Central Students Support Pollinators through Plant Unit

Posted by Corey Burdick on 6/13/2019 1:00:00 PM

The season for gardening and basking in our natural environment has finally arrived in Vermont! A time for making plans and dreaming about all of the incredible flowers, herbs, and veggies that will soon be sprouting up around us. This spring, 2nd graders at Central School got a jumpstart on this endeavor through their life science unit on plants; with a specific focus on creating a pollinator garden. According to 2nd grade teacher, Stephanie Hockenbury, this served the dual purpose of supporting local animal and plant life while also "addressing 2nd grade national standards for the sciences pertaining to interdependent relationships in an ecosystem."

Hockenbury said, "We chose a pollinator garden as our context for developing understanding of these standards because of its relevance to current events, appeal to young children, and how it provides the opportunity to help our community and environment directly."

Students were actively engaged in their learning throughout the unit, planting 8 different flowers and herbs in their grow lab including: ageratum, calendula, cosmos, nasturtium, sunflowers, verbena, and zinnia. These were planted on school grounds during the final week of school for all to enjoy.

Learning was enhanced by numerous guest speakers and field trips. Central School parent alum and beekeeper Jen Savas taught about honey bees while UVM professor of botany and 2nd grade parent, Dr. Eric von Wettberg spoke about plants in our environment. A trip to the UVM Horticultural Farm with Dr. Alison Brody allowed students to see pollination in action and back in the classroom, Jerry Schneider of the VT Entomological Society and Morphos Productions taught about butterflies. Students then had the chance to make their own butterfly t-shirts, a lasting memory to be sure.

Additional concepts covered in the plant unit included: what plants need from and give to their environment, identifying parts of the flower by dissecting lilies, steps of pollination in addition to the pollinators (bees, butterflies, bats, and birds) themselves. Pollination, seed dispersal, and bird beak types were modeled and in a special visit from the Flynn Theater, students had the chance to act out through movement The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

We look forward to seeing what pollinators the garden attracts! Thanks to all of the guest speakers, parents/guardians, and the 2nd grade teachers involved in this work: Stephanie Hockenbury, Jennifer Belisle, Kelly Mahl, and Katie Ransom.

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