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Growing Minds is a program of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.

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Garden lesson plans

Classroom Activity Accompanying Books Description Suggested Month
Planting in the Garden The Giant Carrot Working in teams, students plan their garden and plant fall vegetables while learning what different plants need in order to grow. August
Introduction to Watering the Garden Water, Weed, and Wait  Students will learn that plants need water just like people and animals need water. They will explore dry and wet soil and be able to describe the difference between them. Students will practice testing soil for dampness using their fingers and will be introduced to a rain gauge and its purpose. August
Searching the Garden Safely Jack’s Garden As a class, students will create “garden tips” that will teach and reinforce appropriate garden behavior. Students will use their senses to explore and investigate the world around them. August
Edible vs. Non-Edible Gregory the Terrible Eater Students will learn the difference between edible and non-edible and understand how these concepts connect to a garden and the objects and properties of a garden. Through a visit to the garden and by utilizing charts and discussion questions, students will expand their understanding of edible, non-edible, and the garden environment. September
Garden Alphabet Book Farmer’s Alphabet Students will make observations and build an understanding of the properties of common objects in the garden. They will share information about what is in the garden by describing the objects through illustration and descriptive writing. September
Butterfly Life Cycle Where Butterflies Grow Students take a close look at a butterfly’s life cycle and learn about the life cycles of all insects. They make a butterfly life cycle book and take a trip to the garden to observe butterflies. October
Changing Leaves and Changing Seasons Leaves Fall Down: Learning about Autumn Leaves Teach students about changing seasons and the season of autumn. Students create a leaf spinner and record daily temperatures. October
Harvesting in the Garden Pick, Pull, Snap!: Where Once a Flower Bloomed Students learn proper harvesting methods and work together to begin harvesting the vegetables they planted. November
Roots in the Garden and on the Plate Tops & Bottoms This project introduces students to the different components of plants and explores the job of roots for plant health. The kids explore different roots that are edible and start growing a sweet potato root in the classroom. Students take a trip to the garden, and explore the roots of weeds. November
Stem Exploration Stems Continue teaching students about the parts of plants and their functions. Use the garden to teach a hands-on plant based activity. November
Garden Friends (Insects and More!) Cucumber Soup, Insects are my Life Students learn about insects and bugs that live in the garden and discover which are beneficial or harmful to the plants. They learn the basic anatomy of insects and make fingerprint insect paintings. After the kids learn about insects, they go out to the garden to see if they can find and/or identify any bugs. December
Making Garden Signs Our School Garden Students make garden and plant identification signs for their garden. January
Soil Exploration Dirt Through garden exploration, students will learn about the properties of soil and why soil is important to plants. They will closely observe soil and practice tallying and reporting results of soil experiments. January
Garden Amendments First Peas to the Table, Eddie’s Garden In this lesson, students learn about soil and the nutrients plants need to thrive, complete a soil-based journaling activity, and add amendments to their garden bed. February
Garden Planning This Year’s Garden
 Through a hands-on activity, students learn about mapping and construct a bird’s-eye view picture of a garden bed. Students work together to make group decisions in planning a classroom garden. February
Seasons on a Farm The Year at Maple Hill Farm, And the Good Brown Earth Students learn about seasonal weather patterns and their effects on local farms and gardens. Use qualitative and quantitative measurements to describe weather. March
Soil Temperature Students will use thermometers to measure soil temperature and use the information to determine if the soil is warm enough to support plant growth. March
Poetry in the Garden In Our Backyard Garden Students use their five senses to observe the garden and record what they hear, feel, smell, see, and taste through writing a variety of poems. April
Seed Starting From Seed to Plant Students learn how to start seeds, care for them indoors, and transplant them into the garden. They gain knowledge of what a seed needs to sprout. April
All About Worms Wonderful Worms, Winnie Finn: Worm Farmer Teach students about life cycles by learning about worms and the ways they benefit the garden and farms. Through reading literature and completing hands-on activities, the class will conduct a worm investigation and observe that the organisms (and other animals) need food, air and space to grow. May
Honey Bees Brilliant Bees, Honey Bee Man Students learn about communication by exploring honey bees and comparing them to other insects and animals. This lesson introduces students to the collaboration and cooperative efforts required for honey bee survival. May

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