Besides being cheap when it comes to doing science,I also like to think of ideas that help connect the curriculum and kids to the real world!
In Pre-K and K here in Virginia, teachers have to teach children about the senses. Senses are really important to scientists. They help us collect information which can be used to help us answer our questions. Typically I have created center activities in which children learn about each sense and the body parts that are associated with either sight, smell, taste, hearing, or feeling. But when I was at my mother-in-laws last week, my kids gave me a great idea!
As we were watering her flowers, my daughter Beth noticed grandma has a rosemary plant. Both of us were excited as we love the smell! This is where the idea came from!Why not create a sense garden in that spot of the school yard that needs a little bit of freshening up! So what could you plant?
For sense of Sight: plant various plants that will showcase color throughout the spring or even in the fall-roses, tulips, maybe even plant a flowering bush!
For Smell-this is my favorite-plant basil, thyme, rosemary!
For Texture-Lamb’s Ear for the softness of its leaves, Coreopsis for its feathery leaves, or a Sedum such as Hen and Chicks for their spiky leaves.
For Sound-if you can, add a small pond with running water or a small outdoor fountain! Or use some wind chimes. You can also put up a bird feeder to draw birds to your garden.
For Taste-be sure to get approval-but you could plant some berry bushes!
So how do you connect a garden to the curriculum-easy-have children go out and explore the plants and work with you to generate words that describe the plants.This is a great way to build vocabulary.
Writing-you can work with children to write what they hear when they go out into the garden or to write sentences that describe what the garden looks like to someone who is not there.
Measurement-a sense garden is great opportunity to measure how plants change over time-students use non-standard or standard units of measurements to measure plants.
How to build a raised garden-found this at home depot-http://www.homedepotgardenclub.com/us/en/landscaping/projects/how-to-build-a-raised-garden-bed?contentid=1142
or here is another idea-simply plant the plants in containers! My mother-in-law took an area by her pool and dug up the grass, put down weed blocker paper, covered the paper with rocks,and then planted her herbs and other items in containers! This way you could move the garden if you needed to! Much cheaper as well-with containers you don’t have to buy all the other materials to make a raised garden bed!