This is a guest blog post by blogger, 5th-grade teacher, and teacher-author, Ginny Preist.
In 5th grade, we learn about photosynthesis and what plants need, so planting a garden is a natural fit with the NGSS or Next Generation Science Standards. Gardening also gets kids outside and connects them with nature. It is great to have students experience photosynthesis and food production firsthand. Here are some of the benefits of a school garden.
Real-Life Application of the Standards
I like to plant our classroom garden early enough so kids get the full experience of following a seed or plant to harvest. I have mistakenly planted too late or planted vegetables that ripen in summer.
In Southern California, a winter garden has been most successful. Lettuce, sugar snap peas, and nasturtiums have been successful. The squirrels aren’t bothering our garden this time of year either! When planted early, the students get to see the garden through to harvest. We planted our raised bed in December with different lettuces, kale, and nasturtiums. I love flowers so I always need some in my garden. Nasturtiums are edible too so they are great in a salad.
Getting Outside and Off Devices
We have been on our devices more and more each year. I love the differentiated learning options different programs provide but I also like activities that let us unplug for a bit. We take books outside and take turns working in the garden because 25 students working in a raised garden bed all at once is not helpful. If you can get a parent helper, do it!
If you have a parent helper, divide the students into a few groups. One group can plop down in an area and study a plant quietly and sketch it. Another group can read in the garden, and the third group can be working in the garden bed. Rotate between these simple groups to maintain safety and classroom management.
Helping Students Understand that Dirt and Bees are Good Things
Know who is allergic to bees etc. and be prepared. Some students aren’t allergic but are just frightened by everything outside. Spider webs, bugs, bees, etc. bring screams. Help students enjoy a bit of dirt.
Planting a school garden is a great activity when studying photosynthesis. Check out this unit that Ginny made HERE.
You can also check out my resource on Plants and What They Need to Grow
Thank you for visiting. You can see more on Ginny’s Blog at http://protonpriest.com/