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Garden Unit Study - Project Based Learning Curriculum with Resources

We began our first morning of this unit by learning about George Washington Carver and his significant contributions to modern farming. We discussed how he discovered that continuously planting cotton depletes the soil of vital nutrients like nitrogen, and how rotating crops can replenish these nutrients, resulting in healthier soil and better yields.

(The Who Was? Show is always great, if you have access to Netflix, this is one to add to your to watch list!)

Then they undertook a research project breaking off into small teams to identify at least five products (out of the 300+ Carver developed) made from peanuts. They collaborated exceptionally well and uncovered some surprising items, including nitroglycerin, which is used in TNT!

Raising Brain Northern Virginia Microschool Homeschool Co-op Fauquier, Culepeper, Rappahannock, Warren, County Viriginia
Students made a peanut plant, cutting out the leaves, peanuts, and roots. They each listed an item peanuts were used to make.

Next we went out to plan, build, and plant our garden! There was a lot of measuring, cutting, and drilling. They all did such a great job and worked together so nicely. We talked about how the food they grow will be donated to our local food bank.

After everything was planted, some of the older learners organized a rock painting activity. On their own they prepared small trays, assigned each learner a vegetable to paint for marking our garden, and helped everyone through the process.

Microschool Northern Virginia - Homeschool Coop Fauquier Culpeper Rappahannock Sperryville Warren Front Royal Winchester
Raising Brain Microschool Homeschool Co-op northern virginia - Rock painting garden markers

Later in the week we decided to plant a mini garden in a glove. for this you will need:

We started off by sorting the seeds onto paper plates labeled for each vegetable that was in the pack. This took some time, but it was a fun group effort, that required communication, organizing, fine motor skills, and focus. Once they were all sorted the students each grabbed a glove and wrote their name on them with a permanent marker. Next, they chose 5 vegetables they wanted to grow from the pack, and wrote them one on each finger. After everything was labeled they put 1 cotton ball in each finger of the glove and then sprinkled a few seeds into each labeled finger. Once all of the seeds were added they used the pipettes to add 3 drops of water into each finger. Lastly we blew some air into them and tied them with a wire closure or rubber band. We placed our mini gardens in a sunny window and they started to sprout within a few days. Once they start growing you can transplant them into pots or small cups for them to take home and plant. We did learn that if they use too much water the seeds will get moldy. We had to discard quite a few on our first try! This is a great opportunity to talk about photosynthesis and what is required for plants to survive: sunlight, water, air, and soil.

One of our local florists was so kind and donated beautiful fresh cut flowers to our school for this unit. We used them for our Georgia O'Keeffe art study, where we talked about her style of painting. The students made view finders out of construction paper to help "zoom in" on a section of the flower they wanted to paint. We talked about how she used the whole canvas and really paid close attention to up close details of the flower. We talked about parts of the flower, and labeled them on our board so the students could try to find them on their flowers.

We also made seed bombs, I ordered a bag of mixed seeds and they tore up pieces of construction paper to make a pulp by adding a little bit of water at a time. once the consistency was good (should be like clay) they added about a tablespoon of seeds into their pulp mixture and mixed it in and formed them into balls. Once these dry, they can take them home and plant them about 4" in soil to grow.

Raising Brain Microschool Northern Virginia - Homeschool coop rappahannock culpeper warrenton faquier front royal warren sperryville virginia


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