Exploring Math in the Garden

Hands-on Learning Measures Up

Are you searching for ways to bring your math lessons to life? Are you trying to inspire students who have trouble visualizing textbook examples? Do you need interactive models to demonstrate basic mathematic principles? Then try teaching your math class in the garden!

Curriculum Connections

Looking for ideas to get your students' feet wet before they fashion their own bountiful containers? Here are a few ideas to whet their appetites:

Curriculum Connections

Developing Young Scientists

Like real scientists, your students must learn keen observation to take in information and record details of what they see. After all, it's only after someone has really seen something that he or she can make sense of it. Photography can be a great learning and assessment tool for capturing observations, documenting experiments, and revealing student understanding. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

Making Weather-Tracking Tools

Measuring Changes, Sleuthing Seasons, Testing Lore

Weather: sometimes we don't like it, but we certainly can't live without it. The general climate and more immediate weather affect how we live and what we eat. But that's not the half of it. These factors also influence the livelihoods of all the players, plant and animal, in the web of life.

Growing UP (and around, and down...)

Exploring Plant Growth with Garden Structures

One characteristic that distinguishes plants from animals is mobility. But just because plants don't walk, fly, or swim doesn't mean they don't move! Keen garden observers see that, in addition to stretching their stems and leaves upward and outward, sunflowers turn to face the sun, pea tendrils curl around stakes to keep vines erect, and morning glory stems wrap themselves snake-like around the uprights of a trellis.

Learning with Leaves


This pre-K activity guides you in using leaves as a tool for practicing basic math skills and introducing some plant science concepts.


To use leaves as a tool for practicing basic math skills.

Reading, Writing, and Roses

Right Side Box: 

Did You Know?

*The oldest North American rose fossil yet found comes from Colorado and dates to 35 million years ago!

* People started cultivating of roses about 5,000 years ago in China.

* Roses were found in Egyptian tombs as a sign of remembrance — and for their fragrance.

*Romans scattered rose petals with great extravagance on the floors of royalty and used them as confetti at celebrations.

*At times the perceived value of roses allowed people to use them to barter for other good and to make payments in lieu of currency.

* Some believe Christopher Columbus discovered the West Indies because of a rose! On October 11, 1492, while stuck motionless in the Sargasso Sea, one of the crewmen picked a rose branch from the water. This sign of land renewed their hope for survival and gave them the courage to press on with their journey.

Here are some suggestions and references for using roses to launch explorations across all discplines.

Language Arts

Study and write poetry about roses.

References to roses are abundant in poetry. Use one or more of the following poems to launch the exercises in Growing Poems.

Design a Rose Garden


Although many rose gardens contain just roses, you can create a more attractive and successful display by combining them with perennials and annuals. This lesson takes you and your class through the process of designing a garden for roses and their green companions.


reference materials (including gardening books, Internet), graph paper, and pencils

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Copyright © 1999-2014 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 09/17/2014
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