Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pollinator Study

I was browsing through some different kid's gardening websites and came across this pollinator curriculum that looks like it might be a neat little module for my oldest. It's intended for 3rd-6th grade, but since she's been raised with a garden every year and a mommy who is obsessed with green, growing things, I think she'll probably do just fine with it now. We may revisit it again in a few years as her maturity level and comprehension grow.

Science class takes place outside for us as soon as it's warm enough to plant peas. There is just so much to do - watching how fast plants can grow, observing the bugs that help (and destroy) our garden veggies, learning how to help the soil and why not to use Miracle-Gro. Our nature study notebook gets filled with drawings of flowers and plants as they grow and bloom. Spelling words last year came off of seed packets.

As we were walking along looking at the garden yesterday, my seven year old exclaimed over a fast-growing nasturtium plant, something she's looking forward to tasting. She offered to help pull a few weeds and identified each by it's name. She asked if I would buy her a Black Krim tomato plant for her garden because it's her favorite variety of tomato. Seriously - how many seven year olds have a favorite heirloom tomato variety? It floors me how these little brains are so much like sponges, remembering so very much when it's presented in a way that they can see and touch (and taste.)

Does anyone else have fun garden-related school projects planned for the summer? I'd love to hear (and possibly borrow) your ideas!


inadvertent farmer said...

What a great way to incorporate the garden into you little one's life! We've been studying honey bees since daddy is a beekeeper...there is so much to see and learn when you let them get outside and into the natural world! Great post, Kim

Deb said...

So, why not use Miracle-Grow? LOL Seriously, I wanna know what you know...

Julie said...

Because Miracle-Gro is a petrochemically based fertilizer. Petroleum products cause cancer (along with heaven only knows what else.) When you load up your soil with petrochemicals, the plants suck them up, their fruit is tainted with them. Better to spend a bit of time and money improving the soil naturally than to load it up with carcinogenic chemicals. I'd rather have slightly smaller, but naturally grown plants that won't make me sick when I eat their fruit. :o)
That's the short version. LOL I won't get into the politics of it all, which is on my current "to study" list. Any reason why you'd eat organic veggies... that's why you don't use Miracle-Gro.

Wendy said...

Black krim...funny! I'm growing those too.

Hmmm, I've always thought it'd be neat to get some daylilies and see if I could cross pollinate them and grow a new variety. My older DD and I thought about doing that. It'd be a nice and interesting (it it works!) long term project - spanning a couple years time.

We did compost for a science fair project - but Chole may be an old pro at that.

One kid at the science fair did a cool project. Imagine a shoe box kind of thing, standing vertically. There's a plant sitting at the bottom (like a bean or soemthing), and some different steps/obstacles that the bean must traverse through. There's a hole near the top. Keep the box lid on. I guess the point is that the plant will sort of contort and make it's way left and right through the maze in an effort to reach the light. Maybe google it and see if you can find a pic. The finished project was very cool.

Oh, another year we did an experience to see in which soil a seed grows best - compost, our regular Maryland clay, potting soil, etc. Unfortunately, we didn't find much difference. OK, scratch that project.

Wendy said...

Oh, forgot to mention. You may know this already, but there are studies out there that ask for participants. You'll be able to google it. One requires you to plant a sunflower and then count the pollinators, then report to the website. There are other similar studies. That could be fun.

Deb said...

Wow! I did NOT know that about Miracle Gro..... How come we don't know that???? Wowzzzzzzzers... I haven't used it in years, but I used to use it for tomatoes... I won't, for sure now. Thanks for the info, Julie....

Love you much!

Julie said...

Wendy - what wonderful ideas! We might have to wait a few years for her to really get some of those, but I'm saving your suggestions. For a non-homeschool mom, you're full of fantastic learning ideas! Your girls sure are lucky to have you.

Deb - I suppose it's not common knowledge yet because it makes so much money for the corporations. I could tell you all kinds of interesting stuff on the subject of petroleum-based fertilizers. It's crazy. Like, did you know that the guy that received the Pulitzer for originally "discovering" chemically produced nitrogen fertilizer is the same guy that created the chemical they used to "exterminate" jews the gas chambers of Nazi Germany? Moral: never let a murderous chemist tell you how to fertilize your plants.
Argh. I dont' meant to rant. I wish more people knew. I wish people would determine to eat only organic veggies altogether, but it's a hard battle to win when most people just want cheap food.
Love you too! I don't mean to preach at you. I just want you to stay healthy!