Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. This week's sites are among the best on the Web for teaching about gardens.
- Butterfly Gardening
Planting a butterfly garden is a rewarding activity that can be used to meet several different curriculum objectives: mapping, charting, sorting, categorizing, measuring, learning about seasons, and researching plants and insects. Learn such important tricks of the trade as using milkweed to attract monarch butterflies and the paw paw to entice the zebra swallowtail!
Have you always wanted to build a school garden but didn't know where to begin or how to see it through? KinderGARDEN offers highly structured, step-by-step directions on how to create a successful school garden. The site includes important tips, curriculum connections, and a discussion of the physical and emotional benefits of school gardens. In addition, the site provides some great ideas for fun activities to do with plants, as well as basic tips for gardeners working with kids.
- The Official Seed Starting Home Page
Did you know that the flavor of brussels sprouts improves after a light frost? You'll discover that and much more excellent information about flowers, vegetables, and herbs at this page from the Weekend Gardener. This is a great site for teachers eager to garden with classes of budding botanists or for older students interested in information about sorting and classifying plants.
- Seeds of Life
This wonderful tutorial on the nature of seeds blends science and the arts to bring the mystery of plants to life. Did you know that corn is actually considered a dry fruit known as a caryopsis or that the apricot is a drupe, a fleshy fruit containing only one seed? Click on Mystery Seeds and Seeds and Humankind for fun extensions of this fascinating seed study.
- I Can Garden
This extensive list of links leads to an eclectic mix of sites that provide a variety of ideas for gardening with children and more. The site includes stories, poems, and activities on gardening from students who love it! The extension activities found here are also awesome, including one that tells how students can make deep blue Easter eggs by boiling brown eggs soaked overnight in red cabbage dye.
The Hypergarden is a series of stylized virtual garden spaces that are sure to intrigue and inspire older students. Invite your students to tour this digital garden using the four control buttons at the bottom of each screen. The buttons allow students to proceed through the major sections of the garden, navigate more deeply into a particular area of interest, find information on a particular garden space, or return to the home page.
This superb resource for high school students provides comprehensive information on the genetics of plants. The mostly primary sources found here afford students the opportunity to study plant science while enriching their understanding of Gregor Mendel's work. The site includes links to two multiuser virtual environments where students can participate in synchronous discussions on plants.
Did you know that copperleaf, native to the Fiji Islands, has also taken hold in a few small locations in the tropical United States? If you didn't know that, then you haven't visited Floridata -- and you don't know what you're missing! Touted as an online encyclopedia of gardening and nature, this site is a treasure trove of information on gardening in the tropical climate of Tallahassee, Florida. The site includes descriptions, photographs, and information about the location, culture, usage, and features of more than 300 plants.
- Wisconsin Fast Plants
Fast Plants, the focal point of a fantastic resource from the University of Wisconsin, are model organisms for teaching and studying the scientific process while learning the biological principles of plants. The Wisconsin program provides the materials, activity directions, and teaching resources; you provide the young scientists!
Article by Walter McKenzie
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