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National Standards

Life Science

As a result of activities in grades K-4, all students should develop understanding of

1. The characteristics of organisms
2. Life cycles of organisms
3. Organisms and environments

As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of

1. Structure and function in living systems
2. Reproduction and heredity
3. Regulation and behavior
4. Populations and ecosystems
5. Diversity and adaptations of organisms

As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of

1. The cell
2. Molecular basis of heredity
3. Biological evolution
4. Interdependence of organisms
5. Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
6. Behavior of organisms

Mathematics

Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement

Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements


Where to Buy Seeds

Burpee

Ferry-Morse

Gurney's Seed and Nursery Company

HenryField's Seed and Nursery Company

Park Seed

Seeds of Change

Stokes Seeds

When is the perfect time to plan a schoolyard garden or habitat? As e.e. cummings wrote, "in Just—spring when the world is mud-luscious." Imagine watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower or listening to the melodic coo of a morning dove as ornamental grasses sway in the gentle breeze. Each day your students keep a journal of the natural world. The classroom is buzzing with shared experiences. Your schoolyard habitat becomes the focal point.

Constructing a garden is a wonderful project that can involve the entire school and community. Beautifying the school grounds fosters pride, teaches students about the environment, and creates a lasting legacy. Many schools already participate in garden or habitat projects sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation and the National Gardening Association. State and local wildlife organizations also provide programs for schools along with resources. Where do you begin? How does a garden project fit into your daily classroom instruction? Who will provide funding? CyberBee has been scouting the Web for ideas that can sow the seeds for growing, inquiring minds.

Garden Beginnings

Backyard Wildlife Habitat—National Wildlife Federation

At first you may think a garden project will be an overwhelming task. However, it is not difficult with careful planning and help from the National Wildlife Federation. Simply follow their step-by-step process. Create your habitat team, inventory, survey, and map the site, set goals, provide four basic elements, acquire resources through community outreach, fundraise, and incorporate the habitat in cross-curricular learning. When your project is complete, register to be a certified Schoolyard Habitat.

Kids Gardening—National Gardening Association

As the chill of winter fades, kindle an interest in gardening concepts with your students by starting seeds indoors. The National Gardening Association supports the Garden in Every School Registry. This program was launched in 1999 to document and highlight schoolyard habitats that enrich learning. Their Web site has an array of tips, activities, and resources specifically targeted to teachers and students. In addition, there is a kid's gardening store where grow labs, tools, books, and other paraphernalia can purchased.

Kid's Valley Garden

This kid-friendly site was developed for the Pakenham Junior Horticultural Society, Canada. Students will find guides for planning and planting a garden along with tips for keeping plants healthy and showing them in competitions. How to grow a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and shrubs rounds out the information.

Garden Poetry, Quotes, and Songs

Music and language arts can be integrated into your lesson by using poetry and songs. Have students write their own poetry and illustrate their works.

Can Teach

CanTeach is a non-commercial site created to assist teachers in finding and using resources online. Songs and poems for the elementary grades are categorized and easy to locate. An entire page is devoted to seeds, plants, flowers, and gardens.

KidzSing: The Garden Song by David Mallett

Tap your feet and sing to the karaoke music.

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground.

Lessons

Kidz Korner Presents Spring Observations

Here is a quick lesson that can be combined with science. Have your students draw a circle in the schoolyard. Then, have them keep a diary of what they see happening from day to day. Compare the observations. Visit the Web site for more details.

My First Garden

The University of Illinois Extension service presents this well-designed project that connects gardening to science, social studies and mathematics. Through various activities students will learn to collect and organize data, measure using non-standard units, and plan and problem solve using estimation.

Funding Sources

National Gardening Association

Awards 400 Youth Garden Grants to schools and other community organizations. Each grant consists of an assortment of quality tools, seeds, and garden products donated by companies in the lawn and garden industry.

Wild Ones: The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund awards small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, or other educational organizations whose projects reflect creating natural landscapes using native plants.

Originally Published Mar/Apr 2001

Updated March 14, 2015
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