Gardening is more than planting seeds in soil; knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is needed to make a garden grow, as some students at Inman Elementary have learned.
Third, fourth and fifth grade students in Charlie Harper’s enrichment classes have planted a school garden as part of their Junior Master Gardening learning unit. With help from local businesses and gardeners, the students learned about much more than just plant life; they saw how math and science concepts they are learning were used to construct the garden, and that important life skills such as teamwork, communication and cooperation are essential to a successful project.
Three 4-by-10 feet raised beds make up the garden that was mostly donated and constructed by the Fayetteville Home Depot. The store donated and delivered hundreds of dollars worth of lumber and hardware, and sent nine store managers to the school where they spent an entire day constructing the garden beds.
“The students watched an amazing display of teamwork with real world applications of math and science, such as fractions, angles, and simple machines,” says Harper.
The managers also filled the beds with 120 cubic feet of soil that was donated by Farm Bureau. Additionally, The Fayette County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and Young Farmers Committee donated $350 to purchase gardening soil, materials to build a deer fence around each bed, an irrigation system, and a variety of plant seeds.
Joanne Minter and her daughter, Stephanie Adamek, of Minter’s Farm taught the students some gardening basics before they planted vegetable seeds in the beds. Vegetables growing in the garden include carrots, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, squash, zucchini, and peas.
Harper says he is grateful for the generosity of the community, and for all of the volunteers who came to Inman Elementary to make the garden a reality for his students.
“All of the students are thrilled to have beautiful, professionally built beds to work and learn in,” he says. “The raised beds will afford authentic academic experiences and invaluable life lessons for years to come.