This fall has been busy in the garden! We have been nourishing the most important part of the garden, the soil. Each grade has contributed an essential part in creating a great foundation for our vegetable and wildflower garden. Kindergarten has spent time learning about what a plant needs and we have tested this out by growing microgreens in the classroom. We also used magnifying glasses to investigate our school compost. They spotted lots of creepy crawlers that they now know are essential for our healthy soil. A few brave students even held earthworms and roly-polys. This unit concluded with fourth graders giving a presentation to them on the benefits of composting.
In addition to soil exploration in first grade, it has been all data collection. We made scientific guesses and then documented personal pea plants for 24 days. This brought up a lot of questions and discussions. Why did some plants grow tall and some did not? The students then brought that knowledge into the veggie garden with "radish teams." Each team has been monitoring its radish growth and is hoping for some taste testing soon. Second grade has done lots of container planting this fall. We have had successful kale, lettuce, and peas. We also have an experiment with planting in the shade. Will this work? Let's try! We are waiting for arugula, beets, lettuce, and radishes and it appears a good harvest may be within sight. The second graders also learned the gentle practice of transplanting seedlings, studied seed travel, and researched pollinator insects.
Third grade CREST started the year off with our annual Symbolic Monarch Migration program. We learned about the monarch's migration to Mexico and decorated our own monarchs to exchange with another student in the United States. Something to look forward to in the spring. Monthly taste testing is a favorite third grade activity. Along with the sampling, we learn about California agriculture and what goes into producing our food. So far, we have sampled, tomatoes, apples, and table grapes; all from the Central Valley. In the last couple of weeks, we have completed activities based on collaboration and mindful listening. There will be lots more on these themes as we head into the second trimester.