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How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Keywords: journals, life cycle, art, community, science, technology, teamwork, growth, garden, plants
Subject(s): Photography, Biology, Life Science, Technology, Art, English/Language Arts, Science, Journalism
Grades K through 4
School: Pleasant Valley Elementary Sch, Kunkletown, PA
Planned By: Patrick Smith
Original Author: Patrick Smith, Kunkletown
The school garden club will document every move that is made to create a beautiful lush garden to be enjoyed by the student body, faculty and community. Helping to keep the earth green will certainly play a major part of the lesson. Include activities about composting and begin a compost pile in your own lunchroom-at least have a bucket ready to help deliver the goods to your pile!

1.Prepare the students for this project by demonstrating the life cycle of a plant through using photos, diagrams and an actual plant (having several in different stages of maturity will benefit -seed to full bloom)Marigolds are the perfect plant for your example. Begin keeping a journal- write down highlights, comical comments, "good stories" and accomplishments. This journal will play a major part later in the project.

2.Prepare the students for using school technology. Using the camera lab have the students take a "photo hike" in or outdoors.Compile their photos into a slide show and pesent to them- point out good examples of texture, shadowing and interesting angles. Don't forget your journal!

3. Having your garden spot picked out- the students will begin the process of preparing the land- this is the dirty part that will weed out the "true garden enthusiasts". Photos should be taken during this process- have an adult use the equipment for two reasons 1)dirt will destroy technology 2)you want to capture the children. Journal calling!

4. The planting- using budgeted money, donations from local greenhouses and families- begin to plant. If planting by seeds in early season snap photos of every step of planting from seed packet to peat pot! Don't forget your journal entry! Larger plants and weather permitting allows outdoor time and a sense of finally seeing a garden evolve! Hello Journal!

5.Maintenance-once the garden is planted, the seeds have sprouted, the journal is fat! The photos boundless- you need to maintain this work of art- school is coming to an end and here is where your community will play a vital role in keeping this alive. Create a summer maintenance signup for students and their families to come over, water and weed the garden- have a camera handy for the family that wil be working that day. Entice the community with a picnic option and of course a chance for the children to play on the playground while mom, dad or grandma pull weeds! Be sure to provide journaling materials!

6.Now what? You should have a ton of photos, journals and memories. this is when you beging to piece your program together. Having the photos sequenced to show the amazing growth and progess makes a great power point, adding those funny stories and "one of a kind kid comments" will bring this power point to a higher level. The many opportunities through the use of technology, hard labor, creative minds and team work will shine in your final presentation that showcases "How Does Your Garden Grow". The benefits will outweigh anything you have done in the past- friendships form, bonding in unlikely places, problem solving, critical thinking, sparking interests, laughter and "good old therapy" will surely make everyone involved feel a sense of accomplishment! It did for our school.
The community will love the idea of a school garden- patronize local businesses in exchange for free advertisement! YOu will be surprised by the humanity.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Art- the art teacher can help this leeson by having the chilrden recreate their photos with different types of mediums- this artwork can be displayed longside the original photo- great for open house, PTO, evening program displays
Plan an open house for the garden- have a naming ceremony, invite donors, local newspapers/tv stations, community and of course the children! Tours and refreshments will be on hand! (thank you PTO!)
Materials: Timeline, Slideshow, Web Page, Science, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Digital SLR, Mobile Labs
Associated File: 3432.kid