I’m excited to announce another NEW 4-H After-School Club this fall! At Keister Elementary School we will have a 4-H Jr Master Gardener Club every Wednesday starting in October. With the help of school staff and Master Gardener Adult volunteers the club will be supported. The club will target 3rd and 4th grade students. Below are some pictures of the school garden. More pictures and info to come once the club starts!
Last year was the first year that I helped 3rd grade at Linville-Edom Elementary review their unit on soil for their SOL test. Needless to say the test scores showed that the kids were paying attention! This year I headed down to Linville Edom once again to teach students about soil, layers, types of soil, etc. We had a blast…literally! During our soil shake experiment we forgot to loosen the lid so the air pressure could escape so we had a soil milkshake all over the desk. I’m sure the kids will never forget! We also examined rocks, sand, silt, and clay soils with an experiment to see which soil had the quickest water runoff. A highlight of the lesson was going outside school grounds to collect several soil samples to look at. Lastly, we finished the unit off with reviewing decomposers, producers, and consumers by bringing in the worm bin!
I am sure glad the warm weather is back! One reason-we can finally get back into our school gardens to plant. I’m always amazed at how much the kids enjoy digging in the soil, picking weeds, and harvesting their crops. Even on hot days they dig right in! This month we have been working to prepare the garden beds and planting flowers, squash, beans, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peppers, and pumpkins. I can’t wait to bite into a juicy strawberry!
One of my other favorite lessons to do with the kids is Plant Parts Salad! We start off by reviewing or learning all the parts of plants and their functions. Next we play a little relay game to test our knowledge…and then we EAT! I’m amazed at how excited the kids are to eat salad and how many claim they never eat salad at home 🙁 I even had a few kids claim they hated certain parts of the salad that I had to offer…until they tried it! I actually had to hide some of the fruits and vegetables so that the other classes could have some! Today at Lacey Spring, 1st graders made a salad that consisted of:
Why is soil important? Think about it…without soil there wouldn’t be plants. Without plants we couldn’t breathe, we would all live in houses that were flimsy or fall down (no wooden structure), the cows couldn’t eat…no cheeseburgers and so much more! Today I visited Lacey Spring Elementary to teach students about the importance of soil. After a quick lesson on soil-students were able to “paint” with different types of soil (clay vs sandy soil). This activity allows students to see that not all soil is alike…I give them several different colors of soil to paint with.
4-H curriculum on soil is available to all grades! Older students still love to soil paint but also enjoy taking a soil sample outside of the school, creating a soil shake, and putting together a soil profile with construction paper. Contact Rosemary to learn more!
Worm Casting Harvest
At Linville Edom Elementary School you can walk into the 3rd grade classroom and not realize that they have “pets”. There is no smell or loud commotion coming from their pets….that’s because they have WORMS! That’s right-there are about 1,000 worms living in a worm bin located in the corner away from the windows. I decided to start this project with Linville because the school had a strong gardening program and a beautiful garden located behind the school. We didn’t want to spray the garden with any chemicals but still wanted to be able to fertilize the plants. Solution? Worm castings (poop)! Worm castings are an excellent source of fertilizer for your garden or plants. Plus-they eat your unwanted garbage! If the worm bin is properly taken care of there is not a trace of smell. After 3-5 months your worms will have decomposed everything in your bin to provide a nice array of worm castings. There is a sorting process of putting food in the bin above so the worms force themselves to move up and out of the castings but not all worms make it! Therefore, we had to dumb the castings out and sort through the piles to pick out the worms. Worms found were then placed back into the bin to continue eating garbage. The castings are now ready for plant application! Our castings were ready but our garden isn’t! Therefore, we simply placed our worm casting harvest into plastic containers and will wait until spring to apply to the garden.
Interested in learning more about worms? Contact Rosemary to learn more!