Creating a Schoolyard Mini-Garden by: Francisca García-Ruiz

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The creation of schoolyard gardens is a growing movement in the United States and around the world (Ballard, Tong, and Usher 1998; Pope 1998; Lewis 2004). It brings together all of the features of authentic hands-on science: Students can collect data on plant growth, observe the plant and animal interactions in the garden, and acquire a sense of nature and environmental issues. Here the author shares how easy it can be to start a schoolyard garden, using an in-class germination project as a starting point. With just a tiny plot of land, they created a mini-garden that infused third-grade students with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

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Reviews (7)
  • on Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:45 PM

I loved this resource because it made you feel as though you were apart of the project with the class. The article lays out each step of the process and goes into great detail about each part. I also love that the article lists all of the resources that were used to create the actual lesson. This is definitely a resource I would use when creating my own class garden for a science project.

Lauren O
Lauren O

  • on Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:19 PM

In this article, the author describes her experiences with starting a classroom garden. She says the experience went beyond being a simple engaging activity for her students to something that permeated all aspects of her curriculum and highly motivated her students. I appreciated that she addressed potential roadblocks, such as identifying a location for the garden. Her resourcefulness when gathering seeds was motivating. Further, I especially appreciated that she addressed safety and discipline as well as time required outside of the classroom for this project. Other articles have not addressed these aspects of classroom gardening projects.

Jennifer  (Ellicott City, MD)
Jennifer (Ellicott City, MD)

  • on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:31 PM

I decided to review the journal, Creating a School Mini Garden by: Francisca Garcia- Ruiz because I am really interested in having my future students create a schoolyard garden. I was also thinking about doing a 2-week unit for a class on this idea. In the beginning, the author begins by saying how many people hesitate taking on such a project because it is too ambitious; however, the author puts these types of readers at ease by saying this is an easy task and at her school many other educators and students developed an interest in it as well. I love that the author provided a couple good visuals to show what students were doing outside. I would have liked to see some feedback from students in quotations to see how they really felt about the whole experience. I am glad she expresses the importance of getting grants or sending a note home to parents to see if they can send their child in with seeds. This is really important to note and take into account when planning for this unit. I liked that the teacher allowed students to take care of plants inside the classroom during the winter time and then allowed students to plant the plants outside in the designated garden area when it got warmer. She also gave students roles, such as carrying the water, taking care of the weeds or taking pictures. This is important to help all students feel like they have a valuable role in creating this mini garden. There are resources in a table that the author provides as well that can help with creating a school yard garden, which is helpful. Finally, I really like that the author discusses the discussions that came up from planting, observing, and taking notes. For example, one student had a herb plant that grew quicker than other students so this gave the class an opportunity to analyze and discuss why this might have happened. Overall, this lesson took a lot of dedication, a passion for teaching science, and hard work so I would give this resource 5 stars.

Nicole Shouse  (Hanover, MD)
Nicole Shouse (Hanover, MD)

  • on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:30 PM

Having been through the process of starting a school garden, I recognized many great pieces of advice in this article. Starting small is key. The article helps the reader diagnose available space and find a suitable location for gardening, despite a small school campus. Much like the author, when we first looked for space to plan a garden, we had a hard time seeing our space as a garden. By starting small, we have gained the experience needed to expand.

Jason Pittman
Jason Pittman

  • on Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:27 PM

After experience the multiple educational benefits of creating a garden in a schoolyard setting can bring to a school, I can not imagine any school not wanting to incorporate one in their environment. Hearing that it's a growing movement leaves me feeling overjoyed that I might see more gardens sprouting up in my local community. In this articles they give several great suggestions on how to make/grow a garden in a school that has limited fundings. They also cover key questions that anyone who hasn't grow a garden in the past might ask.

Zoxchilt Zuniga  (Fairborn, OH)
Zoxchilt Zuniga (Fairborn, OH)

  • on Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:25 PM

This article right away stated how many teachers hesitate to undertake a project that seems too ambitious. It goes into detail on how easy it can be to start a schoolyard garden. It does a great job at connecting the garden to the National Science Education Standards. I have seen the benefits of gardens in schools, therefore I really agree with this article.


  • on Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:05 PM

This article brings a good perspective to creating a small schoolyard garden as part of a third grade unit on plants. Along with the encouragement comes sound advice for classroom management during the project as well as ways to integrate the learning across the curriculum

Caryn M  (Smithtown, NY)
Caryn M (Smithtown, NY)

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