WARREN, NJ - Who can resist the freshest ingredients in the most flavorful meals? Woodland School’s third graders have taken their science unit on plant growth to a new level this spring.
Armed with soil and supplies donated by classroom parents, students set to work planting peas, radishes, spinach, and arugula in their classrooms, all of which were selected since they mature in the span of 40-60 days. Students utilized technology to investigate different ways to grow peas since they grow upwards in a vine-like fashion.
Once the seeds germinated and began to sprout, students transplanted the seedlings into homemade raised garden beds, built by Woodland teachers PJ Jones and Amanda McGrath, in the school’s courtyard.
The classes have been responsible for weeding and watering on a daily basis. As they diligently monitor the plants’ progress, the third graders continue to learn how plants grow, make their own food and complete their full life cycle, all the while incorporating new science terms into their vocabulary.
Students are also eager to research online to find answers and information about plants in their classrooms as questions arise. Each child has been keeping a science journal, and in it records observations and tracks growth, to then compare his/her findings with peers. It is also the hope that students will gain a greater appreciation of where their food comes from through this experience.
With their teachers, students have been discussing the link between farmers and food production, as well as healthy eating and nutrition. Children are encouraged, through this hands-on and engaging way, to add healthy food choices to their diet.
Prior to the end of the school year, the children will harvest their crop and the unit will conclude with a delicious treat… a salad picnic comprised of a sampling of the vegetables from the garden.
A special thank you to the following teachers for their support, as well as contributions of the materials needed to construct the raised garden beds: Amanda McGrath, Paula Pontorierro, Steve Rizzoli, Joan Toth and Jeanne Vecchione.