Garden Education Doesn’t Take a Winter Break!

By: Willa Pohlman, Garden Educator at City Blossoms …..

Willa Blog Pic

Winter is upon us, but we’ve been keeping busy exploring edible plant parts, discovering firsthand what a plant needs to grow, conducting compost experiments, and investigating insects. In pre-k, students have been learning about plant parts and which roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds people eat. They created some edible masterpieces out of all six plant parts and after admiring their art, everyone got to eat. In Studio 4 science, students planted paper white bulbs, watered them, watched as they sprouted leaves near a sunny window and eventually bloomed. Students observed the plants as they grew watching as the roots, leaves, stem and flower developed. They created a mural illustrating what plants need and used it to record the growth of their bulbs. They’ve created soil with different insects and worms that create healthy soil. The sky features a rain cloud as the water source as well as some much needed sunshine. In the coming weeks they will be adding bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators.

Studio 7 Science has been experimenting with compost bags to test out newfound knowledge on the scientific method. They decided to see which of their two favorite fruits would turn into soil first. After creating a bag of soil, leaves, water, fruit, and air, they’ve been checking on their compost every week for some hands-on experience on every step of the scientific method. They’re still forming their final conclusions, but it looks like it’s going to be a close race to soil.

Fifth grade science classes have focused on insect habitats and adaptations.  After observing insect habitats in the garden earlier in the fall, they moved inside and mapped out where specific pollinators could find what they needed for food and shelter in the garden. Students explored what kind of food insects eat and how they consume it by emulating a particular insect eating method (i.e. piercing, sucking, lapping, and chewing). The bees received half a straw and stood for insects who suck or pierce their food. Butterflies represented insects who suck nectar from a flower and used a whole straw to model this technique. Flies demonstrated how insects who lap to consume their food could only use their tongue to eat. Caterpillars, who chew their food, could only use their teeth. All of the students tried different types of insect food (juice in cups with lids, a small amount of juice in a soda bottle, crackers held up vertically on a paper plate with sun butter, and a plate with a small dab of honey). Students quickly realized which insect mouth part was most adept at gathering which type of food. With newfound realizations about how insects eat, students created insect masks that represented various insect heads and mouthparts. Everyone will be ready to get their hands dirty in the spring, but for now we’re excited to be learning and creating art and food surrounding many aspects of the garden.