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Discussion Prompts for Educators
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GROWING SCHOOL GARDENS:

IN-CLASS DISCUSSION OR WRITING PROMPTS

THEME
DESCRIPTION
DISCUSSION PROMPT
and
ACTIVITY

Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School - Waimea, HI 4:26

Connecting Food, Land and People

Ninth grader Jerneen shares the meaning of oli, traditional chants, and how growing staple crops like kalo teach about important cultural connections between plants, people, food and the land. Students in Māla’ai harvest, cook and explain the practice of kilo, a Hawaiian practice of keen observation.

Jerneen taught us about how, in her school garden in Hawai’i, they “oli,” or chant, before they go into the garden. Do you have any traditions like this that you do in your family or culture, for example before you eat food, before you enter special places, or participate in certain events?

Activity

‘E kilo ‘oe - Observe Nature with all Your Senses

Radcliff Elementary - Watsonville, CA 3:05

Make a Tape Bracelet

Students share what the garden has meant to them during this unique year of virtual schooling, and describe some of their favorite garden activities. Sixth grade students Jasmin and Mariel then demonstrate how to make flower tape bracelets.

Lots of students shared their favorite activities to do in the garden. What are some of your favorite activities to do in the garden, or outside in nature?

Activity
Make a Simple Flower Tape Bracelet / Pulseras de Cinta Video in English and Spanish

Manzo Elementary School - Tucson, AZ 2:36

Harvest the Sun Twice

Sisters Frieda and Pilar Muller return to the school garden they helped build to talk about the cutting edge research happening at the intersection of food, water, and energy production. In this garden Manzo students observe differences between a control garden and an experimental garden that lives under the canopy of photovoltaic solar panels--a garden that harvests the sun twice!

Frieda and Pilar taught us about a controlled experiment they’re doing, comparing vegetables grown under the full sun with vegetables grown under solar panels. Which vegetables do you think will grow better and why do you think that?

Activity

Explore the world of germination and conduct controlled germination experiments of your own! After downloading the PDF Click “start here.”

Lake Middle School - Denver, CO 2:53

How do you build community?

The Lake Learning Garden is a place for the neighborhood and school community to come together in a common, growing space, with shared hopes. We hear from students who reflect on how the changes in the garden can reflect changes in life.

How do you help build community?

What have you worked on with a team in your community?

How does eating and sharing food help build community?

University of Texas, Austin - Austin, TX 3:03

Garden Fresh Aguas Frescas

Professor Davis from the University of Texas, Austin shares research on how school gardens can increase vegetable intake and  how school gardens can enhance one’s ability to concentrate and improve grades. Then, students are invited to make garden fresh agua frescas.

Dr. Jamie Davis talked about how healthy foods power us up to do our favorite things. What can healthy foods help you do?

Activity

Garden Fresh Agua Frescas

Woodlawn Highschool, Birmingham, AL 3:58

What Does a Seed Mean to You?

Woodlawn graduate Sedrick and Woodlawn apprentice Destiny share the journey of a seed and the impact it can have on a community. Sedrick and Destiny explain what caring for a seed has meant to them and their communities.

Destiny told us what a seed means to her. What does a seed mean to you?

Bonus Math Extension: Destiny and Sedrick told us that they grew 5,800 pounds of produce, and they said that was equal to 4,218 basketballs. How do you think they figured that out?

Activity

Use this writing prompt to answer the question “What a seed means to you?” and use the poem prompts to create your own seed poem.

Whittier Elementary, Washington DC 2:26

We are All Scientists - Engineer a Flying Seed Model

Garden Instructor Luisa and 5th grade students share how they practice science in the garden. Students track the weather and engineer flying seeds.

The students at Whittier Elementary School showed us how to make a model of seeds that travel. Why do you think it might be important for a seed to be able to travel away from its parent plant?

Activity

Make a Flying Seed Model video in English and Spanish

More Activities

Check out these great STEM activities students can do outdoors!