LinkingGardens toSchool Curriculum
he following pages provide ideas on how to integrate gardening with class-room curriculum. Although science is the most natural fit, with the schoolgarden playing the role of science laboratory, the classroom garden can alsoact as a springboard for a wide range of lessons in mathematics, history-social science, English-language arts, visual and performing arts, and health.Begin by looking at the education standards and your own curriculum goals andmaking a list or map of areas you intend to cover. Make a second list of gardentasks, projects, and goals, and match them with the student outcomes detailed in thestandards. Next, select or develop specific activities that can help students achievethe standards. The lists that follow represent just a samplingof garden-focused subject area activities to get you started.Free garden curriculum resources for teachers areplentiful. Check out the “Curriculum” link on the CaliforniaSchool Garden Network Web site at
for lessonand activity ideas. Additionally, the California Department of Education published the book
A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California EducationStandards, Grades Two Through Six,
which identifies specificactivities found in a variety of commonly used curriculumbooks that meet California standards in science, history-social science, mathematics, and English-language arts.
The garden provides ample opportunity for makingscience inviting and relevant to students’ lives by inspiringactive exploration and problem solving. The garden encour-ages inquiry as students use their senses, reasoning, andcommunication skills to find answers to questions. Theseexperiences can help improve students’ attitude toward science. Key science con-cepts that can be explored in the garden include organisms, cycles, basic require-ments for life, plant anatomy, adaptations, food webs, decomposition, interdepen-dence, ecological principles, pollination, and diversity of life. Students practice andhone scientific process skills by observing, classifying, inferring, measuring, predict-ing, organizing and interpreting data, forming hypotheses, and identifying variables.
Gardens for Learning: Linking Gardens to School Curriculum
Teachers use the garden as ameaningful tool for integratingscience with core curriculum. Thegarden helps to make learningaccessible to all students regardlessof their background, talents, orlanguage proficiency. Whenstudents plan, plant, care for, andanalyze their gardens, science andlearning take on meaning likenever before.
Lance Omeje, TeacherYokomi Elementary SchoolFresno, CA