Plant it for the Planet!January 2, 2020
In 2019, Cadence Park School was awarded an IPSF Innovative Grant. These grants help to fund innovative approaches, which bring deeper meaning to curriculum and improve the educational experiences of students. At Cadence Park, they used the grant to build a garden to enhance instruction and student learning opportunities in a variety of school subjects. Each garden bed was assigned to a different classroom and each teacher could choose how their class would use it. After fruits and vegetables were fully grown, students could pick the produce from their assigned garden bed to take home.
Preston Trebas, 5th Grade teacher at Cadence Park, incorporated his math unit into the garden. For example, when learning surface area, he would ask students, “How much paint would we need to paint the entire outside surface of the garden bed?” Before his class started their garden, he had his student’s research the different plants they wanted to grow. The students then created presentations of their findings and pitched their ideas to grow the specific plants.
Veronica O’Mara, 4th and 5th Grade teacher, used the garden to show her students how important it is to take care of things you care about. Students learned about the importance of trial and error learning when something didn’t grow properly. She wanted students to find a love for nature and understand that gardening is a process, and sometimes doesn’t go as planned.
The goal was for students to take away three things from the garden. First, that they gain a deeper commitment to want to take care of the planet. Second, they will eventually own and take care of their own garden. Lastly, that students learn that time spent outside with nature, is time well spent.
“Kids are growing up surrounded by more technology than ever, showing students that being outside can be fun and rewarding was my ultimate goal,” explains Preston Trebas.
This Innovative Grant provided the students at Cadence Park School with the opportunity to work and learn outside of the classroom. The garden became a place for students and teachers to get hands-on experience in the gardening process and apply it to their curriculum.