Methods of Integrating Science Lessons into a Typical Edible Schoolyard Garden Class
Curriculum Development
Place of Learning: 
When developing science lessons for the garden setting, we rely on four primary methods of integrating content into a typical garden class: opening circle demonstrations, rotating labs, small working groups, and hands-on experiences that take the entire class period.
Opening Circle

Content is delivered during the opening circle to all students at once to facilitate full class participation and discussion.

  • Opening circle activities take place in the Ramada and generally run for 10-15 minutes.
  • This method of delivery is most similar to a classroom setting and relies on classroom management techniques.
Rotating Lab

Content is delivered during a rotating lab in the garden to facilitate small group engagement.

  • Students are broken up into three working groups.
  • Students take a break from their working groups to rotate through the station or lab.
  • The lab is facilitated by a garden teacher and typically runs 15-17 minutes
Working Group Time

Content is delivered during working group in place of garden work.

  • Garden teachers write the lesson as one of the four jobs on the job board, repeating this each week until every student has participated.
  • Students self-select into the lesson group knowing they have flexibility on choosing when they complete the lesson (“If not this week, then next week.”). Teachers can track this as well.
Entire Class Period

Content is delivered throughout the class period using a three-station format where students are introduced to the activity in opening circle and then spend the rest of class time rotating through three different stations relating to the subject matter.

  • Students are not doing garden work during this activity. The entire class period is spent rotating through the three stations (15-17 minutes each) doing hands-on activities.
  • Students meet back at the Ramada for a closing circle reflection
Lenses to Consider When Developing Science Curriculum

When developing new science lessons, we consider the following lenses: the Edible Schoolyard’s “Edible Education Framework,” Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the “Learning Cycle,” and grade-level scope and sequences.