• Helping teacher Jaime DeVries push dirt around a plant are, from left, Logan Berry, Ulisses Ramos, Makenzie Jolman, Brooklynn Durham and Jackson Wassink
  • Before they hit the real thing, first a practice dig
  • Saul Monarrez scoops soil into the butterfly garden frame
  • Jaime DeVries’ kindergartners studied plants and what they need to grow in order to prepare for their own garden

How Does My Garden Grow? Science Tells Us Answers

Students Learn Next-Gen Standards by Planting Garden

by Morgan Jarema  

Jaime DeVries’ kindergartners had no sooner gotten settled after lunch when she asked them if they knew what time it was.

“Garden-planting time!” said Kaelyn with a whoop, as she pumped both arms over her head.

Indeed. And before they trekked outside, DeVries gave them a quick quiz on what the Stoney Creek Elementary class knew going in.

Marlin Edwards, in orange, sprinkles hollyhock seeds with water as Chloe Vaughn looks onHow about the parts of a flower? DeVries asked.

Alex identified the stem, and Ehyana pointed to the petals.

And what are the things plants need to live and grow?

Soil, said Marlin when called on. Sunlight, added Jackson. Water, said Lilyana.

“And air!” piped up Avery.

Lilyana DeBoer digs up a plastic crawlie in preparation for seeing the real thing

The butterfly-shaped garden -- which students planted with bee balm, Joe pye weed and butterfly bush plants, as well as aster and hollyhock seeds -- was made possible by a $500 grant from the Comstock Park Education Foundation. It’s planned as an outdoor classroom through which the youngsters will observe and explore learning standards in a meaningful, engaging way.

The relationship between animals and their environments is a Next Generation Science Standard for kindergartners. As part of the unit and the garden project, students learned about the butterfly life cycle through stories, exploration, research and observation. They also researched ideal conditions for caterpillar and butterfly habitat.  

Now, after a handful of weeks tending the garden, DeVries said her students still “cannot wait to get outside” every day.

“The spontaneous conversations among the students are the best part of this hands-on learning,” she said. “They discuss the respect we are developing for nature, the importance of pollinators to our gardens, and the relationship between the animals and insects around us and our environment. It has been exciting for all of us.”

Kindergarten teacher Jaime DeVries introduces her class to trowels

Teacher Jaime DeVries shows the plant’s root system to, from left,  Bailey Ditter, Alexandro Bustamante, Darcel Manning and Chloe Vaughn
Ehnaya Okedah helps teacher Jaime DeVries get the plant out of the pot

From left, Hayden Jones, Ella Hallwachs, Isaac Salgado-Zetino, Avery Cooper and Kaelyn Molinet prepare to put their plant into the garden

Submitted on: May 16th 2017

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