Science

Plant a Thankful Gardener

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Download this month's lesson plans:

Pressed Flower Thank-you Notes

Tree ID

Thanking volunteers and sponsors is an important activity for all youth garden programs. Although appreciation for contributions should be shown year round, Thanksgiving, a holiday rooted in the celebration of harvest, is a great time to present your loyal supporters with a special gift to acknowledge their generous donations of time, talents and funds.

School Gardens = Natural Playgrounds

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Teachers at the K-State Center for Child Development use the produce from the garden to prepare simple dishes with their students. Here’s a recipe for Caprese Salad that is easy to make in a classroom.

Ingredients:

  • Thick slices of a Ripe Tomato (enough for each child to have at least one)
  • An equal number of slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Twice as many leaves of fresh basil
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Make sure everyone washes their hands and the work surface prior to touching the food.

Starting at the edge of a serving platter, place a slice of tomato, a basil leaf, a slice of mozzarella and another basil leaf. Continue in that pattern, forming a spiral from the outside in, until all the ingredients have been arranged. The salad should end in the center of the platter. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper and salt.

Upon arriving at the Center for Child Development (CCD) on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, visitors quickly recognize the uniqueness of the facility.

Holding Onto the Garden — Environmental Sustainability

Tips for increasing the environmental sustainability of your site's garden.

“We make decisions in the garden based on what is good for the earth, not solely what is good for our short-term needs.” (Hurricane High School, Hurricane, WV)

Promoting Environmental Stewardship through Rain Gardens

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How to Design a Rain Garden

This detailed account provides step-by-step instructions for designing, installing, and maintaining a rain garden. Additional content provided to use this as a high school activity. Download How to Design a Rain Garden (PDF) »

Instructions for how to install a rain garden and use it to promote environmental stewardship.

Rain Garden at Coolidge High School, Washington DCSchool gardens have a long and successful history with a variety of purposes.  Ninety six percent of the 2010-2011 National Gardening Assoc

Outdoor Living in the School Garden

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Learning in the Outdoors

Here are two lessons created by our staff at NGA to get your students learning in the garden.

Image taken from: Adirondack ArtImage taken from: Adirondack ArtA footprint map is a visual of animal footprints used to identify animals. Guides showing local animal tracks are a great way to help your students identify garden visitors. Tiny identification guides can be downloaded online and tucked into garden journals. Posters are also available for display in the classroom. Do a search of animal footprint maps to locate a guide for your area.

Visitors to the NGA headquarters at Vermont Garden Park sitting comfortably outdoorsMany times, as gardeners, we think of the garden as “ours”. The garden exists to fulfill our purposes whether to provide food for our family, education for our students, or a beautiful setting for family and friends to enjoy.

Exploring Water — Four Lessons to Teach about the Importance of Water

This curriculum unit, developed by the education staff at the National Gardening Association addresses the core specific elements of the water cycle for K-12 students. There are four grade specific lesson plans, but the lessons can easily be adapted to meet the needs of any age classroom. Content in the lessons covers different aspects of the water cycle and applying the principles to activities and inquiry that can be discussed in and out of the school garden.

Composting with KidsGardening.org

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Get Your Students Hooked on Composting!

Here's a high school activity to help relate the benefits of composting to your students: Inquiring about Compost

If you like that activity, be sure to check out our new Compost Activity Kit which features standards-based lessons for the Kindergarten through eighth grade crowd.

Student gardener at Atwood Elementary contributing to the compost pile.Compost. It’s all around us. Whether we assist in the process or not, composting is taking place. If we choose not to use it, we are missing a valuable opportunity.

One Stop for Your Garden-Based Education: A Garden in Every (Home)School

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Keep your Students Learning over the Winter Break!

Here are some fun activities you can send home with your students over the winter break to keep them engaged. You may even consider encouraging your students to get their parent's involved and complete these activities by offering extra credit when they return from winter break.

K-5th grade activity: How to Create a Moss Garden »

5th-12th grade activity: Serving Nutrition at Home »

Successful school gardening with kids in any situation requires a set of great resources. Having resources that enable you to seamlessly use the garden to enhance the core curricular areas makes your job, as the teacher, that much easier.

Books in Bloom-Our New Garden Feature

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Meet the Creators of Books in Bloom

Books in Bloom authors Mark Lubkowitz and Valerie Bang-Jensen (photo taken by dariabishop.com)Books in Bloom authors Mark Lubkowitz and Valerie Bang-Jensen (photo taken by dariabishop.com)Dr. Mark Lubkowitz earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from The University of Tennessee and followed up with a post-doctoral fellowship in plant development genetics at The University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Valerie Bang-Jensen earned her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University studying children’s literature, reading, curriculum and teaching.

Mark is now an associate professor of biology, while Valerie serves as an associate professor of education. These two educators are currently working at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont where they have joined forces and expertise to bring an interdisciplinary garden to life.

Download 3rd-5th grade lesson integrating reading, writing, and gardening (PDF) »

Download 7th-12th grade lesson on the value of gardening and cause and effect relationships (PDF) »

The Teaching Gardens at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont and home to the inspiration for Books in Bloom

Books in Bloom is now a curriculum, get updates and free lesson plans here!

 

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