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Lesson Guides by Grade


“A garden is never as good as it will be next year.” Thomas Cooper

 
This page lists activities and lesson plans taught throughout the school year.  For a look at how they are scheduled in each season, please review the Spring Class Schedule or the Fall Class Schedule.
 
Preschool Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle

Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to understand the needs and growth cycle of an amaryllis bulb and demonstrate observational and reasoning skills as growth occurs and information is collected. 

January
Planting Bulbs - Students plant spring flowering bulbs to understand the seasonal life cycle of a bulb.  October
Kindergarten Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle

Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to understand the traits and needs of an amaryllis bulb and demonstrate observational and reasoning skills as growth occurs and information is collected. 

January
Planting Bulbs - Students plant spring flowering bulbs to understand the seasonal life cycle of a bulb.  October
First Grade Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle

Building Terrariums and Collecting Terrarium Animals - One lesson covers two activities for students to understand how animals depend on living and nonliving things to survive in their environment.

April
Counting and Comparing Weeds - Weeds are used to practice counting and to apply the concepts of “most” and “least”. September
Creating a Butterfly Habitat - Students learn that butterflies require a habitat that provides host plants for egg laying and caterpillar food and pot curly willow stems to take a host plant home. March

Crustaceans in the Garden - Students understand how pillbug and sowbug characteristics help them live in their environment. 

April

Early Spring Invertebrates - Students tally invertebrates as insect or non-insect and record air and soil temperatures to understand how temperature affects animal activity. 

March
Food Comes from Natural Resources - Students understand that the foods they eat are natural resources or come from natural resources before heading outside to plant warm season crops. May

Garden Food Chains - Students understand how plants and animals interact in food chains.

May
Granny's Flower Pressing Adventure - Students are welcomed back to school and the gardens with an activity to cover garden rules, preserve flowers by pressing, and pick a bouquet to take home. August
Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to practice measuring, recording and graphing data, and answering questions about the results. January
Granny's Harvest Lunch - The fall harvest is the basis to understand basic needs a plant requires from its environment and how seasons affect them.  A sense of community is fostered when the school-wide bounty is served to students as vegetable soup or roasted vegetables in the cafeteria. September
Growing Food for Butterflies - Students plant marigold and sunflower seeds or seedlings to learn that butterflies need a habitat with nectar sources to survive and understand how their body parts help them survive. May
Harvest the Early Spring Garden - Students learn how to identify foods that are ready to harvest and the best harvest method.  Students work together to harvest and clean the harvest and finish up by sampling foods they planted in March. May
How Do Worms Live - Students will understand how worm body parts help worms live in their environment.  March
Planting a Salad in Early Spring - Students understand that seeds have basic needs to grow that are dependent on the conditions in the seed’s environment. March
Putting the Gardens to Bed - Students learn about the benefits of adding compost to the garden, remove and compost plants that will not overwinter, and add compost to their beds. October
Scavenger Hunt - Scavenger hunt clues are used to review the concepts taught in garden lessons. May
Spider Web Hunt - Students understand the characteristics of spiders that help them to live, and practice math skills for organizing data while searching for spider webs.  September

Trapping Energy - Students plant warm season seeds in the cool temperatures of early spring to observe how the principles of cold frames aid plant growth.

April
Uses of Sunflowers - Students learn about the evolution of sunflowers as a resource in many industries and plant sunflower and other flower seeds in the garden. April
What Do Garden Animals Need from Their Environment? - A hunt for garden animals helps students understand how animals rely on plants and their unique body parts to survive.  September
What Happens When You Plant a Bulb in Autumn - Students plant spring flowering bulbs and learn about their parts and seasonal stages.  October

Where is Energy? - Students understand that the primary source of energy is the sun and find evidence of energy in the garden.

September
Who Needs Seeds? - Seed collecting is used to understand why seeds are important to plants and animals and how plants rely on animals and the environment to spread seeds. October
Second Grade Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle
Food Buyers and Sellers - Students understand from where their food comes by discussing sources for buying food and the kinds of jobs involved in providing food for us to buy before heading outside to plant warm season crops. May
Granny's Flower Pressing Adventure - Students are welcomed back to school and the gardens with an activity to cover garden rules, preserve flowers by pressing, and pick a bouquet to take home. August
Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to practice measuring, recording and graphing data, and answering questions about the results. January
Granny's Harvest Lunch - The fall harvest is the basis to understand what plants need to grow and to identify plants parts and how they use environmental resources.  A sense of community is fostered when the school-wide bounty is served to students as vegetable soup or roasted vegetables in the cafeteria. September

Graphing Invertebrates in Early Spring - Students create a bar graph about invertebrates they find in the garden and answer questions about the graph to show their understanding about how to interpret a graph. 

March
Graphing Temperature - Students use temperature data collected in spring to create a double bar graph and answer questions about the data. April
Harvest the Early Spring Garden - Students learn how to identify foods that are ready to harvest and the best harvest method.  Students work together to harvest and clean the harvest and finish up by sampling foods they planted in March. May

How Do Living and Non-Living Things Interact? - Students look for living and nonliving things in the environment to understand that living things have an effect on nonliving things in the environment and that nonliving things in the environment affect living things.   

September

Living Things Cause Changes - Compost is examined to understand the parts of the compost habitat and what changes leaves into compost. September
Planting a Salad in Early Spring - Students welcome spring by planting cool season seeds in their beds, and learn that seed germination is dependent on conditions in the seed’s habitat.  March

Plotting Worm Length - Students measure earthworms to find the most common length by creating and interpreting a line plot.

May
Propagating Butterfly Bush - Students propagate butterfly bush by cuttings that they will take home to understand how humans can impact nature in positive ways by planting food sources for wildlife. April
Putting the Gardens to Bed - Students understand how compost is made by living things and why it’s important. October

Reading Weather - Students will collect information about weather to understand weather instruments and readings and the impact of weather conditions on plants and animals in early spring. 

April
Scavenger Hunt - Scavenger hunt clues are used to review the concepts taught in garden lessons. April
Seeds Change the Environment - Seed collecting is used to help students identify seed adaptations and how seed dispersal causes changes in environments. October

Understanding How Bulbs Grow - Garlic - Students understand that garlic is a bulb that man has modified from its original wild form before they head outside to plant garlic

October
What's in Soil - Students examine soil samples to learn that soil forms over time from decomposing rocks, plants, and animals. September
Third Grade Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle

Animals in the Garden Habitat - Students understand that animals have traits that are learned and inherited and that help them survive in their environment.  Observations from this activity are compared to observations from the ground habitat activity to understand unique traits required in each habitat.

September

Animals in the Ground Habitat - Students understand that animals have traits that are learned and inherited and that help them survive in their environment.  Observations from this activity are compared to observations from the garden habitat to understand unique traits required in each habitat.

September
Are Plant Parts the Same in Different Weed Types? - Students collect data about two weed types to understand differences in the same plant part.  September

Changes in Agriculture - Students understand how sustainable agriculture promotes practices that benefit natural resources.

May
Granny's Flower Pressing Adventure - Students are welcomed back to school and the gardens with an activity to cover garden rules, preserve flowers by pressing, and pick a bouquet to take home. August
Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to practice measuring, recording and graphing data, and answering questions about the results. January
Granny's Harvest Lunch - The fall harvest is the basis to understand how plant parts use environmental resources, that plants do not have the same life cycle, and that conditions in the environment affect their life cycle.  A sense of community is fostered when the school-wide bounty is served to students as vegetable soup or roasted vegetables in the cafeteria.  September
Harvest the Early Spring Garden - Students learn how to identify foods that are ready to harvest and the best harvest method.  Students work together to harvest and clean the harvest and finish up by sampling foods they planted in March. May

Mapping Skills in the Garden -  Students create a map of a garden area to understand parts of maps and how to read them.

September
Planting a Salad in Early Spring - Students welcome spring by planting cool season seeds in their beds, learn that seed germination is dependent on conditions in the seed’s habitat, and learn what it means to garden organically. March
Planting Potatoes - Students understand the unique plant parts of potato plants and learn about the economic significance of potatoes in history. April

Propagating Mums - Students learn what propagation means and how mums are used as a natural resource for medicinal and culinary purposes.

May
Properties of Soil  - Soil samples are used to demonstrate the properties of soil and to discuss the importance of soil in the growth of plants and animals. October
Putting the Gardens to Bed - Students understand that the compost pile consists of organisms with life cycles dependent on the conditions in the compost pile. October
Scavenger Hunt - Scavenger hunt clues are used to review the concepts taught in garden lessons. May

Sunflower Power - Students learn that processes are being developed to use sunflowers for renewable energy.

April
What is a Plant's Life Cycle?  Seed collection is used to discuss the stages of a plant's life cycle, seed adaptations, and seed dispersal October

Why is Pollination Important - Students observe and identify the parts of a flower it to understand how the parts of a flower enable the flower to make seeds through pollination and fertilization.

September
Fourth Grade Lessons When in Our Garden Cycle
Can Soil Filter Contaminated Water?  Students understand that soils filter water based on the properties of soil. April
Economics of Organic and Conventional Gardening - Students apply their understanding of productive resources to organic and conventional farming methods and plant flower seeds in flower beds. April
Granny's Flower Pressing Adventure - Students are welcomed back to school and the gardens with an activity to cover garden rules, preserve flowers by pressing, and pick a bouquet to take home. August
Granny's Great Amaryllis Race - This inside winter activity uses the growth of an amaryllis bulb for students to practice measuring, recording and graphing data, and answering questions about the results. January
Granny's Harvest Lunch - The fall harvest is the basis to identify the parts of a plant and their function and to classify fruits and vegetables by botanical definition.  A sense of community is fostered when the school-wide bounty is served to students as vegetable soup or roasted vegetables in the cafeteria.  September
Harvest the Early Spring Garden - Students learn how to identify foods that are ready to harvest and the best harvest method.  Students work together to harvest and clean the harvest and finish up by sampling foods they planted in March. May
Packaging Seeds to Investigate Mass, Weight, and Volume - Students package seeds to use in the upcoming spring season following an investigation to understand the difference between mass, weight, and volume. February
Planting a Salad in Early Spring - Students welcome spring by planting cool season seeds in their beds, and learn that plants have unique life cycles and conditions for seed germination that are linked to soil temperature. March/April

Plotting Potato Weight - Students weigh harvested potatoes to create and analyze a line plot of the weights.

September

Productive Resources in Granny's Gardens - Students apply their understanding of productive resources to creating and sustaining Granny’s Garden School before heading outside to plant warm season crops.

May
Putting the Gardens to Bed - Students understand the flow of energy through an ecosystem before preparing their garden for winter. October

Seeds and the Environment - Students learn how seeds are affected by environmental change and how seeds change the environment before collecting seeds outside.

October
 
Nature Walks When in Our Garden Cycle

First Grade

Examining Seasonal Changes on a Shape Walk - Students understand how changes in the sun’s energy affect the behavior of living things in the environment.  Shape walk shapes - Courtesy of Cincinnati Nature Center - A template of shapes for students to carry or wear on yarn necklaces to match with items observed on the trail.  Pre-cut shapes are available for sign out in the barn. fall
Patterns in Nature - Students explore the nature trail to locate patterns in nature and discuss how patterns are useful. spring

Second Grade

Evidence of Forest Changes - Students find evidence of living things that cause changes in a forest.

fall

How Does Weather Affect Nature - Students take a nature walk on the trail to observe the impact of weather on ecosystems.    

spring

Third Grade

Evidence of Survival Traits in a Forest - Students understand some of the traits unique to plants and animals in a forest.

fall
Using Natural Resources Then and Now - Students understand how human use of natural resources has evolved and the impact of our use on Earth’s resources. spring

Fourth Grade 

Creating a Geographical Map - Students take a nature walk to map locations of decomposition, deposition, erosion, and forest succession stages. fall
Interrelationships of Plants and Animals - Students examine sunny and shady spots to understand that a healthy ecosystem has a variety of living things that interact to keep the system in balance. spring

 

Retired Lessons

 

Lessons are retired when they no longer fit a goal of our program or the academic content standards for a grade.  We keep our favorites around just in case.

 

Kindergarten

Planting Sunflowers to Celebrate Earth Day - Students plant sunflower seeds to discuss what Earth Day represents, talk about ways to reduce waste, and learn about the life cycle of sunflowers.

Animals Cause Changes - Students examine compost to explore how animals slowly change leaves into compost.

 

First Grade

About Herbs - Students learn what herbs are and how they are used.

Granny's Potato Patch Adventure - The potato harvest is used to learn about basic needs of the potato plant and how the environment affects having those needs met.   We finish with a sampling of prepared potatoes and other fresh garden treats.

Packaging Seeds to Measure Weight - Students package seeds to use in the upcoming spring season following an investigation to compare weights of the same volume.

Planting Potatoes - Students plant forward in spring for the class harvest in the following late summer term, and learn about the history of potatoes as an important food crop and about the parts of a potato plant.

Tracking Animals in Spring - Students use animal and temperature observations to understand animal behavior as winter changes to spring. 

 

Second Grade

Evidence of Change in Nature - Students find evidence of living things that cause changes in a forest.

Food Chains - A nature walk is used to to discuss the flow of energy through food chains and food webs.

Classifying Garden Animals - Students collect data about garden animals to understand sorting and classification.

Granny's Potato Patch Adventure - The potato harvest is used to understand that plants grow based on interaction with living and nonliving things in their environment.  We finish with a sampling of prepared potatoes and other fresh garden treats. 

Planting Potatoes - Students plant forward in spring for the class harvest in the following late summer term, and learn about the history of potatoes as an important food crop and about the life cycle and parts of a potato plant.

Propagating Forsythia - Students learn that parasitic wasps are considered beneficial and depend on plants and animals for their survival in different stages of their life cycle.

Uses of Corn - Students plant sunflower and popcorn seeds and discuss the evolution of corn as a resource in many industries.

Using Seed Patterns to Make Predictions - Students use seeds to find an addition pattern in increasing lengths and package seeds for the upcoming spring season.

 

Third Grade

Decomposition, Erosion, and Deposition - Students take a nature walk to record observations of processes that shape the surface of the Earth.

Evidence of Survival Traits in a Forest  - Students understand some of the survival traits unique to plants and animals in a forest.

Granny's Potato Patch Adventure - The potato harvest is used to understand the unique life cycle and special parts that help a potato plant grow, survive, and reproduce.    We finish with a sampling of prepared potatoes and other fresh garden treats.

Opportunity Cost of Backyard Gardening - Students discuss opportunity costs of gardening at home before heading outside to plant warm season crops.

Packaging Seeds to Investigate Weight and Capacity - Students package seeds to use in the upcoming spring season following an investigation to understand the difference between weight and capacity.

Planting for a Cause - Students propagate mums to donate to worthy causes.

Tracking Animals in Spring - Classification - Students collect information about observed animals and temperature to understand animal adaptations as winter changes to spring and how scientists classify animals. 

Compost Organisms - Compost is used to classify organisms and to understand the interaction and adaptations of organisms in the compost ecosystem. 

 

Fourth Grade

Comparing Weeds using a Venn Diagram - Weeds are used to collect data and to complete a Venn diagram about the similarities and differences of the two main categories of weeds. 

Do All Plants Have the Same Life Cycle?  - Seed collection is used to discuss plant life cycles and interdependence of plants and animals. 

Flower Parts and Pollination - Flower parts are examined to understand pollination and seed formation. 

Granny's Potato Patch Adventure - The potato harvest is used to explore the basic needs, parts, and seasonal changes of the potato plant We finish with a sampling of prepared potatoes and other fresh garden treats. 

Graphing Temperature - Students graph temperatures using line and bar graphs to understand temperatures in early spring and to discuss that the type of graph to use depends on the question to answer about the data collected.

How are Plants Propagated - Students understand that plant propagation occurs naturally, with help from humans to select the most desirable traits, and in laboratories to modify the genetic makeup of plant cells. 

Planting Potatoes - Students plant forward in spring for the class harvest in the following late summer term, and learn about the history of potatoes as an important food crop and about the life cycle and parts of a potato plant.

Tracking Weather in Spring - Students use weather instruments to take readings and understand what they mean. 

Tree Identification Using a Dichotomous Key - Students use a dichotomous key to identify trees and to understand the basics of how plants are classified.

Understanding How Bulbs Grow - Students plant garlic and learn about the unique adaptations of bulbs and garlic.   

 
 

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"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." Robert Louis Stevenson

Continued appreciation to our original website sponsor Ellie Kowalchik of Comey and Shepherd.