A Garden of Learningby: Tasha Kirby

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In order to beautify the school environment and further student learning, fourth-graders cultivated a Native Plant Learning Garden. They were responsible for designing a layout, researching garden elements, preparing the area, and planting a variety of native plants. By the completion of this inquiry-based project, students were able to clearly articulate what plants need to survive and how plants have been used in their area throughout history.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (6)
  • on Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:07 PM

This article was a great way of showing us how teaching goes beyond the textbook. The fact that you can take a lesson on plants and apply it to real world is so amazing. Teaching students to plant a garden by their classroom; it's not just memorizing the parts of a plant to seeing how plants work in nature.

Jennifer Martinez  (North Miami Beach, FL)
Jennifer Martinez (North Miami Beach, FL)

  • on Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:14 PM

I LOVED this article. The author really walks you through the way she structured her lesson which ended tying in both science and social studies content, as well as providing time for students to do writing and practice their literacy and researching skills. I really liked how the lesson was very much based on the students' research. It seemed to me to be a great way to do a garden unit that is inquiry-based and affordable!

Ariana J
Ariana J

  • on Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:40 PM

I really like this review because it breaks down all of the steps that their fourth grade class took to create their gardens and it lays all of the information out very clearly. I like that it included the list of the native plants that were researched, and it was also very helpful reading about how the teacher was able to budget the money they had available.

Lauren O
Lauren O

  • on Mon May 20, 2013 4:30 PM

This article explains how a simple garden was created in an elementary school that involved preparation and planning with a great deal of money. What makes this particular article interesting was that this garden was designed to plant native plants. Students researched the plants on the internet and in native plant guides to choose the ones they were most interested in planting. Each plant had to have an enthnobotanical such a medicinal, culinary or otherwise.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:02 PM

Ms. Kirby and her students bemoaned the barren, ugly outdoor space in front of their portable classroom. They decided to take their available $25, lots of elbow grease, a bit of asking for help from the PTSA and the community, and make a native garden that would beautify their space for years to come. In the meantime, students used research skills, learned math and science lessons, and practiced their writing skills. The culmination of the project was a party to which the community was invited, as thanks for their help. The article provides reference to standards and internet sources. I wish the article had had more than one very small photo of the project. Otherwise, it sounds like an amazing experience.

Allison Cooke
Allison Cooke

  • on Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:55 AM

Tasha Kirby, a fourth grade teacher in Sammamish, Washington, takes you through the design, building and use of this garden which integrated the social studies and science of native plants and their uses.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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