Our Garden STEAM Curriculum
Thanks to a grant from THE AMERICAN HONDA FOUNDATION, Green Our Planet was able to hire a group of teachers from So. Nevada’s Clark County School District teamed and a group of local horticultural teachers to create a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum so that lessons can be taught in an outdoor teaching garden. The group created the lessons to Nevada State and Next Generation Science Standards and the curriculum was published on-line in September, 2014. The goals of the STEM lessons are to engage students’ CURIOSITY and to create EXCITEMENT around science and math through hands-on EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING in outdoor garden classrooms.
The team of teachers worked together so that the lessons build upon on another other from one grade to the next. By the time a student reaches third grade, he or she will understand how the entire ecosystem of a garden works–from the importance of sunshine and water to the role soil and insects play in the success of a garden. In fourth grade, students expand their horizons to understand the role of their garden as part of the natural world. In the fifth grade, the students will see how growing food locally can impact their own community and ultimately the health of an entire city.
- Pre-K students are the GARDEN EXPLORERS and they learn how to explore the garden using their senses.
- Kindergarten students will learn the basic elements behind the GARDEN ECOSYSTEM from the importance of sunshine and water to their own role as caretakers of the garden.
- A first grader will learn to identify the key stages of the LIFE CYCLE OF PLANTS and will review the basic needs for each stage of a plant’s life cycle.
- Second grade students are encouraged to be GARDEN DETECTIVES. Armed with their science journals, they will OBSERVE INSECTS in the garden to understand what the insects eat, and will learn about insect feeding preferences and how those preferences impact the ecosystem of the garden. Second graders add to their previous knowledge by learning about how to encourage beneficial and how to discourage harmful insects in the garden.
- Third grade students will learn about the different types of SOIL, the components of soil, and will also analyze how weather, climate and erosion affect soil and plant growth.
- Fourth grade students will focus on natural systems by observing patterns in nature and will explore the FLOW OF ENERGY, INPUTS AND OUTPUTS in the school garden setting.
- Fifth grade lessons are broken into two units: The FARMERS’ MARKET unit focuses on training students how to create and run their own business, which is a successful Farmers’ Market. The second unit focuses on FOOD JUSTICE in the local community and around the world.