First graders have been busy in the garden lately. In September they took time to taste test tomatoes they picked from their garden plot. Using their five senses they wrote and drew about the fresh tomatoes. While in the garden, they also decorated it for Halloween and harvested the gourds.
Seventh 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. They 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. Once the markers are complete they will hang on our campus trees forever. Keep an eye out in The Outdoor Learning Center for their awesome work!
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.
Teachers 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.
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.