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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sunflowers, Pineapple and Lettuce!

Wednesday is always the day where we see the fruits of our labor. Not just in the garden, but with the students. We, as the independent study group, spend Friday and Monday of the previous week devising lesson plans for the 3rd grade EBD class and the 5th grade classes. We develop these lessons to parallel the learning that is taking place in the classroom.

We arrived a little before 11am today to await the arrival of the 3rd grade class. They eagerly approached us, begging us to try one more taste of the lettuce, the same lettuce they tried and disliked just one week before. Taste buds do change and we learned today just how fast, when the students all exclaimed how much they loved the lettuce!! That was our first glimpse at the fruits of our labor slowly ripening.

The lesson today was focused on characterizing plants. We developed a worksheet that encouraged the students to observe three plants that are now in the garden (lettuce, pineapple, and sunflowers) and answer some questions about them. Most of the class went through the assignment with ease answering questions about what part of the plants do we eat, does it flower, does it have a fruit, etc. There was one question though that seemed to create a perplexed look on each of the students face. How do pineapple reproduce? When asked this question about the other plants, they were able to provide an immediate and correct answer, but the pineapple just stumped them. Honestly, this was not something that I knew prior to working at the Edible Peace Patch Garden. This garden not only cultivates food, but it cultivates and instills knowledge in every person that walks through it. After some brainstorming (with a very low attention span) we were able as a group to describe how pineapples are planted and how they reproduce. It was time for them to leave, but as they got in line we had them each tell us a characteristic of a plant. As they left they said how they couldn’t wait to come back out next week!

We had fifteen minutes before the next class was to arrive so we neatened up some of the garden beds and found Sophia’s sunglasses! We looked at the time and realized the 5th grade class was late. We waited around for a little while then went to look for them and no one was to be found. So unfortunately today, the 5th grade class didn’t get to label the parts of the plants in the garden, but luckily if the weather doesn’t get too cold again the plants will still be there to label next week!

In teaching about the characteristics of the plants, I became more aware of some of the characteristics of this garden. Not only does this garden foster experiential learning and growth of tangible produce, but it fosters the growth of us and the students.

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