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1st through 4th Grade Activities - Fall 2011

We have had an exciting fall with the younger students. First grade is focused on observing changes in their garden beds over time. A Plant for Each Season guides them to plant a row of four crops, in the fall, in December and again in the spring. They watch as their squash, radish, collards and peas grow, and learn how some plants do better in cold weather, and others just won’t have anything to do with winter! We have also kept busy with scavenger hunts and exercises with reading the thermometers and rain gages!
Second grade’s garden beds are full of spinach and broccoli, which are both doing quite well under their row covers. There are some strawberries also over wintering, that the kids are eagerly awaiting. They have practiced their observation skills with sketches of trees, as they find shapes and patterns in the branches. Another day, students classified the snacks according to root, stem, leaf or fruit, and had fun trying some new tastes, including the spicy radishes grown by first grade!

In particular, one third grade lesson had the students design an experiment to do a taste test with fresh, garden grown spinach, both raw and steamed, as well as canned and frozen spinach. To the delight of many kids, they actually learned how much they do love spinach, and were able to bring home to their parents the report of the kind of spinach they liked the best! Third grade also did a race with a short piece of clear tubing which represented the colon. They had teams of junk foods and others with fiber rich foods and saw which traveled through the “intestines” with greater ease.Fourth grade has been busy becoming botanists! Learning how roots provide nutrients and anchor the plants, first hand dissections and journal exercises keep them on their toes. Stems, and leaves have also been the focus for their fall lessons. We even enjoyed an informal “play” where the chemical reaction of photosynthesis got acted out by all the oxygen, carbon and hydrogen atoms. Fourth grade’s tomatoes definitely hit their demise with the frost; however, they have a thriving bed of carrots which we are curious how they will manage this winter.