2nd Graders learn about soil

Second graders headed out to the school gardens, imagining they were aliens from another planet on a mission to find out what soil is made of, so they could start growing food on their planet. 

In the Garden Classroom they dug soil samples and identified some components they could see. Students wondered what might be in soil that we cannot see, and observed that soil is a mixture of dead and living things. 

They compared soil samples from two different sites (a garden bed and a bare slope under trees), and discovered that soil varies in color, texture, and composition from place to place. To help separate out the components, the soil samples were put in a jar with water and brought into the classroom to settle into visible layers: humus will float at the top, and rock/sand particles will sink to the bottom.

Students investigated compost at different stages of decomposition, and learned how dead plants return nutrients to the soil to help other plants grow. They observed worms and centipedes and other decomposers that help with breaking down the compost.

In the vegetable garden they pulled up and composted the winter cover crops to get the garden ready for spring and they also planted peas. Peas, and other legumes, have the special ability to take nitrogen from the air and turn it into nitrogen in the soil that the plants can use to help them grow. In the presence of a certain bacteria in the soil, they grow nodules on their roots in which they make their own fertilizer. So in a couple months, we’ll have tasty peas, and healthier soil!

These hands-on investigations provide memorable connections to support students’ science learning. Thank you to the volunteers who helped make the activities possible: Doug Brenhouse, Xinqi Gong, Gail Barry, Candace Webb, Katie Sbay, Kim Foster, and Harriet Wong.

Spring Kindergarten Garden Activities

Seeds! Both in the classroom and in the garden, the kindergarten classes are learning about seeds. We examined some dormant and sprouting beans seeds, looked at a felt model of a bean seed to see how all the parts of the plant unfold out of the seed coat, drew pictures of bean seeds sprouting, and planted some bean seeds to watch grow in the classroom.

We looked at seeds from different types of plants along with pictures of what they grow into. There were big seeds like potatoes and garlic. Seeds we see when we eat the foods, like tomato,  cucumber, and peas. And tiny seeds that we never see because we usually pick them to eat before the seeds form – like basil and lettuce.

We also planted some of our own seeds in the veggie garden and the planter boxes in the garden classroom. Check out the sprouts that are coming up for lettuce, spinach, and radishes!

Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who came out to the gardens with us: Christine Burke, Alise Schwartzlow, Megan Palmer, Rachel Pinto, Katherine Poulin-Kerstien, Shelley McCann, Carrie Palmer, and Valerie Belitsos.

Kindergarteners Visit the Gardens

Over the past two weeks, all of the Kindergarteners have come out to explore the gardens. They looked for signs of Fall on a scavenger hunt in the garden classroom, they examined the seeds of some flowers and vegetables, and they harvested carrots and kale in the vegetable garden.

 

 

While learning about farms in the classroom and on their field trip, the kindergarteners also got to BE farmers in our vegetable garden. Since carrots grow underground, they can be hard to find at first. It’s exciting because you never know how big or small or crazy looking your carrot is going to be until you get it out. They also learned that sometimes you have to be pretty strong to pull those carrots out of the ground!

 

It was fun to see what each plant looks like on the inside. Our scientists made careful observations of different plants and their seeds: tomato, marigold, pepper, milkweed pod, sunflower, and runner beans. They noticed how the plants and their seeds were all different shapes, sizes, and colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were lots of things to look for in the Garden Classroom: blooming flowers, herbs, red and brown leaves, moss, mushrooms, and seed pods. Students talked about how this garden might look different during different seasons.

 

 

 

Garden Harvest Table

On Fridays afternoons, we displayed the vegetables that our young farmers harvested at our Garden Harvest tables. At school pick-up times families could choose something to bring home and cook for dinner. We had carrots, herbs, a few cherry tomatoes, and plenty of kale.

Thank you to all of our parent volunteers for making this possible!

Purple Carrot

Nose Carrot

Mouse Carrot

Octopus Carrot

 

 

 

 

1st graders in the gardens

The 1st graders came out to the gardens to see what’s growing, observe different kinds of seeds, and help harvest.

In the Garden Classroom, students talked about how the garden looks different in different seasons. Plants that just had tiny buds when they visited the garden last spring, now have large leaves that are changing to fall colors and starting to fall off. They went on a scavenger hunt to look for blooming flowers, dead leaves, seeds pods, and other interesting things. There was even a monarch butterfly that came to visit!

 

In the vegetable garden, they remembered planting small bean seeds last spring that are now very tall vines that made it all the way up to the top of the bean teepee. There were large bean pods growing and we saw that the beans inside were seeds that could be used to plant more vines. We saw carrots, popcorn, tomatoes, kale, and jalapeno peppers. We smelled garlic chives and lime basil. Everyone helped to harvest some vegetables that were put out at our free veggie table for families to take home at the end of the day.

The students also got to be scientists and make careful observations of the inside of some vegetables and flowers. They each chose their favorite item from a selection of cut open bean pods, marigolds, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and milkweed pods. They described, measured, and drew a picture of their plant and it’s seeds. Everyone worked very hard on their observation notes.

 

Thank you to all of parent volunteers that helped make this possible!