by Megan McDonald, pre-service teacher
School Garden Day is fast approaching! Only 1 more week! Unfortunately, that also means report card season is coming up, and now is the time to squeeze in those last bits of curriculum you still need to cover. It can definitely be a challenge finding room for everything in the curriculum and a school garden often feels like an extra, that you visit if you have time. However, there are plenty of ways to integrate the school garden across the curriculum! While planting is the most obvious way to participate in school garden day (and it fits quite nicely into the Understanding Life Systems strand of the science curriculum!), it certainly isn’t the only way.
Here are some other potential ideas:
- Write a descriptive paragraph about something in the garden
- Write a persuasive writing piece about why students should spend more time outside/why we should have a school garden
- Write a procedural writing piece about how to care for a garden
- Write a newspaper article about your school garden (or about school garden day?)
- Have your silent reading period in the garden
- Have your literature circle meetings in the garden
- Read a story about gardens/composting/animals in the garden
- Count the plants within your garden and create fractions, decimals, ratios based on the data collected
- Create graphs based on the plants found in your garden
- Conduct a survey among your class about the contents of your garden (Ex. What is your favourite plant in our garden? Do you like kale? etc.)
- Measure the heights of different plants. Visit again next week and see how much they have grown!
- Measure the beds in your garden and calculate the area/perimeter (and capacity if a raised bed!)
- Calculate the capacity of various planters and determine how much soil you will need to fill them. How much will this cost?
- Draw the garden (to scale) on grid paper
- Find different angles, 2D and 3D shapes in the garden
- Challenge students to create math problems for the strand you are working on based on the garden! Maybe some of these can show up on their next assessment!
- Create a soundscape in the garden
- Do a drum circle in the garden
- Sketch your favourite part of the garden
- Create a sculpture using items found in the garden
- Do improv in the garden (dramatic or musical!)
- Photography in the garden
- Create a site-specific dance that can only be performed in the garden
- Create a dance or series of tableaux that show the passing of the seasons in the garden/life cycle of plants
These are just some of my ideas (without even touching on the more grade-specific curricula of science and social studies). Please feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!