Keep America Beautiful

Lesson One: Our Community Garden

Objectives:

  • To help students understand community greening, which includes community gardens
  • To foster a sense of community appreciation among students
Materials:
The Jalapeño Seed digital storybook; "Our Community Garden" student activity page

Time Required:
30 minutes

Directions:
  1. Read the digital storybook The Jalapeño Seed by Patsy J. Robles-Goodwin (illustrated by Nick Inglish) with your class. Ask students to summarize the story after reading.

  2. Explain the concept of a community garden to students. It is a plot of land where people in the community can plant and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs for their families and friends. Some communities plant flower gardens, which help beautify the neighborhood or make it look nicer.

  3. Ask students to imagine that your class is creating a community garden. What would they plant? Distribute the activity page and review the directions with students. Brainstorm ideas as a class or have students work in small groups to name vegetables they could plant in a community garden. Encourage students to think about what foods they could make with the vegetables they would grow before they choose which vegetables to plant.

    To add a challenge, encourage students to choose four vegetables that are each a different color or choose a combination of vegetables that grow aboveground and belowground.

    As an additional challenge, ask students to consider how much space different vegetables might need to grow. For example, squash requires more space than carrots. Tomato plants are tall, while cabbage grows low to the ground and may require more space. On the back of the activity page, students can map out their gardens and represent space ratios in their drawings.

  4. Have students share their answers as a class.

Extensions:
  • Create a community garden mural. Give students index cards on which to write the names of vegetables, and provide them with paper to illustrate their vegetables. Have students “plant” their vegetables by placing the index cards (plant markers) and pictures on a bulletin board covered with green paper.
  • Have students ask their parents and siblings what their favorite vegetables are and bring the answers back to class. Tally the responses and have students create bar graphs to represent the data.
  • Create a class cookbook. Send a note home to parents to ask them to work with their children to write down their favorite recipe featuring vegetables. Create a "Community Cookbook" with the recipes. Students can illustrate pictures to accompany the recipes.

Aligns with National Education Standards

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