By Kirsten Saylor
Third grade garden camp kicked off last month at Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul. During camp, students learn students learn about planting seeds, how to read a seed packet, care for seedlings, watch growth, and harvest by May 15! If you haven’t already, you can read about Session One here: Third Grade Garden Camp Begins.
Session Two: Bed Prep
It couldn't have been a nicer day for the second session of Garden Camp. This was our first time working outdoors. It was Bed Prep day — students translated the data they collected from seed packets to figure out where and what they were going to plant. As expected, most students put their hands into the dirt and relished the experience of being outdoors and working in the soil.
We reviewed what plants need to thrive, using our bodies to help us remember — enforcing the links between the life under the soil (bugs and roots), the life above soil (plants), and ourselves. Finally, students wrote crop names on each paint stick and marked the rows for later seed planting.
|Garden bed prep in progress at Bruce Vento.|
Teachers were excited by what they saw. Students were all engaged. Small teams were key to the success. Though some students didn't want to get their nails dirty, by the end of the day, they all did! Before returning to the building, they learned how to "dry clean" their hands — rubbing them back and forth to get rid of all the loose dirt. As students waited to go inside, they each turned to the person next to them and shared something they learned and what made them curious.
Session Three: Planting
The third week was the big day for the third graders at Bruce Vento. They planted their seeds that thrive in early spring: varieties of lettuce, radish, and peas.
The chilly weather made for some changes in plans — instead of working outdoors, students worked indoors in small groups with their "Garden Camp Counselors" to practice planting depth and spacing in their "tub gardens," and to study how seeds differ.
|Learning in action!|
One resounding theme was the way students flourished when given responsibilities. Students were also more eager to be outdoors when it was chilly. We thought they might complain, but there wasn’t one complaint.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Learners is an ongoing partnership between the Extension Children, Youth, and Family Consortium and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Together, along with many other partners, we are developing engaging learning environments that promote student learning and wellness.