All of the care our students have dedicated to tending to the classroom garden is paying off. Daily, the students water the garden and check the plants for any dried leaves or weeds to remove. They check on the status of their plants and are always excited to comment on new growth. As birds were swooping in to eat, the students started formulating different methods that might discourage them. The class decided on a proper bird feeder, hung higher than the plants themselves, after considering options like hanging netting over the plants or appointing a student to stand in the garden at all times and wave their arms to spook the birds.
Although most of the seeds we planted are still only sprouting, some of the plants our parents donated are producing deliciously fresh (and organic) fruit. The tomatoes and snap peas in particular look table-ready, and our students began examining harvesting schedules. They learned that tomatoes ought to be harvested when they are first changing color from green, and not when they are fully red, as they’ll spoil quickly.
Using basil harvested from the school garden and tomatoes harvested from our classroom garden, the students made two classic favorites: caprese salad and margherita pizza.
They visited Whole Foods to purchase supplemental ingredients. Practicing counting money, subtraction, spelling and community interaction are some of the skills the students practice on the weekly grocery store field trips.
While time in the kitchen spent to make the caprese salad was minimal, making pizza required us to make our own dough. The function of yeast in bread recipes were reviewed by the class. The older students remembered a lesson they learned last year, which was that yeast processes sugar into gas. The younger students observed that the dough rose over night, and the older students connected the previous insight to their observation.
While cooking, the students read the list of ingredients, were responsible for doubling it, and measured out the proper amounts. The results were yummy!