Schoolyard gardens can provide students and educators alike with hands-on learning opportunities. From science to math to writing and art, the garden can be incorporated into classroom instruction in a variety of ways.
Biology classes can perform seed germination experiments, English classes can have reading and writing time in the garden, art classes can be tasked with creating signs for the garden produce—the possibilities are endless.
KCCG provides a Grow in the Garden program, as well as a Sprout in the Garden program from preschoolers, which is a nine-week, hands-on curriculum program led by the schoolyard gardens staff.
Additionally, KCCG has collected a number of lesson plans and activities for teachers and garden coordinators, as well as preschool educators.
Grow in the Garden / Sprout in the Garden
This is a 9-week hands-on curriculum led by KCCG staff that will equip educators to lead a successful garden program. We will address common garden techniques, potential issues to address in the garden, how to harvest, ideas for using garden produce and more. Schools must apply for this program before each growing season.
- Planning, planting and maintaining your school garden with the support of SYG staff.
- Grow in the Garden notebook with garden maintenance handouts and lessons
- Regular garden check-ins, allowing students and staff to explore What, Where, When, Why and How the garden grows.
- Garden harvest tastings for students and staff in the garden.
- Pre and post surveys assessing gardening skills and knowledge and healthy eating habits.
- A garden journal and log to track the garden experiences.
- Help creating an inviting and exciting garden “outdoor classroom” feel for students.
- End of season harvest party.
This standards-based garden curriculum was developed by the School Food Initiative. The goals of the program are to bridge the gap between the school garden and the cafeteria through teacher, student and school community engagement, and to motivate the students to develop healthy eating habits. The lessons can be adapted for any season and the target grade levels range from kindergarten through 6th grade.
These activities will take most of a growing season and allow you to have the students integrate math knowledge into their gardens. Pumpkins and beans are used in this lesson, but any vegetable may be substituted. For example, the lesson can be modified to measure the height of broccoli as it grows, the number and height of leaves on carrot plants, etc.
This curriculum, which focuses on youth ages 12-18, was created to educate students about the food system, what it means to them and how it affects their community and their health.
This group of lesson plans, which focuses on students in kindergarten through 8th grade, helps students identify and discuss the nutritional value of salad greens, develop their gardening and cooking skills.
Make and Take Experiment in a Cup
Perfect for the winter, this seed germination activity allows students an opportunity to observe bean seeds sprout before their eyes. Students can leave their seed cups in the classroom, or take them home to care for and observe.
More Activities & Resources
- Study the environment around you–what grows well in Missouri and Kansas? How does the climate of our area affect plant growth?
- Study plant structure. Identify the root, stalk, flower and fruit of the plant.
- Observe your garden’s soil. What is the texture like? What soil characteristics are ideal for plant growth?
- Look for insects in your garden. Which insects are beneficial, and which are detrimental to the garden?
- Use a ruler to accurately space your seeds and plants.
- Measure the height of plants.
- Use a planting calendar to keep track of how many days it takes for plants to germinate and grow.