Sunday, December 11, 2011

Experimenting with our city garden!

Last week, while we were reading Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert, we decided it was time to harvest our radish crop. We planted the radishes back in September and have been keeping an eye on them over the past few months. We are lucky enough to have a dedicated staff member (our "Garden Guru") who is always coming up with ways to bring the garden into the classroom and provide hands on experiences for our students, who otherwise probably wouldn't get to "get dirty" in a garden.

We periodically checked in on our radish crop after recess and the children couldn't believe how such tall plants could grow from tiny seeds. I am reminded of last year's corn crop and how big my students' eyes grew when they got to harvest the corn.

Our "Garden Guru" helped us pull the radishes up from the ground. We explained that growing vegetables is an never know what exactly might happen. Some children pulled up huge, beautiful, plump, red radishes, and others pulled up a lovely ball of dirt. Our "Garden Guru" did an excellent job of showing just as much excitement for those students that harvested a dirt ball, as those with a yummy radish. It was amazing to watch my class embrace the concept "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

Upon coming back to the room, I had the students break up into two groups; those with a radish and those without. Here we are holding our radishes or our lovely dirt ball...
Proud Radish Group
Lovely Dirt Ball Group

Our Radish Crop
We graphed "Did you pull up a radish?" and talked about our results and how they have to do with the unpredictable nature of science. The students enjoyed making the graph, but what they were really waiting for was to taste their radish crop. I took the radishes home, cleaned them up a bit and brought them back to school.

Our "Garden Guru" suggested eating the radishes with some bread to cut the taste. What a good idea! I cut the radishes in front of the children and we talked about our observations. Finally they got to taste them. I was SHOCKED! Every single child not only tasted them, but when we made tally marks showing how many children liked the radishes, everyone raised their hand. They ate the entire thing! I don't know if it had anything to do with them feeling attached or having a sense of ownership to their radish, but if so we should have children grow all their own fruits and vegetables! I was so impressed.

It was a wonderful experience and something I know we will be talking about all year. It shows the students that science is applicable and all around us. Science is not just something that we talk about for 2 weeks and then switch to the next standard on the pacing guide. My students were making connections across standards with these radishes. I can't wait to embark on our plants unit later this year because this background experience will provide a huge hook into the unit. Thank you to our "Garden Guru" who I could not have provided this experience or written this blog post without!

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