By Amanda Moses
Gardening is a multifaceted subject. In order to showcase this, Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman is teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) based lessons to the Spring Creek After School Program’s students. Although the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) is closed to the public, Roytman is digitally exploring the garden with her ZOOM classes.
Roytman’s session, Seeds to Grow, began earlier this month with members of the Spring Creek After School, where children virtually explore the wonders of a garden via ZOOM. To understand how a garden functions, Roytman taught the students about pollinators, the parts of the plants, and how seeds are produced.
“In science we always talk about measurements and math,” Roytman said to the class. After reading a few stories about the different types of pollinators, Roytman showed the students how this process works. The bees, butterflies, birds, or even bats land on top of a flower, moving the pollen from the stamen to the pistol, and sometimes this happens within the same plant or it could be placed inside of another one. By doing so flowers are able to grow seeds.
Roytman created a fun activity for the children to diagram the pollination process by creating replica of a flower. “First we are going to make our own playdough,” Roytman said.
The students were asked to measure:
- 1 cup of flour
- ½ cup of salt
- ½ cup of water
- Optional: Four drops of food coloring
They then mixed the salt and flour together, and slowly added water. “It’s going to get lumpy as you add water, so make sure to stir it up, so that it’s not too sticky,” Roytman said. They were then asked to roll up the playdough into balls and place them in a Ziplock bag until their next lesson.
During the following class, the children gathered the materials needed to create their flower replica using: a Q-tip or straw pieces, a plastic cup, construction paper, scissors, and tape. First, Roytman asked the students to draw five or six petals with whatever creative design they like on construction paper. The second step involved cutting out the petal shapes and cutting the plastic cup in half.
Once they were done using the scissors, the group placed the playdough inside of the cup to symbolize pollen. They then colored the top of the Q-tips and placed them in the playdough, which signified the stamen. The pipe or stick portion of the Q-tip represented the pistol.
The final step involved taping the petals to the cup. “When a flower is pollinated, the petals open up and spread wide apart,” Roytman said.
The children were now able to imagine how a butterfly or bee lands on the petals and transfers the pollen, which is the base of the plant (the playdough), from the pistol to stamin area—creating seeds.
The final lesson on pollinators used the flower replicas to highlight the different types of flowers bees, butterflies, birds, and bats are attracted to.
Screenshots by Amanda Moses