Skip to main content

Community Gardens as Places for Ecological Caring in Action

Science and Children—March/April 2024 (Volume 61, Issue 2)

By Amal Ibourk, Lauren Wagner, Deb Morrison, Syrena Young, Justin Milledge

Current and future Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) students must grapple with one of the most pressing scientific issues of the century: climate change. Teaching about climate change with our youngest learners requires preparation, planting roots to foster growth, innovation, and sustainability. Building a community garden with elementary students is a way to act towards climate justice as it reminds us about how all living things are part of an interconnected system. This paper describes a fifth-grade climate change action project that was part of a unit that aligns with the state science standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), focused on how science learning can be used to protect the Earth’s resources and local environments. The anchoring phenomenon and lessons of the unit highlighted the annual migration of the monarch butterflies, a local endangered species and phenomenon. By planting milkweed in the garden, students learned about migration, life cycles, greenhouse gasses and the survival of monarch butterflies. This article provides educators with ideas and practical suggestions for building a garden and an overview of how the project can be implemented within a school community.

Environmental Science Inclusion Life Science Teaching Strategies Elementary

Asset 2