Kinard Elementary kindergarten student J.D. Laster described what he’d learned about growing plants: “You have to put it in the dirt and water it, and it needs soil and some light.”
J.D. and other kindergarten students at Kinard wrote journals about growing plants, and then planted and tended their own. And last week, the lesson culminated in a tasting party that featured watermelon, strawberries, kiwi, spinach, carrots, mango and other fresh produce.
Kindergarten teacher Natalie Adams wrote and received one of 25 York County educator grants of $250 each from Family Trust Credit Union to fund the classroom project.
She said the goal was to provide a hands-on project to support the kindergarten science unit on plants, which includes the parts of a plant and how plants grow. But the multi-disciplinary project also incorporated writing lessons and math, because the class learned how to use a rain gauge.
“They each got to choose what to plant and grow,” Adams said about the first part of the project, which took place earlier this year. “We talked about the parts of a plant – the stem, the leaves, the roots.”
About 50 students from all three kindergarten classes participated, she said. After the plants were growing, a second part of the project was to talk about the food that plants produce and eating healthy, she said.
That’s where the tasting party came in.
Adams used some of the strawberries the students had grown for tasting, and she also purchased different types of produce from a grocery store. Students chose what they wanted to taste.
“I liked the squash, but I didn’t like the mango,” said Elijah Epler, who had chosen to grow a watermelon seed. Some students didn’t like the fresh spinach, but not Elijah, who brings fresh spinach for lunch.
J.D., who also planted watermelon, enjoyed munching on his plate of sunflower seeds and strawberries, but he didn’t care for his cucumber slice. “It does not have any taste,” he said.
Adams encouraged the children to think about words that would best describe the taste of the various foods they sampled, so they could prepare for another lesson – writing about the tasting party in their journals.
Other teachers in York and Clover who applied for and received $250 Family Trust grants for classroom projects are:
Ashley Brown, Carrie Conrad, Stephanie Galeota and Courtney Young, Crowders Creek Elementary; Angela Carpenter, Clover Middle; Jennifer La Fave, Clover High; and Patti Myers, Griggs Road Elementary.
Donna Bailey and Sue Hilton, York Comprehensive High; Abbey Clinton and Wendy Wingard-Gay, Jefferson Elementary; Jacqueline Danko, York Middle; Mary Beth Harper, Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary; and Kathleen Wirth Mills, Harold C. Johnson Elementary.