How often do you think of plants? You might have house plants, maybe a garden. You most certainly eat some plants, if only potatoes! (Chips? Fries anyone?) But maybe a school garden is a new concept for you. Of course, school gardens are beautiful. And kids do love to eat things they’ve grown. But school gardens also provide unique laboratories for rigorous academic learning.
The Next Step Team presents two sets of lessons, one for Kindergarten-2nd Grades, and one for 3rd-5th Grades. Use the lessons to help your students develop mapping skills, design and conduct experiments, create graphs, and learn about life cycles. The lessons focus on these and other academic skills throughout the whole garden year, from planning, planting, caring for and harvesting in the garden.
The lessons make it easy to take your classes through the whole cycle of gardening: from Planning and Planting to Maintaining the Garden, and finally Enjoying and Celebrating the Harvest. ALL the lessons are linked to grade level science, math, social studies, and 21st century skills standards in the Iowa Core.
Feel overwhelmed at just the thought of taking a bunch of kids out into the garden? The lessons include tips for making what might devolve into chaos a fun and manageable experience, and here are some other resources–
These lessons were part of a one-day workshop that Sara and Shelly will present on the second day of the 2019 Iowa Farm To School Conference.
The most important thing to remember though, when you garden with kids is, “It’s not about the plants; it’s about the kids!”