Cultivate student appreciation for agriculture and the environment through planting school gardens.
Take a break from lessons that require students to sit at their desks and take mandatory exams in order to step outside to create school gardens. Whether outdoor space that is perfect for planting exists on school property or an urban location necessitates creating a garden within the classroom, incorporating this project into ongoing lesson plans can prove invaluable for students.
Planting Seeds of Agricultural Respect
As debates continue regarding the benefits and harm of organic vs. GMO-grown food, one fact that everyone can agree upon is the importance of agriculture to human survival in a world populated by more than 7 billion people. Children who understand the processes of agriculture and respect its role in their lives will be more inclined to make sensible choices to promote health, support legislation that encourages best industry practices, and educate others.
After children have spent time examining activity in the school garden, ask them to compare their own findings with a relevant news story regarding the agricultural industry. This activity promotes the interdisciplinary concepts of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by allowing students to blend concepts of different sciences, such as biology, Earth science, and weather and climate, while also sharpening scientific reporting skills.
Planting a school garden allows students to discover firsthand the importance of safeguarding the environment. After planting seeds, students will nurture plants and do their best to protect their school garden.
Encourage students to research the best gardening methods for the particular seeds they have planted. Once they understand how soil quality, sun exposure, and water affect plant growth, ask students to find ways to improve the growth processes through combating threats to the environment. When the season has finished, assign a project to students through which they will compare the conditions recorded throughout the entire project and compare these with an ideal, unpolluted environment.
Organize students into groups and assign each group certain crops or plants to manage within the school garden. With teacher approval, allow each group to choose its own plants from a list. On the list of plants, include regional options for which your county, city, or state are known. Choose the state tree, bush, or flower and ask students to research the origin, meaning, and history of these within the region.
As students collaborate by conducting research, preparing the school garden, and nurturing plants, they will cultivate essential team-building skills. Through learning how to work with others, students will be prepared for future projects on which they must collaborate with colleagues in real-world job situations.
Teachers who organize school gardens create a memorable, valuable learning experience for students and themselves. While learning in-class lessons, studying literature, and processing information from teachers are all important for student growth; incorporating tactical, experiential educational tools are also integral to comprehensive instruction. Bring these learning experiences to the classroom by building school gardens!
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