We need the sun’s energy to live, but we can’t just pack a sun sandwich in our lunches. First graders learn about the incredibly important role of plants - turning the sun’s light into chemical energy - and how that energy ends up in our bodies through a food chain. To illustrate the concept, we had students walk through a life-sized food chain. We put lots of glitter on the sun, and walked from the sun, to the grass, to the cow, to the milk, and to the child. A little glitter was dropped at each step, which illustrates exactly how energy is transferred through the food chain. We also made beautiful solar prints from found objects and talked about different ways we can physically block the sun’s rays - like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
It’s almost Thanksgiving, which is a great time to learn about herbs. These savory, fragrant plants are used to season meats, soups, vegetables, eggs, and many other culinary treats. A quick sniff can often bring back memories of favorite family meals...
Today we worked with transitional kindergarten students to sort, smell, plant, and bundle many varieties of herbs like dill, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and mint. We had a sensory-filled herb scavenger hunt and made take-home bundles to flavor a Thanksgiving turkey. By the end of the lesson, we were all happily hungry!
Fifth graders study the complex concepts of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Today in the garden we brought those concepts to life, by making intricate solar prints, creating chlorophyll art with leaves and hammers, and making plant chocolate chip cookies. That’s right, we ate chocolate chip cookies in the garden! It was fun, but also relevant. We use a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies, and plants follow a 'recipe' of water, carbon dioxide, sunlight, and chlorophyll to make glucose. Both products are essentially carbohydrates, or stored sources of energy. Check out some of our student projects below.
At Ground Ed we believe in multi-disciplinary learning, and sometimes that takes us out of the garden and into the computer labs. This week we worked with third graders on the educational website www.nourishinteractive.com/kids. Students played a game trying to construct breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner plates that meet the USDA My Plate guidelines for their age and activity level. Kids dragged and dropped a variety food until they felt they’d made a healthy day of meals. When they checked their work, many found that they had loaded up their digital plates with 4,000 calories – more than three times the daily guideline. So we challenged them to reduce their portion size (and maybe re-evaluate that can of soda) until their daily plates were more kid-friendly. It was a fun and challenging way to reinforce our previous lesson on healthy eating.
Lowell students put their youth and vigor to work today planting a beautiful selection of salad greens. We kept it fun, looking for earthworms and pill bugs, and watering just about everything in site. On a hot Fall day, it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon. We even finished with a food-inspired version of duck-duck-goose. At GroundEd, we believe spending the day with children is food for the soul. Happy weekend everyone!
Ever wonder what it feels like to be a seed, waiting patiently for your one-in-a-million chance to sprout? This week some first graders learned about the seed lifecycle, by stepping into a pea seed. After some spirited performance art, we explored all the clever ways seeds make their way to a patch of dirt – hitchhiking, blowing in the wind, making clever fruit disguises, among others. Then we reclaimed last year’s dried snap pea seeds and planted this year’s crop. Seed sequencing cards solidified the steps seeds take in germination and left the kids with fun take-home art.