30.00.

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

Trying to choose between them?

Eric Fairman organizes his topics as follows:



    The Plant Kingdom



      Sugar (experiments 1 - 8)
      Starch (experiments 9 - 14)
      Cellulose (experiments 15 - 16)

    Protein (experiments 17 - 19)

    Fats and Oils (experiments 20 - 23)

    Mineral Salts (he gives the value of each and some foods which contain them)

      Calcium Ca - alkaline
      Iron Fe - alkaline
      Phosphorus P - acid
      Iodine I - acid
      Fluorine F - acid
      Chlorine Cl - acid
      Magnesium Mg - alkaline
      Sodium Na - alkaline

    Vitamins (he gives the value of each and some foods which contain them)

      Fat soluble: A, D, E, K
      Water soluble: B Complex, C

    Water (this section has the most revised/expanded content in the version sold separately)

    Herbs (medicinal uses)

    Drugs and Addictions

    Main Lesson Test (a complete test which you can photocopy and give to your students)

David Mitchell organizes his topics as follows:

    First, he has quite a few introductory sections. These are Preface, Developing Scientific Thinking, Creating Wonder in Chemistry, Teacher's Guidelines, The Process of Learning, Teacher's Scheme, Tasks for the Teacher, Enthusiasm, How to Read Science, Laboratory Equipment, Safety, Disposal of Chemicals, Prologue to the Chemistry Main Lesson

    Eighth Grade Chemistry

      Sample Block Outline

      Themes in the Eighth Grade

      Three Branches of Chemistry



      Poem by Goethe

      Chemicals in a 100-Pound Student

      The Metals

      Preparation of a Metal from Ore

      The Blast Furnace and Industrial Chemistry

      Metals in the Earth's Crust


      Class Reading - Rutherford Platt

      The History of Sugar

      Test for Sugar


      Test for Starch



      Carbon Dioxide Generator

      The Production of Hydrogen


      Oils and Fats

      Spelling and Vocabulary

    He also concludes his book with Biographies of Selected Scientists, and Chemicals and Supplies.

    The Spelling and Vocabulary lists are for a three week block and are divided up as follows:

    Week #1
    meniscus, condensed, evaporated, pollution, metallurgy, mineral, malleable, ductile, noble metal, bronze, meander, surface tension, chemical compound, electrical, biochemistry

    Week #2
    fermentation, alcohol, ethanol, methanol, crucible, dissolve, precipitate, denatured alcohol, carbohydrate, cellulose, Fehling solution, starch, sugar, glucose, fructose

    Week #3
    protein, nitrogen, nutrition, photosynthesis, synthetic, legumes, protoplasm, fertilizer, aromatic oil, crystallization, chlorophyll, pigments, distillation, albumin, esters

Ultimately, as a homeschooler, Eric Fairman's experiments seem more doable (although next year I clearly need to invest in a good quality Chemistry kit) and so I am going to continue with my initial decision to use him as the main text. I also don't want to spend as much time on the metals as David Mitchell does. He states that this is important to address, if you didn't get to it in 7th grade. This is probably true, but I want us to spend most of our time focusing on Nutrition.


"Rain" by Spike Milligan, from Here's a Little Poem
initial connections to this block are: sense of wonder, enthusiasm, childlike exploration, coming up with theories -- AND -- ultimately, a sense of scarcity, the realization that we don't control our food supply and we are completely dependent on the plants and animals and weather of our earth

List of Stories

Story #1 - Milk

    special guest - doula?

    Day 1 (introduce):
    use See / Think / Wonder routine & graphic organizer throughout the block

    use safety glasses for science experiments throughout the block

    Turn Milk into Plastic science experiment
    something to kick off the main lesson block with a bang!
    P.S. it's because of the protein... which kids will realize later in the block

    Day 2 (review from yesterday, extend, summarize, add to MLB):
    my plan is to start the discussion by reading them Cow by Jules Older -- and they'll be thinking that I'm going to tell them cow milk is a healthy food -- and then turn the conversation around and say, cow milk is the perfect food for BABY COWS, but we are not baby cows and it's actually not all that good for us

    "Breastfeeding Benefits" from

    breastmilk is best!
    to show just how different humans and cows are, we did a MLB page with the four stomachs of a ruminant, from page 9 of Horns and Antlers by Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson

Story #2 - Honey

Story #3 - The Plant Kingdom

Story #4 - Photosynthesis

Story #5 - Sugar

    sample chalkboard drawing for Sugar

    *NEW* January 15, 2019 was the 100 year anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood in Boston.

    This might be an interesting connection!

    I also love The Great Molasses Flood by Beth Wagner Brust if you have younger children in the house. It is one of my favorite early readers because it's such an unexpected topic!

    Day 1 (introduce):
    Think Before You Drink display
    set out an assortment of packaged drinks including "healthy" and "unhealthy" options, and ask students to arrange them from most sugar to least sugar without reading the nutrition labels... then read the labels and rearrange as needed... then create a display with stacks of sugar cubes (one Domino's sugar cube dot = 2.5 g)

    read The History of Sugar on page 141 - 143 of David Mitchell's book

    Sugar Detectives activity (print pages 2 and 4)
    for this you will need an assortment of cereal boxes
    I had students write as a fraction (B over A) before converting to a percent

    Day 2 (review from yesterday, extend, summarize, add to MLB):
    taste raw sugar vs. processed granulated sugar

    experiment #2 from Eric Fairman (Combustion of Refined Sugar)

    make candy! or Crystallized Ginger and Syrup
    (watch sugar go through all of the stages; The Cold Water Candy Test)

Story #6 - Starch

Story #7 - Cellulose

Story #8 - Protein (Albumen)

Story #9 - Fats and Oils

Story #10 - Mineral Salts

    Calcium Ca - alkaline
    Iron Fe - alkaline
    Phosphorus P - acid
    Iodine I - acid
    Fluorine F - acid
    Chlorine Cl - acid
    Magnesium Mg - alkaline
    Sodium Na - alkaline

Story #11 - Vitamins

    Fat soluble: A, D, E, K
    Water soluble: B Complex, C

Story #12 - Water

We do not need to include Medicinal Herbs in this block because the children in our homeschool co-op have a Medicinal Herbs class every week with the master herbalist at Dayempur Farm.

I am also not going to include Drugs & Addictions in this block. We are using it as the culmination of our school year and that's not exactly the note I want to end on! If you're interested, David Mitchell does have a discussion of Smoking on pages 95-96 of his book and Alcohol on page 150.

My Blog Posts from Teaching This Topic

My Blog Posts from Teaching This Topic (a second time)

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