The weather has been particularly unpleasant of late, but we've still managed to get outside for some parts of our lessons. The wind has made areas with trees no-go-areas which has made getting to the veg patches tricky. There have been lots of puddles to jump in though, so my youngest classes have been having a whale of a time - some much more literally than others!
I decided to get the children involved in the planning of the vegetable plots (which will be a much easier task when they have Growers' Nation to help with advice). It's important to give them ownership of the project and to involve them in as many steps as possible. We've decided to make a calendar with our favourite outdoor activity ideas for each month to sell in order to buy seeds.
We made a list of the crops we would like to grow, I was impressed that they had chosen to include a wide variety from strawberries to Brussels sprouts (although I'm not going to be keen to taste these!) Each child researched when their crop should be planted then we looked at the busiest months and those with the least to plant. We spent time talking about how the time of year affects what can be
grown and also about how the climates of different countries make
growing certain crops possible or impossible. The children were also able to link the idea of light levels to the plants ability to photosynthesise, so I can tick that learning objective off for science!
The next step is going to be costing out the area and working on budgets. Of course, some of the class will need simplified costs for seeds in order to be able to manage it, but they will learn that there is a cost to setting up the plots and hopefully will see the money saved on produce when the harvest comes in. I'm sure they will take great pleasure in using maths in a less theoretical manner and there will definitely be competition between classes to see who can make the best use of their money.
To keep warm while we were outside, we collected piles of fallen leaves. We've used them to create a mulch to fertilise the soil and hopefully to keep some of the weeds at bay. The children decided to set up an experiment where they only mulched half of the patch - we'll have to wait and see if they can see a difference when we come back to the plot later in the school year.