First graders look for signs of fall and examine pumpkins

First graders had a great time examining pumpkins, gourds and squashes. They especially loved exploring the seeds and the process pumpkins go through from seed to pumpkin. They measured, described, and drew a pumpkin, squash or gourd and answered more scientific questions.

They also explored the gardens for signs of fall. Many students found leaves, moss, sticks, and decaying vegetables. They also learned the process a maple tree goes through from season to season. They especially found it interesting how maple sugaring happens in March. They also loved the beautiful colors we find during fall.

In the vegetable garden, they got to see what happens when you can’t get into the garden to weed all summer long. Those tiny weeds we see in June are taller than them by October!

We also looked for bugs and signs that bugs had been there. After noticing some holes in the radish leaves, we guessed that there may have been some caterpillars there. We turned over a few of the leaves, and found a caterpillar egg!

 

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

1st Graders help plant flowers to attract butterflies and beneficial insects

All of the first grade classes came out to visit both gardens this spring. After learning so much about insects in class, it was a great opportunity to see some in their natural habitat.

There were ants, bees, and cabbage white butterflies. One group spotted a swallowtail butterfly and another group discovered a millipede. We also saw a lot of holes in leaves, so we knew that there must have been caterpillars on those leaves, even though we didn’t see them.

In the vegetable garden, they saw leafminer trails and eggs on spinach leaves, and planted Alyssum flower seeds. When the flowers bloom, they will draw good bugs into the garden to eat the bad bugs. Like ladybugs, to eat the aphids.

In the Garden Classroom, they learned about the different plants in our butterfly garden. We have flowers that the buttterflies like for their nectar like Coneflower and Phlox, as well as plants whose leaves their caterpillars can eat, like Yarrow for Painted Lady butterflies and Milkweed for Monarch butterflies. We hope that if butterflies come by for the nectar, that they will lay some eggs on their host plants!

All of the groups helped to plant Zinnia seeds around the school to attract butterflies who love their nectar. The picture below was taken last year, but we hope to see many butterflies on our Zinnias this year too!

Thank you to our parent volunteers for making this possible: Yi Chen, Winita Hoffman, June Lattimore, Erika Meldrim, Taylor Neilsen, Katherine Poulin-Kerstien, Jennifer Rosenbaum, and Feng Wang.

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!