Wednesday, November 14, 2012
At 9 am, Robin Gipson and I arrived at the chilly garden, reviewed the class lesson, collected our teaching materials, and prepared for our first students. The cool day was also overcast and reminiscent of the Seattle weather that I face daily back home. The kids today, however, were anything but gloomy. Today would be our class on the Scientific Method; we decided to get kids out in the garden almost at once and get them to study what was going on now so that they could predict what might have changed in a week. We headed over to a outstretched sheet of paper, the "Wonder Wall" which we had pinned to the ground under a rock at each end. After the kids eagerly came up with questions we could write on the Wonder Wall, we headed out to the garden. In the first, third grade class, one of our students, Becca, had a very clever query: what happens to a plant once the fruit is removed? With Derek's group audibly tracking pregnant spiders by the pineapple garden, a group of kids and I marched over to the center bed with Becca, and crouched down next to a bell pepper plant.
I helped them pop off the fickle fruit, and they recorded everything they could see and feel - the color, shade, and firmness of the leaves, the strength and color of the main stem and of the pepper's branch, and all other details that they beheld; with a child's curiosity matched with the venerable wisdom of the scientific method, I was very curious to see what subtle or overt changes we would be able to detect. They wrote all the way until it was time to leave.
The next, pre-K class went bug hunting, as they adore bugs and wanted to track some down. I took them around the garden and had them choose soil they thought looked hospitable to bugs so that we could begin to churn it. After a few failures, we found some roly-polies, caterpillars, and more.
The final, third grade class was all about the sunflowers, which had transplanted themselves into our "three sisters" plot and are beautifully helping the beans as a trellis in our ill-fated corn-crop's stead. The flowers have grown tall, and we measured how high they have gotten so as to see how much they will have grown in the interim by next week.
Overall, the kids loved today; they were able to look, touch, dig, study, and develop a budding relationship with their plants.
- David Trujillo