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Patterns through the Seasons

Elementary, Middle

Description

 

This unit/module is designed as a curriculum resource for teachers who want to use a school food garden as an "outdoor classroom" where students can experience hands-on learning in many areas of the curriculum. This unit will provide year round learning activities related to growing and maintaining a school food garden, with many related learning outcomes relevant to science, social studies and health for a wide range of age groups. Each learning activity follows a similar structure which includes title, grade level suitability, introduction, materials, procedure and extensions.

General Assessment

Strengths

This resource has many strengths. It is:

  • up-to-date
  • thorough, both for the teacher and the student
  • easily accessible on the internet
  • clear in its delineation of many of the curricula connections
  • authentic and provides many activities that are extensions to the actual gardening activities, such as a research project on all the places our apples come from, creating a "greenhouse" in a bottle, gaining appreciation for heirloom plants, composting, etc.

Weaknesses

The weaknesses in this resource are not abundant but the following can be seen possible issues:

  • there are very few assessment tools included in the resource.
  • the resource is extremely lengthy which makes it unwieldy when working with only a specific group of students.

How to develop attitudes?

  • This resource contributes to developing positive attitudes towards the school community, the neighbourhood, as well as environmental concerns in general. It successfully engages the students in experiential, inclusive and holistic activities year round.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • Climate change, soil erosion, loss of green space in urban centers, etc. are concerns and responsibilities that belong to all of us.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs of Animals and Plants
        • Seasonal Changes
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Characteristics of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Self, Family, School: Human and Physical Environment
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth & Space Science: Daily & Seasonal Changes
        • Life Sciences: Needs of Living Things
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth & Space Science: Air, Water & Soil
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Plant Growth & Change
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Habitats & Communities
    • Grade 6
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Ecosystems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • My Environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Air and Water in the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Our Local Community
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Changes in Plants
        • Soils in the Environment
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitat and Communities
        • Rocks, Minerals, and Erosion
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Maintaining a Healthy Body
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs & Characteristics of Living Things
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Discovering Connections Between Self and Wellness: Apply Decisions
        • Discovering Connections Between Self and Wellness: Informed Decisions
        • Discovering Connections Between Self and Wellness: Understanding,Skills and Confidence
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Plant Growth and Changes
  • Yukon Territory

Themes Addressed

  • Food & Agriculture (2)

    • Local Food
    • Organic Farming
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Planting Native Species

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Very Good
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Very Good
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Good
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Very Good
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Good
  • This unit contains information regarding heirloom plants. It provides an interesting way in which students are able to appreciate how plants use to be preserved (through seeds, etc.) in the past. It also discusses how we are able to use this information to make better choices for seeds in relation to where they come from in the present and how to maintain them into the future.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Very Good
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Very Good
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Very Good
Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Very Good
  • The range of activities suggested in this resource is diverse in terms of the learning needs of the students as well as different activities throughout the four seasons of the year.
Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Very Good
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Very Good
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good
Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Very Good
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.