Sowing Seeds of Learning
For its LEAP, Tower Hill Botanic Garden will sow seeds of learning with some 2,000 second grade students from the Worcester Public Schools. Prior to visiting the garden, students create dioramas of plants including the parts of plants. They perform reader’s theater plays. Students complete a writing prompt comparing their life cycle to the life cycle of plants. Students view videos on plants. Lastly, they plant grass seed sock puppets.
During their visit to Tower Hill, students plant seeds, compare and contrast a variety of other actual seeds and leaves, and are read the non-fiction book Flowers, Fruits & Seeds. They learn proper use of a hand lens and use them to observe flowers and leaves. A scavenger hunt focuses other observations of the plant collection, and further observations are recorded in journals through sketching, labeling and descriptions.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, located in Boylston, is the headquarters of the Worcester County Horticultural Society [WCHS]. The third oldest active horticultural society in the U.S., WCHS was incorporated in 1842 as a non-profit "educational organization for the purpose of advancing the science and encouraging and improving the practice of horticulture." Tower Hill Botanic Garden offers a variety of educational programming for all ages year-round.
The Sowing Seeds LEAP, allows students to develop both Life Science and English Language Arts skills: recognizing that animals and plants are living things that grow, reproduce and need food, air and water; recognizing the concept of life cycles and variations of such cycles; recognizing the people and other animals interact with the environment through their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste; identifying was in which an organism's habitat provides for its basic needs; writing informative texts; and participating in collaborative conversations with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Post visit activities include measuring the growth of the plants they started from seeds while at Tower Hill. Also students complete a "What did you discover, what did you learn" poster of their visit.