Lessons and Activities for teachers, parents, and garden enthusiasts!
A school garden can meet many purposes. It can offer job and life skills, like cooperation and critical thinking. It can offer lessons in math, writing, social studies, and science. It can influence healthy eating habits and exercise. It can relax the mind and calm the emotions. It can provide a purpose and connection to life. It can be a means for artistic expression and creativity. The list goes on and on.
At the Langley Middle School Garden, we can meet state and federal curriculum standards through garden-based lessons. Here are a few of the lesson we provided this year. They are formatted so they may be replicated by anyone.
Cover Crops– Plant cover crops to understand how to prevent erosion from winter wind and rain.
Garlic Planting– Understand the life cycle and anatomy of an interesting crop- garlic- a long-season plant that will be mature next year!
Rain Gauges– Design and build a rain gauge to study the precipitation in our schoolyard, and start to understand how local climate affects your garden.
Seed Balls– planting a garden is as easy as tossing a ball! Make you own “seed ball” in this hands-on garden craft used worldwide to vegetate the land.
Soil– What makes soil different from dirt? Explore the components of soil, and learn what is needed to bring it to life!
Waste– In order to reduce waste in our lives, we need to envision a world without any waste! How can we do this? Read on!
Weeds– What makes a weed a weed? And what can we learn from the weeds in our garden?
Worms– Discover the worms that live in a compost pile, and learn about their interesting anatomy and physiology.
Here are a few resources for garden-based curriculum.
Beyond the Bean Seed: Gardening Activities for Grades K-6
(Nancy Allen Jurenka, Rosanne J. Blass)
Exploring Environmental Issues: Municipal Solid Waste (Project Learning Tree)
Food Choices: Student Edition and Teacher Resource Guide (E2: Envoronmental and Education)
French Fries and the Food System: A Year-Round Curriculum Connecting Youth With Food and Farming (Sarah Coblyn at The Food Project)
From A to Z in Sustainable Agriculture: A Curriculum Directory for Grades K-12 (The Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Division of griculture, Natural Resourcdes and Extension, University of Vernmont and State Agricultural College)
Gardening Wizardry for Kids: Green Thumb MAgic for the Great Outdoors (l. Patricia Kite)
GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds (National Gardening Association)
Growing Ventures: Starting a School Garden Business (National Gardening Association)
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils: A hands-on resource for educators (Elizabeth PAtten and Kathy Lyons)
Let’s Grow!: 72 Gardening Adventures for Children (Linda Tilgner)
Looking at Plants (David Suzuki)
Math in the Garden: Hands-on Activities that bring math to life (National Gardening Association)
Project Seasons: Hands-on activities for discovering the wonders of the world (Deborah Parrella, Shelburne Farms)
The Growing Classroom: Garden-based science (Roberta JAffe, Gary Appel)
The Worm Cafe: Mid-Scale Vermicomposting of Lunchroom Wastes (Binet Payen)
Worms Eat My Garbage: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment (Mary Appelhof, Mary Frances Fenton, Barbara Loss Harris)
Eat. Think. Grow.
Comprehensive, easy-to-use K-5 curriculum arranged by grades and seasons.
The Nourish Middle School Curriculum Guide
Comprehensive curriculum and activity guide focusing on food and sustainability.
Leopold Denter for Sustainable Agriculture
A collection of lessons and projects for all ages (although focused on Iowa, the ideas can be adapted).
National Gardening Association
Resources on integrating gardening into elementary classrooms
Earth Day Network: Green Schools Leadership Center
Excellent lesson plans on all topics and subjects, for all ages
The Edible Schoolyard
An excellent example of a school garden program fully integrated into their middle school curriculum
Cornell Waste Management Institute. Composting: Waste to Resource
Additional resources for your school garden!
GrowVeg– a vegetable garden planner, perfect for school use.