H.E. White has incorporated school gardening into the curriculum with many different lessons that support student inquiry and connection to the natural world by engaging students in real world learning. Students have learned many aspects of gardening including: learning how to grow their own food, plotting-area and perimeter, watching the seeds, plants, soil, water and sun come together to transform their plant into a vegetable product served in their cafeteria, temperature variations, water requirements as well as all the health benefits of gardening.
From the WVU Extension Office community partners Rena Hubbard worked with the students each week on nutrition and Mike Shamblin worked with the students in the high tunnel. Students have been busy producing, harvesting and selling different varieties of lettuce and have enjoyed eating what they have grown. The preschool and kindergarten classes planted dinosaur kale which they are planning to harvest and make into kale chips later this month.
The students have gathered data on the different varieties of plants, analyzed, graphed, documented and wrote about their experiences in the garden. Temperature fluctuations in the high tunnel have surprised many students. Two of the classes have earth boxes in their rooms with grow lights. They have compared the different growth rates between the high tunnel and the earth boxes. Three classrooms have worm farms and the students have recycled the scraps from the garden to feed the worms. The Community School’s high tunnel garden has produced vegetables that have been harvested and served in the school lunch program, sold to other schools in the county and served at school dinners. They are in the planning stages of the spring and summer crops.
To create a healthier environment at the school along with gardening, the students and staff have been using fitness devices daily to track physical activity. On their iPads all staff and students can see each other’s step counts, sleep results and compete in challenges and weekly contests. The student’s physical activity has increased from competing with their peers and the staff. The total step count this week for the staff and grades 3-5 was 757,082 steps which equals approximately 378 miles. That is equivalent to walking to Nashville, Tennessee. Congratulations to the top five students and staff leaders.
First place – Rosalind, Ms. April Kearns; second place – Elijah A., Mrs. Alice Bowe; Third place – Sierra, Mrs. Kim Childers; Fourth place, Johnna, Mr. Dustin Vaughan and Fifth place, Moses, Mr. Dylan Vaughan.