Highlighting Eighth Grade Expedition
This year’s “Fall Classroom” expeditions allowed students the opportunity to participate in multiple learning rotations spaced across two days. During one of the rotations, students visited Bell Garden, a community resource for urban gardening. Bell Garden is home to a traditional community garden as well as 20 demonstration beds. Participation in this expedition allowed students to make real world connections to the novel Seedfolks, which they recently began reading in Communication Arts. Seedfolks tells the story of the founding and first year of a community garden in an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. At Bell Garden, students were able to learn the history of an actual community garden, talk to members of the community, and help to maintain garden beds through weeding and harvesting.
Next, a trip to Eagleton Courthouse gave students the chance to observe the Judicial Branch in action and to make connections with their recent learning about the United States Constitution and the branches of government. During this rotation, students completed a scavenger hunt where they explored specific constitutional rights and looked at landmark court cases that examined the violation of rights. They also had the opportunity to have discussions with a judge and a parole officer, and to sit in on an actual court case.
The rest of the rotations took part at EarthDance farms, an organic farm school. During one of these rotations, students continued to build background knowledge to help with their understanding of Seedfolks by exploring the importance of plant spacing and designing their own garden beds. They were tasked with first deciding if their plan would be based on cold weather or warm weather gardening, and then identifying specific crops that they wanted to grow. Once crops were identified, students searched for those plants around the farm, measuring the spacing required for full-size plants to grow and thrive. Finally, they used the math concept of scaling to draw a design of their garden bed. This activity will help to improve the accuracy of the growing instructions that they provide during their upcoming seed packet project.
The final rotation that students took part in was tree climbing. Although many students gained experience last year with tree climbing, for some this was their first experience, and others continued to push themselves to reach new heights. As citizens and stewards of this planet, tree climbing gives students the chance to enjoy and appreciate nature in a different way, as well as provide opportunities for team building. As Mrs. Jones stated, “There is something magical that happens when you’re climbing a tree with other people. The shared experience can’t be overstated.”
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.