Gardening is all about nurturing, creating a healthy environment, and helping things grow. This makes gardening a wonderful choice for classroom and children of all ages—by learning about plants, they can connect with the world around them in a healthy, lifelong way. As school is back in session in many places, we thought we’d do our part to spread the joys of gardening and healthy learning by offering some suggestions for garden projects for classrooms. We’ve tried to include a variety of projects that will support a variety of ages, needs, circumstances—including links to some helpful resources—so let’s dig in!
- Learning the parts of plants and flowersis an easy activity that really does enrich the student’s understanding of what plants are and the role they fill. A real strength of this lesson is that it’s scalable; little ones can learn to identify stems, roots, flowers, and leaves, while older students can learn about the structure of flowers and the processes plants use to grow. With a little creativity—mix and match games or trivia contests, for example—you can make this a fun life-lesson at any age.
- Just as learning about plants can be greatly enriching for students, so can learning about the different types of soil. This is a great way to introduce a new aspect of geology and natural science, and as with teaching the different parts of plants the lesson can be scaled and adapted to any age group. Younger students can just learn about the basic types of soil, while more advanced students can delve into the processes that create soil and the geology and chemistry behind them.
- Speaking of soil science, teaching students about decompositionand the carbon cycle/water cycle is a powerful way to bridge the small-scale science of watching a plant grow with the broader natural processes that sustain life on a global scale. While there’s more science involved here, introducing the basic ideas of how life sustains itself, where rain comes from, and how it all fits together can work for any age group.
- It may seem obvious, but learning about how seeds growis a great lesson at any age. You can delve as deeply into the science as your students can handle; little ones can learn how to plant a seed, water it, and watch it grow, while older students can do more detailed studies identifying the features of growing seeds and plants and the different stages of maturity. The equipment can be as simple as some carrot seeds, a seed starting tray, and some soil, or as complex as microscopes, pH strips, and other testing tools. As seeds need time to grow, this can be a great month-long project in any classroom!
- Gardening is about more than plants, so via gardening lessons in the classroom your students can learn more about beesand other pollinators and all the things they do for nature and for humanity. Bees are a fun introduction to this world, and there’s a wide variety of free materials available for teaching about them. This in turn is a gateway to discussions about where food comes from and how that all connects to the water and carbon cycles we’ve touched on previously. It’s a rich, accessible lesson at any age!
We hope you can use these ideas, and more importantly we hope that the thoughts we’ve presented here spark your own creativity and your own lesson plans! Let us know what you come up with and how you’re using gardening in the classroom! Gardzen is all about community and we love to hear from you!