It’s been a busy month! All the grades at the Elementary School are now learning and growing at the School Farm. The students are helping to grow food for the Chartwells school lunches, and for the Good Cheer Food Bank, WIN, and the children themselves to eat while at the Farm.
First Graders learned about the components of soil, going to different parts of the garden where some soil was sandier, and other soil had more organic matter in it. They lined the soil samples up according to their color.
They then began to learn about plants and plant structures by examining seeds, and planting them in 4″ pots to see how they grow. They also taped seeds into their garden journals and labeled them. The students are now able to identify lettuce, kale, spinach and pea seeds. These lessons were inspired by Foss Kit lessons which plant grass. So we planted veggies! The little veggies are being grown in new lightboxes in the Elementary School. Thank you to the South Whidbey Garden Club for their funding which helped purchase the lighting equipment.
The next week the students drew their new little starts, becoming familiar with the different leaves, shapes and colors. Then we tasted them all!
Mulching, checking out the bug house and pumpkin pile, and eating kale conclude the classes.
The month ended with a potato lesson with different varieties of potatoes that were slightly sprouting. The children grew the eyes and the sprouts, and the different colors and shapes of the potatoes. They they labeled bamboo skewers that were stuck into the potatoes, which were then buried in the ground to trap wireworms. A way to learn about potatoes, and also get wireworms for the bug classes that begin after Spring Break (and reduce the population of these pesky larvae of the click beetle).
Teachers: Debra Davies-Vogel, Jillian Cain, Sharla Matthews. Lesson plans HERE.
Second Graders are going into more depth on plant structure, with a detailed examination of pea structure. They explored soil and the effects of cover crops and compost on soil composition, by going to different places on the farm and comparing the different soil types. We are also studying weather and temperature, measuring air and soil temperatures in the hoophouse and outside. Soil preparation continues on the 35 ft. beds they will be planting. Teachers: Katherine Mack, Betsy Hofius, Laura Anthony, Valerie Twomey. Lesson plans HERE.
Third Graders are combining expository writing and detailed drawing with growing different varieties of kale, lettuce, spinach and peas. Their plants are growing in lightboxes just outside their classrooms. Teachers: Carolyn Ploof, Susan Ritzner, Susan Sage. Lesson plans HERE.
Fourth grade classes are learning mapping and trellis design. First they learned how to orient to the directions north, east, south and west. The classes then walked the perimeter of the garden and mapped corners and gates. Inside the students mapped the different areas and their beds, as well as the veggie tunnel, hoophouse, compost bins, and future pizza garden, taco garden and bean teepee. They prepped beds and planted peas that they will design trellises for. Lesson plans HERE.
Fifth grade students have been going full on with science experiments with different variables of plant growth: light, nutrition, water and temperature. They’ve been using peas and phacelia as two very different kinds of plants with different growth patterns. Some definite results were observed as the students take metric measurements on a regular basis. Teachers: John LaVassar, Jackie Geltsen. This lesson had some learning curves and we are developing an improved one.