So it’s the winter season, and my kids and I have been thinking about purchasing some new indoor plants to spruce up the house. Of course instead of having another typical plant shopping trip, I begin thinking about how to make this experience adventurous and educational! This is when I remembered a past article, by Charlie Nardozzi, about a study conducted between NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA).
Children's gardens offer a wonderful avenue for encouraging children to interact with horticulture.Children’s gardens are becoming a popular attraction at botanical gardens and arboretums in Asia. These gardens are destinations designed to provide children and families a safe, outdoor environment that is educational and entertaining. This article features six botanical gardens and arboretums in Asia, highlighting key features that were identified as important to the children’s garden setting.
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.
You probably use primary documents, historical documentaries, and museum field trips to help bring history to life for your students. How about adding the hands-on element of a school garden to your toolbox? After all, plants have always been integral in sustaining force of life on this planet. Early hunter-gatherers relied on the bounty of nature, and more complex civilizations have emerged thanks in part to the development of agriculture.
Once your students have practiced the basics of turning trash into artistic treasures, have them share questions they have about the process and ideas they'd like to test out. To prompt their thinking, throw out question stems such as: What if . . .? or How can we. . .? Next, have them discuss or write down how they could test their questions. If the ideas are feasible, let the inquiries begin.
As students plan, plant, and otherwise engage with schoolyard gardens and habitats, they can use journals for different purposes: to document actions, describe changes over time, capture and reflect on details of observations, record experimental data, ponder intriguing questions, and creatively express thoughts and emotions. And that's just for starters.
A study of Colonial times inspired Patti Shumate's K-1 class in Asheville, NC, to ponder how people created their own clothing, with no shopping malls in sight. "We read books, such as Charlie's Cloak by Tomie De Paola, that got us thinking about weaving and dyeing," explains Patti. "Next, we considered what resources were available to early settlers."Weaving
Fran Ludwig, Science Consultant from Lexington, MA, reports that the plant dyeing students tried during a study of colonial crafts sparked lots of questions worthy of classroom investigation: What happens if we leave it in the dye bath longer? Will dyes work differently in different types of fabrics? What flowers might make good dyes? Will different parts of the same plant produce different colors? Can we dye other materials like wood, shells, etc.?