Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Video: Beehive in the White House's Garden

Bees play an important role in any garden as they help pollinate plants.

Check out this neat video about the beehive in the White House's garden!

Use this video as a launching point for a discussion on pollination or the role of insects in your garden!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Activity: Where Do Your Fruits/Veggies Grow?

In this math and geography lesson, students will recognize where various fruits and vegetables are grown and realize the importance of eating locally.

  • Map
  • List of where fruits and vegetables are grown (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Calculator (optional)
  • Pencils
Set up options
  • Students can work individually or as teams
  • Students can research where fruits/veggies are grown or you can provide a list of for students
  • Using a map, have students calculate the number of miles it takes to ship a fruit/vegetable from where it is grown to your school.
  • Have students label the map to identify where the fruit/vegetable is grown.  Using the ruler draw a line from the place of origin to your school.
  • Have students use the scale on the map to calculate the number of miles the fruit/vegetable travels.
  • Compare and contrast the distance between various items.
  • As a class, discuss the importance of growing/buying locally. 
    • What is the environmental impact of shipping fruits and vegetables?
    • What sorts of fruits/vegetables should students try to buy/grow locally? 
    • Are any of these items being grown in your garden?
    • What are the advantages/disadvantages of being able to ship these products across the country/world?

To find what fruits and vegetables are local to your state and to others, visit The National Resource Defense Council website. Use this site to create a list of fruits/vegetables and their locations for your students to map. This website also allows you to search by season!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pictures: Hillcrest Elementary's Container Garden

As the school year wraps up, pictures from school garden projects keep flooding in.  Here are some wonderful pictures from Hillcrest Elementary School in Oneida, Wisconsin.

First and fifth grade students teamed up to create container gardens.  Students planted beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peas and tomatoes.  A container garden has a low start up cost and is a perfect for schools without a lot of outdoor space.  Check it out!

To learn how to start your own container garden, visit the "Resources" section of the Got Dirt? website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Veggie Swap

School gardens offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with community members. 

Consider hosting your own Veggie Swap featuring the fresh produce from your garden.  Invite nearby school gardens and local and family gardeners to harvest the fresh produce from their garden and come together for a fun gardening event.

Gardeners can share and swap their produce.  Parents and students can create a pot luck with the fresh produce and celebrate your harvest.

This is the perfect opportunity to try a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and share your bountiful harvest. It can also be an inspirational evening of learning gardening advice and tips for the next gardening season.

Best of all, your students will realize that they are a part of a larger gardening community and their eyes will be opened to even more fruits and veggies.

Check out the map of school gardens in Wisconsin to find a fellow gardener near you.  If you have a school garden and aren't featured on the map, let us know and we'll gladly add your school garden!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

100th Post & Photos of Sand Lake Elementary's Garden

This entry marks GotDirtWi's 100th blog post!  What better way to celebrate than with pictures of a school garden!

Fourth grade students from Sand Lake Elementary, in Holmen, Wisconsin, created an in-ground garden with their Got Dirt? grant.  They started some plants indoors and then transplanted them into the new garden.  Check out all of their hard work!

(Starting plants in the classroom)

(Measuring out the garden)

(Getting ready to transplant)

(Working hard!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two School Garden Grant Opportunities

The gardening season is finally here in Wisconsin.  And with that comes the cost of implementing your gardening dreams.

Here are a couple of grant opportunities to help make those dreams reality...

Learn and Serve America Grant (Grant deadline: June 15, 2010)

Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) is offering grants to fund service learning projects for the 2010-2011 school year.  As DPI explains, the grant "supports service-learning in K-12 school to support the implementation and institutionalization of service-learning as a key instructional methodology for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills across the curriculum."

School garden programs offer a perfect service learning opportunity as students plan, organize, and create their garden project.  Plus, there are countless curriculum connections possible.
Check out DPI's website for a grant application and additional details.  While the application and guidelines are quite lengthy, it is worth checking out!

AMA Healthy Living Grant Program (Grant deadline: July 15, 2010)

The AMA Foundation created this grant to address our nation's major health issues, including obesity, tobacco, and alcohol.  "These grants provide critical funding that can jumpstart a project, affect change quickly, increase visibility for a project/organization, encourage collaboration and make a lasting difference in a community."

An estimated 15-25 grants, valued up $5,000 each, will be distributed to nonprofit organizations that address issues of nutrition/physical fitness; alcohol, substance abuse and smoking prevention; and violence prevention.

A school garden program is a natural fit for the Nutrition/Physical Fitness category.  Applicants in this category must include at least one nutrition objective and one physical activity objective.  School gardens encourage healthy eating by increasing children's knowledge and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.   Plus, gardening is a great form of physical activity.  The learning possibilities and objectives are endless!

For additional information, requirements and an application, click here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Photos: Hayward Primary School's Microfarm

Second grade students at Hayward Primary School in Hayward Wisconsin have been busy working on their school garden.  After receiving a Got Dirt? grant, they created a Microfarm to help grow plants in their classroom.  Check out their fabulous work!

Planting the Microfarm trays

Plants growing in the Microfarm

Learning how to transplant

Learning the parts of a plant

Thumbs Up for Vegetables!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June School Garden Ideas

At the beginning of each month, the Got Dirt? WI blog features a variety of month-specific ways to incorporate your school garden into your classroom.

June means growing season here in Wisconsin.  As your garden begins to burst with produce, incorporate some of these garden activities to keep children excited and interested in the growing process!

June:  National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month--What a fabulous theme for the month! Celebrate an entire month of fruits/vegetables from the garden or visit your local farmers' market for more fresh produce.  Try something new each week and broaden your students' horizons.  They may be surprised at what they like!

June 5: World Environment Day--Celebrate environments near and far.  Compare and contrast the environment in your backyard to the environment in another part of the world.  How does the environment impact what you can/cannot grow in your garden?  Draw pictures of what it would look like outside the window at a school in another part of the world.  Hang these windows to the world around your classroom.

June 6: National Gardening Exercise Day--Have fun with this day and take your students outside to run, skip, jump and play in the garden.  They can imitate a plant growing by standing tall and stretching high.  Have students create a garden relay race.  Use a vegetable as a baton or have students balance a vegetable on a spoon.  No matter the activity, have students go outside and enjoy playing among fruits and vegetables!

June 10: Iced Tea Day--Take a break from all that watering, weeding, and gardening to enjoy a nice, cold glass of iced tea!

June 13: Weed Your Garden Day--Make today a work day in the garden.  Teach students the difference between weeds and plants.  Recruit volunteer to give your garden a good weeding so that you have a bountiful harvest!

June 15: Fly a Kite Day--Get outside and enjoy the summer by flying a kite!

June 16: Fresh Veggies Day--A perfect opportunity to pick vegetables from your garden and enjoy a summer snack!  If your vegetables aren't quite ready to be harvested, have each student bring a different type of vegetable to share at snack time.  Find out students' favorite fresh veggie snack!

June 17: Eat Your Vegetables Day--Another wonderful chance to have students try new and unfamiliar vegetables.  Have students tally all the vegetables they ate for the day.  Create a graph as a class to find out the most popular and/or most unusual vegetables eaten.

June 18: International Picnic Day--Go on a picnic with your class.  You can pack healthy foods from your garden or go on your picnic in the garden.  There's nothing like eating among fruits and veggies!

June 20: Father's Day--Give Dad a hug!

June 21: First Day of Summer

June 25: Eric Carle's Birthday--Read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed, which beautifully illustrates the lifecycle of a plant.

What garden activities do you have planned for the month of June? Share them below!