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Every elementary grade level, Pre-K through Grade 5, has plant life in their curriculum. My primary goal is to give each McInnis classroom teacher the means to bring this curriculum 'alive' with the birth of a school-wide, year-long gardening program. It's an injustice to both the students and to the curriculum not to be able to learn about plants through hands-on and real-world study. I want to be able to provide the means for every student in our school to get their hands dirty when they are learning about plant structures and functions, life cycles, and the roles plants have in their environment. Last school year, I bought one planter bed for my own use and set it up outside my classroom for all students to benefit from and enjoy. When the 3rd graders were learning how different plants respond to different environmental stimuli, the sunflowers some students had planted for me were beginning to reach a height that allowed any passerby to see how these flowers faced the east in the morning and west in the afternoon. It was a fabulous example of typical textbook science coming to life! Reading about this phenomena was one thing - but to actually experience this wonder was a whole other opportunity that would not otherwise have been given to the students. The positive consequence to this experience was that now these students have a memory that they are more likely to remember forever (and it is also aligned to a tested science benchmark). They will never forget observing those sunflowers moving throughout the day.

A secondary goal, but no less important than the one stated above, is to build all of our students' knowledge base through hands-on, real life experiences. The garden beds will help the McInnis teachers move beyond using the textbook and be more purposeful in embedding the experiences children so desperately need in order to make sense of the world around them. Through the collective efforts of our teachers, and the materials in which to use, student achievement will increase in a fun, natural way!

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"McInnis, How does your garden grow?"

grant photo
School:
McInnis Elementary 
Subject:
Science 
Teacher:
Sonia Larrabee 
Students Impacted:
400 
Grade:
Pre K - 5 
Date:
July 22, 2017

Investors

Thank you to the following investors for funding this grant.

 

FUTURES FOUNDATION - $250.00

Anonymous - $749.24

 

Goal

Every elementary grade level, Pre-K through Grade 5, has plant life in their curriculum. My primary goal is to give each McInnis classroom teacher the means to bring this curriculum 'alive' with the birth of a school-wide, year-long gardening program. It's an injustice to both the students and to the curriculum not to be able to learn about plants through hands-on and real-world study. I want to be able to provide the means for every student in our school to get their hands dirty when they are learning about plant structures and functions, life cycles, and the roles plants have in their environment. Last school year, I bought one planter bed for my own use and set it up outside my classroom for all students to benefit from and enjoy. When the 3rd graders were learning how different plants respond to different environmental stimuli, the sunflowers some students had planted for me were beginning to reach a height that allowed any passerby to see how these flowers faced the east in the morning and west in the afternoon. It was a fabulous example of typical textbook science coming to life! Reading about this phenomena was one thing - but to actually experience this wonder was a whole other opportunity that would not otherwise have been given to the students. The positive consequence to this experience was that now these students have a memory that they are more likely to remember forever (and it is also aligned to a tested science benchmark). They will never forget observing those sunflowers moving throughout the day.

A secondary goal, but no less important than the one stated above, is to build all of our students' knowledge base through hands-on, real life experiences. The garden beds will help the McInnis teachers move beyond using the textbook and be more purposeful in embedding the experiences children so desperately need in order to make sense of the world around them. Through the collective efforts of our teachers, and the materials in which to use, student achievement will increase in a fun, natural way! 

 

What will be done with my students

Each classroom of students (and their teacher) will have access to one side (21" x 42" x 8") of the two-sided raised garden bed (42" x 84" x 8"). The beds will be distributed along with 10+ bags of top soil and one watering can. Students will prepare their bed, placing liner underneath the frame before filling the bed with soil. Each teacher will examine their required plant benchmarks and assist their students in planning for the initial planting. And since the growing season in Florida is longer, each classroom will have the opportunity for multiple plantings. The placement of each bed will be a decision made by each individual classroom. One of my original thoughts in purchasing these smaller, individual beds was so that the garden beds could be placed in close proximity to each of the classrooms for the convenience of study, care, and maintenance versus having a larger garden in one area of the campus.

Each teacher will have the opportunity to structure their daily and/or weekly science instructional time to include garden maintenance, observations/inferences, data tracking, and reflections. A 4th grade example of an observational study might be for students to grow different flowering plants for the purpose of comparing the same but different reproductive structures of each type of flower and then provide the rationale for these structures. A 5th grade class may wish to grow different kinds of plants for the purpose of comparing plant structures and their functions to that of animal structures. These garden beds personalizes the learning for each grade level of students as well as breathing 'life' into the curriculum that has the potential to embrace the study of plants all year. 

 

Benefits to my students

The benefits to a school-wide gardening program are numerous. In my summary outline of the project's goals, I explained how student achievement would be positively affected by pairing the reading of the plant life curriculum with opportunities for students to get their hands dirty, and how these hands-on experiences will leave lasting memories and build each student's knowledge base. Another benefit to establishing plant beds all over campus is the countless opportunities teachers will have to address student misconceptions and affirm facts. In sharing my experimental garden with the students last year (see attached photo), I heard so many student exclamations that would start with "I thought that...", and "Wow, I didn't know that...", and even, "What are those red things growing...?" I began gardening last school year to give students a chance to share their thinking and reveal to me their misconceptions - students thinking that the leaves of a plant absorbed the water or that the growth of a flower depends upon bees collecting the nectar - and so many other misconceptions like these. Gardening busts these common misconceptions and replaces them with actual experiences and knowledge.

Other benefits include:
- Eating and experiencing new and/or different fruits and vegetables
- Working through steps of a long-term project
- Communicating with peers
- Participating in experimental design 

 

Budget Narrative

I am requesting funding (Thank you for the opportunity!) for each grade level to have two raised garden beds (13 garden beds in all), with each class having access to a 21" x 42" x 8" section. This will allow each class to make their own decisions as what plants to grow throughout the year based on their grade level curriculum and interests. Approximately 15 bags of top soil will be necessary to fill each garden bed for a total of 195 bags to be purchased. Lining will be laid down to prevent weed growth. And to make it more convenient, each class will have their own watering can for their section of the bed. This will especially help those classes who may have to transport water from a designated water source.  

 

Items

# Item Cost
1 13 Member's Mark Raised Bed Garden Kit, 42" x 84" x 8", by Greenland Gardener $519.74
2 22 Union 63065 Watering Can with Tulip Design, 2 gallon, Hunter Green $143.00
3 195 bags of Top Soil $292.50
4 Garden Lining $44.00
  Total: $999.24

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