Active Game Stations:
Biodiversity Game- - The first round, everyone has a yellow piece of paper taped to their shirt. They are all characterized as “one species of corn”. There is one kid who is the murderer who is characterized by the adult as “the drought” or “the plant disease”, or “the bug pest”. The leader of the game whispers to the murderer to kill all the corn species who have a yellow paper on their chest. All the kids walk around, shaking each other’s hands. The murderer kills the kids who have the yellow paper on their shirts (which is everyone) by tickling their hand when they shake it. The adult explains that when all the corn is the same, they might all be killed by the same natural occurrence. In the second round, everyone is given different colors to indicate different species of corn. The same thing happens but the adult whispers just one of the colors for the murder (i.e. bug pest) to kill. Only a few of the kids die instead of all of them. The adult indicates that with a variety of species of corn, natural occurrences only kill a portion of our food supply. Ask the kids which one they think would be better for making sure we always have corn for food.
Red Light Green Light- The adult will use ideas that hurt plants or help them. Have students run when something that helps plants is yelled out (rain, worms, sun, compost…) and stop them when something that hurts them is yelled out (a hurricane, pollution, stink bugs…).
Take Home Projects:
Planting seeds in take home containers- The kids will start by sitting together in a circle. The adult will ask, does anybody know what a plant needs to grow? The kids will list different things that plants need to grow. The teacher will show a plant that has been planted in a cup a week or so before, and will point out how a seed so quickly grows into a plant, and will point out the different plant parts. You can see the stem, the roots, the cotyledon, and the leaves. Step by step, the kids will plant their very own seeds to take home with them. They will be instructed on how to take care of their plants, and transplant them to somewhere with more space when they get big enough. If they get done early, they will have the opportunity draw what they hope their plant will look like.
“The world as an ant”- Kids will have a partner. The pairs will be taken to a certain part of the garden and given as piece of string about 4 feet long, a clipboard with a piece of paper, and colored pencils. They will lay their piece of string somewhere in the garden. It can be draped over plants, or lying along the ground. Then they will pretend like they are an ant traveling along the path of the string. They will draw their journey along the string from an ant’s point of view. For example, if the string goes over a few drops of water, it might show up as a huge lake on their drawing. (Great for kids who like to draw.)
Pattern Station- Students will be sent on a scavenger hunt to find naturally occurring patterns in the garden. They will then re-group, and either present what they have found, or draw what they have found. We will then compare with pictures we have printed out of lightning bolts, plant roots, veins, pictures of flowers etc to see if we find re-occurring pattern similarities.
Whole Group Activities:
Red Rover, Red Rover- The students will be split into two groups. One side will be water and one side will be soil. For each round, the soil side will space themselves to be a different kind of soil. When they are sand, they’ll stand very far apart. When they are silt, they’ll be closer together. When compost, they’ll be perfectly spaced, and when they’re clay, they’ll be super close together. For each round, the water will try and run through the soil. Then we’ll discuss the ability of water to penetrate different kinds of soil. (If done early, we will play another active game)
Reflection & Closing in the center of the garden-
Reflection Activities could include:
- Solo Time- Kids are given food for thought and then asked to choose his/her favorite place in the garden and sits there silently for 3-5 minutes (depending on age group). Then we discuss why they chose their place and what they thought about.
- Plant Interpretation- Kids are given and supplies to creatively express their favorite vegetable from the garden by drawing, writing, acting, dancing etc. They will have the opportunity to share their interpretations with the group if they want.