7th Grade E-STEAM Project — Tree Identification As Part of Citizen Science Project With North Carolina Arboretum

20150918_110601Seventh grade students at TLC! monitor trees on campus as part of a Citizen Science program with the North Carolina Arboretum. In September, students worked with Ms. Chris and and Ms. Julie to create identification markers for their particular trees.  20150918_110622They used clay to create the markers and came up with their own unique designs, including the tree’s common name, scientific name, and type of leaf. Students also had to use their engineering skills to figure out how to affix the marker to the tree.  20150918_114210Once the markers are complete they will hang on our campus trees forever.  20150918_114257Keep an eye out in The Outdoor Learning Center for their awesome work! 20150918_114404

How Students Learn in the Garden


School gardens are an exciting way to make class curriculum come to life and demonstrate “real-life” meaning to students as they learn. A garden provides an opportunity for students to participate in hands-on learning that teaches not only the intended subject but also responsibility, teamwork, and respect for nature, others, and themselves. Whether growing vegetables, fruits, or a variety of herbs, our edible gardens are a valuable tool that we use to promote healthier eating habits, appreciate locally grown food sources, teach environmental stewardship, encourage community and social development, and even instill a sense of place.

1st Grade Science – In the Garden & Greenhouse

IMAG6209Teachers take every opportunity to get students at The Learning Center into the garden. Ms. Emily took her first grade science students out to the greenhouse for some instruction from Tom Wiley about cool weather crops. Students learned that September is a good time to plant lettuce and spinach seeds. They learned that lettuce seeds need light to germinate so sprinkling them on the surface of the dirt assures ample light. However, spinach seeds need to be covered with a light layer of dirt in order to properly germinate.

IMAG6210In addition, students also spent time weeding their garden and walkways and learned how to pull weeds from the bottom to assure they get the roots and the weed doesn’t grow back. IMAG6211

4th Grade Science – Nutrition

IMG_1649Ms. Emily has had her fourth grade science students getting dirty! They began their unit lesson on nutrition by learning about large farm versus small farm production while harvesting potatoes that students planted last spring. IMG_1650

8th Grade Science – Ecology


Students have wasted no time getting their hands dirty in the garden and learning about symbiotic relationships in ecology as part of their eighth grade science studies. Here they are learning that legumes have a mutualistic relationship with bacteria.  Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other.

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