BY AMANDA MOSES
There are numerous variations of plant life, but one thing each plant species has in common is its lifecycle. “No matter what these seeds look like, they grow the same,” said Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman to a class of kindergarteners during a lesson in the Spring Creek’s Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Aquaponic Garden Classroom at PS 346.
The complexity of plants, from genetic cross breading (developed by Grergor Mendel) to the parts of a plant’s cell structure, can be difficult lessons to grasp. However, PS 346’s kindergarteners are well on their way to learning about complex plant subjects with the help of Roytman. In the book, “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, students were able to learn about nature when tiny seeds are released in varying environments.
The students hypothesized that in order for a seed to survive, there needs to be specific factors in place, such as soil, water and sunlight. “How does a seed become a plant,” said Roytman as she pointed at an interactive poster that shows the stages of a plant’s life.
Many of the four and five year olds raised their hands with enthusiasm. “The seeds grow roots,” Kevin Junior, 5, exclaimed. Junior loves to plant seeds and with the continuous visits to the Aquaponic Garden Classroom he is able to use a magnifying glass to observe and then input his findings in a journal. “I like seeing the seeds grow!” Junior said.
Whether it is outside in the Spring Creek Recreation Fund’s Urban Garden Classroom or in the Aquaponic Garden Classroom, students of all ages were able to plant and use materials to further their scientific exploration. For last week’s kindergarten class, the students used tweezers and magnifying glasses to study the variation in seed texture.
“The students really love this class, and it helps expand their knowledge of science,” said kindergarten teacher, Jessica Robins, who was happy to see the students learn team building skills.
About the Aquaponic Garden Classroom: The Aquaponic Garden Classroom opened in March 2014. This classroom was made possible with a $10,000 grant from the eBay Foundation that was given to the Spring Creek Recreational Fund (SCRF) to help expand its Urban Garden Classroom program. The Aquaponic Garden Classroom allows students to explore and learn about the highly symbiotic relationship between plants and aquatic life.
Photos by: Amanda Moses