Halton Environmental Network

Lessons


Providing Climate Change Education and Resources in the Community of Halton since 2004
Learn More About Our Programs

HEN School Workshops

Are you an educator or school administrator in the Halton Region? HEN provides climate change and environmental workshops including hands-on activities and valuable resources for teachers and children!

In addition to the curriculum-linked K-6 lessons below, we also offer workshops and presentations for Grades 7-12. Please reach out to find out more about our workshops covering topics such as biodiversity, composting, sustainable gardening, climate change, careers in the environmental sector, and more! Get in touch using the link below - we look forward to hearing from you!


All Grades

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Garden Mapping and Planning

(late fall or winter)

Grade: 1-6
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Math - Measurement: Estimating perimeter, area, length, height, width, and distance
Math - Geometry and Spatial Sense: compare grid systems commonly used on maps

Description: Gardening and farming don’t end when the weather gets cold; when it’s too cold to garden, it’s time to plan next year’s garden! This lesson can be done in 2 60-minute parts, if timing allows.
During the first lesson, we will go to the garden to map and measure the garden, and to observe different garden elements, such as shady areas, etc. In the second lesson, we will brainstorm the students’ favourite food plants and study the growing needs of different plants and where we could plant them in the garden. Each student will plan their ideal school food garden.


Seed Starting

(March - April)

Grade: K-6
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Hands-on garden experience; life cycles; seeds

Description: Many food plants need heat to grow, and need a longer growing season than we have here in Ontario. In March and April, we will start seeds indoors that can grow indoors until they are ready to be transplanted in the outdoor garden. Students will have a chance to see their seeds grow, learn how to take care of them, and make predictions of how their seedlings will grow.

Direct Seeding

(April, May and early September)

Grade: K-6
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Hands-on garden experience

Description: Some plants like growing in cool weather or do not like being transplanted – these get seeded directly in the garden.  Many of these plants (salad greens, radishes, etc) grow very quickly and will be harvested before the end of the school year.  This will give students the chance to play an active role in the garden and they will soon be able to see the results of their work in the garden.  With younger grades we will also play a matching game, to identify what seeds come from which plants.

Transplanting

(End of May, beginning of June)

Grade: K-6
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Hands-on garden experience

Description: Working out in the garden, students will plant seedlings.  Having planted the vegetables themselves will give the students a sense of ownership and pride in the school garden.

Planting Garlic or Cover Crops

(Late October/Early November only)

Grade: K-6
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Hands-on garden experience

Description: Students will learn about garlic, why it gets planted in the fall, and will get to plant some garlic in the school garden after a brief demonstration.

Kindergarten

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


5 Senses in the Garden

(June, September and October)

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Language: use language in various contexts to connect new experiences with what they already know; use specialised vocabulary for a variety of purposes

Description: Students will discover the garden using all five senses; they will have the chance to smell and taste herbs and veggies, to touch some plants with interesting textures, to hear the bugs and birds in the garden and schoolyard, and see all of the beautiful colours in the garden.

Meeting Worms

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Inside or Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Language: use specialised vocabulary for a variety of purposes
Science and Technology: demonstrate an awareness of the natural and human-made environment through hands-on investigations, observation, questioning, and sharing of their findings

Description:
Students will learn about worms and vermicompost, and will get a chance to hold worms.  We will read a book about worms and do a drawing activity about what worms eat.


Let’s Meet the Garden

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Math: measuring using non-standard units

Description: Students will be in groups, and will have a list of items to find in the garden and in the schoolyard.  Using non-standard units (e.g. garden tools like trowels, gloves, plant pots, etc.) students will measure and compare the sizes of things in the garden.  

Plant Part Yoga

Grade: JK / SK
Location: In Class or Schoolyard
Time: 45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Learning about plant parts and plants that we eat; movement/physical activity

Description: Students will learn about the different parts of plants and how they work together.  We will focus on plant parts that we eat and categorize them. We will then review the different parts of a plant by doing a stretch where we pretend we are seeds growing into plants.

Seed-to-Plant Match

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Inside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Where plants come from; matching; spelling/writing; oral communication

Description: Students will hear a story about seeds.  We will then look at some different seeds and what plants grow from them.  Students will work on a worksheet, where they will match different seeds to plants. 

Colour Scavenger Hunt

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Outside in Garden/Schoolyard
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
To practice observation skills by exploring the natural world; to create art using natural materials; to practice colour vocabulary

Description: How many colours can you find in the garden and around the schoolyard? Probably more than you thought! Students will work in pairs using a set of colour chips to find different coloured natural objects in the garden and schoolyard. We will then use those objects to draw pictures on paper.

Seed Movement Drama

Grade: JK / SK
Location: Outside Schoolyard
Time: 45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives:
To learn about seeds and what they do; to observe the structures of seeds; to incorporate daily physical activity into classroom learning

Description: This lesson will start with a storybook about seeds and how they travel. We will then act out how the different seeds move during an active drama activity.

Grade 1

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Shapes in Nature

Grade: 1
Location: Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Math: Geometry and Spatial Sense: Geometric Properties: identify and describe common three-dimensional figures and sort and classify them by their attributes, using concrete materials and pictorial representations

Description: Did you know that plants in the mint family have square stems?  What plants in the garden have symmetrical leaves and which do not?  Students will look at and identify different shapes in the natural environment in and around the schoolyard and will draw them on a worksheet.

Garden Nature Maps

Grade: 1
Location: Garden / Schoolyard
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Math: Geometry and Spatial Sense: describe the relative locations of objects on concrete maps created in the classroom

Description: Students will explore the garden and observe the different things in the garden (garden plots, compost bins, large rocks, fences, trees…).  In small groups, they will make a map of the garden, using natural materials found in the garden and in the schoolyard, which they will then present to the class.  (The maps will only be temporary,  so we can take photos so that they can be discussed later on.)

Meeting Worms: Needs and Characteristics

Grade: 1
Location: Inside or Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Needs and Characteristics of Living Things): Investigate and compare the basic needs of humans and other living things, including the need for air, water, food, warmth, and space, using a variety of methods and resources; Investigate and compare the physical characteristics of a variety of plants and animals, including humans; Describe how the things plants and animals use to meet their needs are changed by their use and are returned to the environment in different forms

Description: Students will learn about earthworms, their basic needs, their environment and their roles in the garden. Students will also get a chance to hold a worm if they would like to. We will start the lesson with a book about worms, and then work on a worksheet about what worms eat.

Plant Parts Matching and Drama

Grade: 1
Location: Inside
Time: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Needs and Characteristics of Living Things): Identify what living things provide for other living things.

Description: We will start with an introduction about the different parts of plants and their functions.  We will then look at a variety of familiar foods and identify what part of the plant we are eating, and learn to recognize how dependent we are on plants for our food.  We will finish with a matching and movement activity in small groups, where students act out different plant parts.

Cycles in Nature – Seasonal Scavenger Hunts

Grade: 1
Location: Garden
Time: 4 60-minute sessions

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Earth and Space Systems (Daily and Seasonal Changes): Define a cycle as a circular sequence of events; Describe and compare the four seasons; Describechanges in the appearance or behaviour of living things that are adaptations to seasonal changes; Describe how humans prepare for and/or respond to daily and seasonal changes

Description: We will visit the garden and observe changes that have occurred with the changing seasons (e.g. looking for signs of spring in the garden). We will discuss different garden activities in the four seasons and students will create a cyclical drawing to demonstrate the four seasons. (This lesson does not have to be done 4 times with HEN staff. Worksheets/scavenger hunts for other seasons can be shared after the first session.)

Five Senses in the Garden

Grade: 1
Location: Garden / Schoolyard
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology:Understanding Life Systems (Needs and Characteristics of Living Things): Investigate characteristics of parts of the human body, including the five sense organs, and explain how those characteristics help humans meet their needs and explore the world around them, using a variety of methods and resources; Identify the location and function of majorparts of the human body, including sense organs

Description: The lesson will start with a review of the 5 senses, matching them with the organs that we use for the senses.  Outside, students will make observations and fill out a worksheet, in the schoolyard or in the garden.

Where Does Our Food Come From?

Grade: 1 - 2
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

Description: Where does our food come from? Who grows it and how does it get to us? What transportation is required for the food to travel to us? Who are the people involved in this process? Students will be introduced to different steps in the food system, and students in older grades will learn about the concept of food miles. This workshop will involve a mix of work in small groups and as a whole class.

Oakville public school teachers - please sign up for this specific workshop using this link: https://teachers.theocf.org/programs/where-does-our-food-come-from/


Grade 2

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


5 Senses in the Garden

(June, September and October)

Grade: 2
Location: Garden / Schoolyard
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Language: Writing: Write short texts using several simple form

Description: The lesson will start with a review of the 5 senses, matching them with the organs that we use for the senses.  Outside, students will make observations and fill out a worksheet, in the schoolyard or in the garden.

Seed Detectives

Grade: 2
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes
Learning Objectives: plant life cycles; seed parts; comparing using observation and charts
Description: Students will be “seed detectives”, observing differences between different types of seeds.  Students will also dissect a bean seed, and observe and sketch the different parts of a seed.  We will also briefly introduce the life cycle of a plant, starting from a seed.

Meeting Worms: Characteristics and Adaptations

Grade: 2
Location: Inside or Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Language: Identify words or phrases that indicate whether and oral text is fact or opinion; identify several different purposes for reading and choose reading materials   appropriate for those purposes

Description: We will start by reading “Diary of a Worm” and discussing the purpose of the book, and whether it is factual or fictional.   Students will get a chance to hold worms and learn about their physical characteristics and how these help worms survive.   Students will also work on a worksheet, comparing fictional and nonfictional elements from the story.

Mapping the Garden

Grade: 2
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Math: Geometry and Spatial Sense: Describe the relative locations and the movement of objects on a map; draw simple maps of familiar settings, and describe the relative locations of objects on the map

Description: Students will draw a simple map of the garden, noting major elements such as the garden plots, the compost bins, the trees and shrubs, the large rocks and the fences.  The relative location to the school and the street (and other landmarks) can be noted.

Where Does Our Food Come From?

Grade: 1-2
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

Description:
Where does our food come from? Who grows it and how does it get to us? What transportation is required for the food to travel to us? Who are the people involved in this process? Students will be introduced to different steps in the food system, and students in older grades will learn about the concept of food miles. This workshop will involve a mix of work in small groups and as a whole class.

Oakville public school teachers - please sign up for this specific workshop using this link: https://teachers.theocf.org/programs/where-does-our-food-come-from/


Food Stories

Grade: 2-4
Location: Classroom
Time: 2 60-minute sessions

Learning Objectives:
Social Studies: Heritage and Identity: Changing Family and Community Traditions;
Language - Writing: Purpose and audience; developing ideas; voice; publishing

Description:
Eating is a social activity; though we might have favourite foods, we often also have memories linked with favourite meals where the food itself didn't play the central role. In the first lesson, students will hear a story about a family preparing a meal and eating together, and will then complete a worksheet where they will describe their own favourite meal memories. In the second lesson, students will use the information from their worksheet to create a coherent story of their favourite meal in comic strip format.
Extension Activities:
- Asking family members about their favourite meal experiences
- Linking some ingredients from favourite foods to what can be grown in the school garden


Grade 3

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Composting/Vermicomposting and Apple Earth

Grade: 3
Location: Inside or Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Earth and Space Systems (Soils in the Environment): Investigate the process of composting, and explain some advantages and disadvantages of composting

Description:
Apple Earth:  An apple is used to demonstrate both the amount of topsoil that is available for growing food and the importance of maintaining it.  Composting:  We will discuss the benefits of composting, what can and cannot be composted (and why), and examine the differences between backyard composting and the Green Bin.  If available, we will visit the compost system in the garden to see the different stages of compost and, depending on the season, we can spread finished compost onto the garden plots. If the school does not have a compost bin, this lesson can include learning about vermicomposting.


Grocery Bag Botany

Grade: 3
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology:Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants):
Identify the major parts of plants, and describe how each contributes to the plant’s survival within the plant’s environment

Description:
Students will learn to identify different plant parts that we eat.  In small groups, they will sort food items into the different plant part categories. Students will think of the foods that they eat regularly, and describe these foods using the plant parts.


Where does our food come from?

Grade: 3
Location: Inside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Describe the different ways in which plants are grown for food, and explain the advantages and disadvantages of locally grown and organically produced food, including environmental benefits

Description:
Through hands-on activities, students will match many of our favourite foods with the plants and animals that they come from, and learn about the origins of different foods.  We will also discuss how food is transported, and the differences between local and imported foods.  
Extension activities:
Students can ask their parents or grandparents whether they have ever harvested any wild foods (berries, mushrooms, gone hunting, etc).  Students can write and illustrate a story, or can present this story to their class orally.


Pollinator and Flower Adaptations

Grade: 3
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including stem, leaf, root, pistil, stamen, flower, adaptation, and germination, in oral and written communication; Identify the major parts of plants, including root, stem, flower, stamen, pistil, leaf, seed, and fruit, and describe how each contributes to the plant’s survival within the plant’s environment; Describe ways in which plants and animals depend on each other

Description:
Pollinators are essential for most of the world’s plants, and for much of our food production. We will discover different pollinators that help our garden and discuss how our garden helps pollinators. We will look at how flowers and pollinators have adapted to each other, and students will design a fictional flower and pollinator.      


Seed Scavenger Hunt

(Fall)

Grade: 3
Location: Inside / Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Plant needs, plant life cycles, plant parts;
Geometry and Spatial Sense: Location and Movement: complete and describe designs and pictures of images that have a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line of symmetry

Description:
After an introduction about seed structures and seed dispersal, students will explore the garden and the schoolyard looking for various seeds. Using a worksheet, students will describe different attributes of the seeds they find, such as shape, colour and size. They will also predict how the seed travels.
** This lesson is a good introduction to the Seed Saving lesson below and can be done a couple of weeks before the seed saving lesson. **


Seed Saving

(Fall)

Grade: 3
Location: Inside / Garden
Time: 80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Assess ways in which plants are important to humans and other living things, taking different points of view into consideration, and suggest ways in which humans can protect plants; Assess the impact of different human activities on plants, and list personal actions they can engage in to minimize harmful effects and enhance good effects. 
The Arts: Visual Arts: use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques to respond to design challenges

Description:
Students will harvest seeds from plants in the garden that can be planted in next year’s garden and that they can take home.  Students will observe existing seed packages to inspire them to design their own, which will include some information about the plant and its ideal growing conditions.  ** This lesson is a good follow-up to the Seed Scavenger Hunt lesson above, and can be done a few weeks after the scavenger hunt.**


How does a plant grow – Maple Seed Survival Game

Grade: 3
Location: Inside / Outside
Time: 45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Assess ways in which plants are important to humans and other living things, taking different points of view into consideration, and suggest ways in which humans can protect plants: Describe the basic needs of plants, including air, water, light, warmth and space; Identify examples of environmental conditions that may threaten plant survival

Description:
This lesson introduces or reviews the basic needs of plants, as well as factors that can threaten plant survival.  Students will work in small groups to determine, based on the positive and negative growing factors that they have (on cards provided), whether their maple seed would survive. This can be done as a quick drama activity. Students will then discuss factors that could potentially be harmful to plants in the school garden, and what they can do to help minimize those effects.


Seed Viability Testing

Grade: 3
Location: Classroom

Time: 60-80 minutes
(+daily observations)

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Growth and Changes in Plants): Germinate seeds and record similarities and differences as seedlings develop; Describe the changes that different plants undergo in their life cycles

Description:
Before planting seeds in the garden, it is important to know whether or not the seeds we have are viable (i.e. whether or not they will start to grow).  Using seeds saved from last year’s school garden (or seeds from seed packages), students will perform an experiment to see what percentage of seeds will germinate.


Soil Studies

Grade: 3
Location: Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Earth and Space Systems (Soils in the Environment): Investigate the components of soil, the condition of soil, and additives found in soil, using a variety of soil samples from different local environments, and explain how the different amounts of these components in a soil sample determine how the soil can be used; Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including clay, sand, loam, pebbles, earth materials, and soil, in oral and written communication; Identify and describe the different types of soils

Description:
Students will explore both the living and the non-living aspects of the soil in the garden and schoolyard.  They will also take soil samples from different parts of the schoolyard and perform experiments to check for soil composition.
Extension Activities:
- Design and perform an experiment to see which type of soil is best for growing plants.
- Observe the different soil samples to see what they are composed of.  Using fractions or percentages, establish how much of each soil sample is made up of which soil component.


Planting Garlic or Cover Crops

Grade: 3
Location: Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Matter and Energy (Forces Causing Movement): Assess the effects of the action of forces in nature (natural phenomena) on the natural and built environment, and identify ways in which human activities can reduce or enhance this impact

Description:
We will start with a lesson and brief demonstration about erosion, and how plants can help to prevent or reduce erosion.  We will then go to the garden and plant an overwintering crop (garlic) or a cover crop, which will grow in the fall and spring, and help reduce soil erosion in the garden.


Food Stories

Grade: 2-4
Location: Classroom
Time: 2 60-minute sessions

Learning Objectives:
Social Studies: Heritage and Identity: Changing Family and Community Traditions;
Language - Writing: Purpose and audience; developing ideas; voice; publishing

Description:
Eating is a social activity; though we might have favourite foods, we often also have memories linked with favourite meals where the food itself didn't play the central role. In the first lesson, students will hear a story about a family preparing a meal and eating together, and will then complete a worksheet where they will describe their own favourite meal memories. In the second lesson, students will use the information from their worksheet to create a coherent story of their favourite meal in comic strip format.
Extension Activities: 
- Asking family members about their favourite meal experiences
- Linking some ingredients from favourite foods to what can be grown in the school garden


Grade 4

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Food Chains in the Garden

Grade: 4
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science and Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Habitats and Communities); Build food chains consisting of different plants and animals; Demonstrate an understanding of food chains as systems in which energy from the sun is transferred to producers (plants) and then to consumers (animals); Classify organisms according to their role in the food chain (e.g., producer, consumer, decomposer)

Description:
Looking at the school garden as a small ecosystem, we will brainstorm different food chains in the garden, classifying organisms to their role in the food chain.  Students will learn about the interconnectedness of animals, plants, soil and sun.  Students will create a visual representation of their chosen garden food chain.


Postcards from the Perfect Habitat

Grade: 4
Location: Classroom / Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Writing and Reading: Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a variety of writing forms; establish a personal voice in their writing, with a focus on using words and stylistic elements that convey a specific mood such as amusement;
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Habitats and Communities):  Demonstrate an understanding of habitats as areas that provide plants and animals with the necessities of life

Description:
The lesson will start by listening to Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravett and discussing different features of postcards (purpose, writing style, etc).  Out in the garden, we will explore how the garden is a habitat for different animals and insects.  Students will choose one of these creatures and will write (and draw) a postcard from that creature’s point of view.


Invasive Species in the Garden

(May-June or September-October)

Grade: 4
Location: Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology :Understanding Life Systems (Habitats and Communities): Identify reasons for the depletion or extinction of a plant or animal species (e.g., hunting, disease, invasive species, changes in or destruction of its habitat), evaluate the impacts on the rest of the natural community, and propose possible actions for preventing such depletions or extinctions from happening

Description:
We will begin a brief introduction about invasive species, where they come from, how they spread, the harm that they can cause to native plants and animals, etc.  We will then go out to the garden and work to remove some invasive species from the garden and learn how to help to prevent them from spreading.
Extensions Activities:
- Take a walk in a nearby park and identify native and invasive species.  (Many invasive species were brought here because they are edible – e.g. Garlic Mustard – or as decorative plants, but they have spread to natural areas and have become invasive).  
- Research what is being done by different groups (nature clubs, government, etc) to remove invasive species.


Worm Restaurant Menus

Grade: 4
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Writing different types of texts;
Understanding Life Systems (Habitats and Communities): Demonstrate an understanding of habitats as areas that provide plants and animals with the necessities of life;
Visual Arts: Use elements of design in works to communicate ideas, messages, and understandings.

Description:
We will start with an introduction to the worm bin, exploring it as a habitat for worms.  We will look at the different elements that are important for worms’ survival and use our imaginations to create a well-balanced menu of their ideal foods.


Food Stories

Grade: 2-4
Location: Classroom
Time: 2 60-minute sessions

Learning Objectives:
Social Studies: Heritage and Identity: Changing Family and Community Traditions;
Writing: Purpose and audience; developing ideas; voice; publishing

Description:
Eating is a social activity; though we might have favourite foods, we often also have memories linked with favourite meals where the food itself didn't play the central role. In the first lesson, students will hear a story about a family preparing a meal and eating together, and will then complete a worksheet where they will describe their own favourite meal memories. In the second lesson, students will use the information from their worksheet to create a coherent story of their favourite meal in comic strip format.
Extension Activities: 
- Asking family members about their favourite meal experiences
- Linking some ingredients from favourite foods to what can be grown in the school garden


Grade 5

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Mapping a Meal – Food Miles

Grade: 5
Location: Classroom
Time: 80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Earth and Space Systems (Conservation of Energy and Resources): Analyse the long-term impacts on society and the environment of human uses of energy and natural resources, and suggest ways to reduce these impacts

Description:
All of our food originates from plants.  Looking at everyday packaged foods, students will trace the foods back to the plants that they originally came from.  Students will be introduced to different steps in the food system and to the concept of food miles.  Can be linked with sprouting activity (see below).


Seed Saving

(September & October)

Grade: 5
Location: Inside / Garden
Time: 80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Earth and Space Systems (Conservation of Energy and Resources): Identify renewable and non-renewable resources

Description:
Students will harvest seeds from plants in the garden that can be planted in next year’s garden.  Students will make seed packages, which will include some information about the plant and its ideal growing conditions.  They will also decorate the seed package with drawings of the plant.  We will discuss the importance of seed saving in the context of renewable resources, and how organic gardening makes use of renewable resources (i.e. composting).


Garden Mapping and Planning

(March or April – or October for next spring’s garden)

Grade: 5
Location: Garden
Time: 2 60-80 minute sessions

Learning Objectives:
Math: Measurement: estimate and measure the perimeter and area of regular and irregular polygons, using a variety of tools; select and justify the most appropriate standard unit to measure length, height, width, and distance, and to measure the perimeter of various polygons;
Math: Geometry and Spatial Sense: locate and object using the cardinal directions and a coordinate system; compare grid systems commonly used on maps

Description:
When planning a garden, it is important to know how many seeds or plants can be planted in each plot.  During our first session, we will map the garden, determining the sizes of the different plots and also making observations to estimate the shady and sunny parts of the garden.  In the second session, we will study the planting/growing needs of different plants and determine where we can plant them and how many can be planted in each plot.


Grade 6

*** Please note the specific months/seasons ***


Biodiversity in the Compost Bin

(Only available at schools with an on-site garden compost bin)

Grade: 6
Location: Inside / Outside
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Biodiversity); Use scientific inquiry/research skills to compare the characteristics of organisms within the plant or animal kingdoms; Describe interrelationships within species, between species, and between species and their environment, and explain how these interrelationships sustain biodiversity

Description:
We will visit the compost system in the school food garden and explore the biodiversity and the importance of the different organisms in the compost bins.  Students will learn about the different stages of composting and the different micro- and macroorganisms that are present at the different stages.  They will learn to recognize topsoil as an ecosystem.


Pollinator Biodiversity

(May-June, September)

Grade: 6
Location: Classroom & Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Biodiversity); Assess the benefits that human societies derive from biodiversity and the problems that occur when biodiversity is diminished; Demonstrate an understanding of biodiversity as the variety of life on earth, including variety within each species of plants and animals in communities, and among communities and the physical landscapes that support them; Describe interrelationships within species, between species, and between species and their environment, and explain how these interrelationships sustain biodiversity

Description:
We will start with a review of pollination, and explore the importance of biodiversity in the world of pollinators.  Out in the garden, we will observe different flowering plants and the types of pollinators that are attracted to them.  Students will sketch the flower, noting its shape and colour, and will also sketch one or two pollinators that they see in the garden, noting what types of flowers they are attracted to.  They will observe and note how the flowers and pollinators have adapted to each other.


Invasive Species in the Garden

(May-June or September-October)

Grade: 6
Location: Classroom & Garden
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Biodiversity): Identify how invasive species reduce biodiversity in local environments

Description:
We will begin a brief introduction about invasive species, where they come from, how they spread, the harm that they can cause to native plants and animals, etc.  We will then go out to the garden and work to remove some invasive species from the garden and learn how to help to prevent them from spreading. We will discuss why these plants can be harmful to our garden and also how certain garden plants can become invasive species (and why that can negatively affect natural environments).


Mapping a Meal – Canada’s Links with the World

Grade: 6
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Social Studies: Canada and World Connections: Canada’s Links to the World identify some countries with which Canada has links; describe some of the connections Canada shares with the rest of the world

Description:
Looking at everyday packaged foods, students will trace the foods back to the plants that they originally came from.  Students will be introduced to different steps in the food system and we will focus on how our food decisions can affect people in many regions of the world.
Extensions Activities:
- Research to identify products that Canada imports and exports, including foods, and which countries Canada has specific trade relations with.


What is an Heirloom? and Seed Company Role Play

Grade: 6
Location: Classroom
Time: 60-80 minutes

Learning Objectives:
Science & Technology: Understanding Life Systems (Biodiversity): Analyse a local issue related to biodiversity, taking different points of view into consideration, propose action that can be taken to preserve biodiversity, and act on the proposal; Assess the benefits that human societies derive from biodiversity and the problems that occur when biodiversity is diminished; Describe ways in which biodiversity within a species is important for maintaining the resilience of those species

Description:
This activity introduces students to heirloom seed varieties and the importance of biodiversity in agriculture.  They will have the opportunity to take on the role of a seed company executive and work with a group to decide what seeds they will include in the coming year’s seed catalogue.