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5th through 8th Grade Activities - Fall 2011

Hands on learning is definitely being embraced by the older students, who have helped to work hard moving compost, shoveling clam shells, and watering garden beds. We have a small crew of girls who have really taken a liking to being the salad washing team, and they are learning the basics of gently but thoroughly rinsing all the greens in our work sink.

Fifth grade has kept busy with some various math in the garden lessons. Area and perimeter of leaves was fun, as they sorted through the foliage, determining the area and perimeter of their leaves and then comparing results with the class. Students most recently gathered contrasting objects in the garden and had to guess what quality each team was describing. Students are in process of writing poems about their contrasted qualities and the many unique objects they found. Green and red chard, along with some
beets are thriving in the fifth grade beds.
Starting off with an experiment, sixth grade planted a series of flats with radish seeds, and observed how the variable growing conditions affected the production. They learned how direct sun, shade, reflection and indoors affects the size and growth of the root bulbs and leaves. Sixth grade also enjoyed an Unnature Trail, where their skills of observation helped them find out of place, unnatural objects hidden in the garden. While studying leaf attributes, teams sorted and categorized the various qualities of the leaves. Each made a display of their findings and presented it to the group. Sixth grade’s beds are filled with delicious kale, beets and arugula that are doing great under the frost cover.
Seventh grade is growing a bed of lettuce which has gotten a little frost bitten and bitter. But luckily the beds of lettuce in the greenhouse are more than making up for it! They have not been shy when asked to work moving compost and clamshells, and seem to do best when we harvest THEIR extra energy in the garden. In one lesson, students worked in stations set up in the garden to calculate the density of various natural substances. They worked to identify three samples of unknown woods by measuring volume and mass, and they used their knowledge to calculate glass, cork, steel and river rocks’ density.

Eighth grade is working to understand soil quality and how planting cover crops affect the soil. Getting their fingers dirty, they are working to test the soil, and observe the two cover crops of alfalfa and field peas that are working to add nitrogen to our soils. Eighth grade also has some arugula that is surviving the cold, while the bush beans and limas that were in the beds have long since succumbed to the frost.