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Hardwood Bird Feeders April 24, 2010

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 5:43 pm

We know spring is really here in the garden when we start to see songbirds doing aerial dogfights over mates in the air above the garden. Birds are gathering nesting material, hummingbirds are visiting our garden, and children are viewing the show.

Ms. Schultz’s students each made a beautiful hardwood bird feeder using scrap hardwood from Frost Lumber that had been precut in precise and easy-to-assemble kits by Liam’s dad, Jeremy, an architect by profession and a fine wood crafter by vocation. Five parents joined us to put the birdfeeders together with glue and nails. Here are the results! Birdfeeders can be sealed with nontoxic mineral oils, or simply hung up and left to age. Woods included in the scrap from Frost include Brazilian oak, red oak, ash, maple, and more, some of it cut into moldings. Frost sells scrap lumber on pallets for a very low price — for families that want to experiment with wood working at home!


Butterfly Buddies Plant a Tree April 23, 2010

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:55 am

Butterfly Buddies celebrated Earth Day a day late by reading Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg, which envisions alternative futures based on how we care for the earth. At the end of the book, a boy decides to plant a tree, then travels in his dream to the future to see what the future he is creating becomes.

Then the fourth and first graders went to the garden together to plant a 15 gallon nonfruiting mulberry tree donated by science teacher Ms. Hutchins. Students wrote good wishes and hopes for the future on rocks and tossed them into the hole dug for the tree to speed it on it’s way to growth. Some day it will provide shade for the teaching area of our garden, and provide leafy food ¬†for our classes to watch the process of silk worms metamorphosing into moths. Students had a chance to look at cocoons, dried moths, dried eggs, and silk worm silk thread Mrs. Rothschild spun from the silk worms’ silk cocoons a number of years ago.


Second Grade Gardeners learn about Adaptations

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:49 am

Second grade gardeners in Room 6 spent time on Earth Day playing environmental education games about the adaptations of plants and animals. First they observed animals and plants in the garden and speculated about their adaptations — aspects of their make-up and behavior that help them survive in a particular habitat. Then they learned how ants use their antennae and pheromones to tell the difference between enemy ants and friendly ants. One child was blindfolded and was given a friend scent and an enemy scent. He then followed his nose in a circle of students to see which ones smelled like enemies and which like friends.

Then students had a scavenger hunt in the grass to see how fast they could find camouflaged toothpicks versus brightly colored toothpicks (green versus red and yellow), a demonstration of what an effective adaptation color can be in survival.


Haiku by Second Grade Gardeners

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:42 am

Second Grade gardeners celebrated Earth Day by hearing poems about nature by 15th century Japanese poet Basho, in rooms 7 and 8, and Emily Dickinson and Robinson Jeffers in Room 6. They learned how poets look very closely and quietly at nature and notice the details in tiny, specific aspects of nature.

Students went into the garden to practice this sort of observation of specific aspects of nature — a spider web, a leaf, a flower, a rock — and then used rich, descriptive words to describe what they noticed. Then they will write haiku.


April Animal Friends in the Garden

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:35 am

April has been an interesting month! We found a nest of tiny baby rats who had made a peaceful home in our worm composter, eating many of the worms and all of the compost garbage before they were discovered and removed.

An amazing stick insect also moved into the peas. Unfortunately, when we found it, it was dead. We speculate that it may have been unable to move in the cold weather that came in. It hung so still that a pea tendril had time to wrap itself around the insect’s legs. And then it was stuck!


Butterfly Buddies Mosaic a Sign

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:28 am

Butterfly buddies made a garden sign out of mosaic tiles a few months ago. Now it needs to be sealed and put on a post.


Seeds Grow Inside the Ovaries of Flowers

Filed under: 2009-2010 School Year — gardenexplorer1 @ 6:24 am

Kindergarteners looked carefully at pollinated flowers making the transition to becoming fruit. They found all stages of fruit development — flowers; flowers that had tiny seed pods growing inside; flowers that had dropped their petals and left a tiny seed pod along with the stamen; and seed pods at various stages of growth with no flower attached.

They also found several different kinds of plants that have gone to seed –unintentionally and intentionally. English peas, sweet peas, broccoli, radishes — all with seed pods.