Woodward Gardens Purpose
All students need to be scientifically literate. All students should participate in a well-balanced, articulated science program each year, so that they will come to the understanding of the interdependence necessary for the future of this planet. As educators we have the opportunity to nurture a child's curiosity and desire to explore the world.
We also have the responsibility to prepare the child for the world of tomorrow. Although we can't see that world, we can help students ask relevant questions; develop processes for thinking and searching for answers; and communicate, work and live cooperatively. This is an exciting and important task. As we teach students basic academic skills, we can incorporate learning processes that will help them be informed, knowledgeable, responsible citizens. Too often, students sit at their desks and learn about habitats and ecosystems thousands of miles away, while their schoolyard features a barren landscape of mown grass or asphalt. However, we as educators are recognizing the value of transforming school grounds into learning laboratories that support a rich diversity of life and learning. There is no better way to reinforce concepts and skills learned in the classroom than to directly apply them to real life situations in a schoolyard habitat.
The primary goal of the Woodward Gardens is to teach our students elements of science through a hands on experience. The ecosystem of the garden provides an avenue to study the environment, ecology, horticulture, geology, art, math, birds, insects, social studies, career opportunities and physical science. Horticulture studies are explored through the cultivation and propagation of plants. Environmental studies are provided through the METRO compost demonstration garden. Geology is explored through the placement of various rocks and soils. Primary senses are enticed with the smells, textures and visuals of the various herbs, plants and flowers. Art in nature is evident through the various color palettes and is brought indoors with leaf prints, etc. Butterflies, birds, bees and other insects are attracted and studied. Social studies can be expanded with discussions on how herbs are used in cooking and for medicinal reasons. Other cultures can be explored through the planting of natives plants associated with those cultures. The experimental area promotes creativity and exploration. The physical sciences are supplemented with the study of weather, and its affects on the garden. Career opportunities are explored through guest speakers and the plant sale.
Woodward Gardens is seen as an outdoor extension of Mary Woodward's Science Program. All aspects of the Garden can only occur from cooperation. This cooperation involves cooperation of the children with one another and their teachers and parents. There are a lot of parents who garden, but who hadn't realized that their skills could be valuable to teachers tight on time and resources. Our garden coordinator arranges for appropriate resource people or parents to help with outdoor or classroom learning sessions, maintain a resource closet, plan lessons and plantings with teachers, and oversee garden maintenance. Students help fund ongoing supplies with our annual plant sale. The development of this garden has resulted in a greater variety of learning experiences, a sense of stewardship for our natural resources in our children, and stronger ties to the community.
Woodward Gardens is a collection of garden rooms that provides students at the elementary school level a hands-on approach to science as well as provides learning opportunities in art, mathematics, social studies, and writing projects throughout the year.
These rooms range from subjects such as butterflies, birds, and wetlands to garden plots with vegetables and flowers. The development of these garden areas has provided a variety of learning experiences that relate directly to the benchmarks established in the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century.
Even though the project was put in motion by parents and staff, students have been involved in all phases of the project from planting, maintenance, observing and record keeping. The development and maintenance of these garden areas has provided a deep understanding and a sense of stewardship by the children for our natural resources. The school garden concept also engages the surrounding community through their active involvement in the development and outgoing support of the project. The City of Tigard, METRO, the Boy Scouts, local Garden Clubs and individual community members have initially committed time and resources to this project.
A critical aspect of the project is its commitment to provide information and knowledge that allows the transferability of the concept to other schools and to the broader community. The project disseminates its story in a variety of ways from the development of an internet site, school publications, signage, community presentations and other related public relations activities.
The project provides an exciting alternative classroom for students who have the opportunity to master an interdisciplinary curriculum. Science, mathematics, history, art and English all find their place in the various garden elements.
NEED FOR PROJECT
Educational systems throughout the state are faced with diminishing resources and increased demand for enhanced performance by students. Presently, the Oregon Educational Act sets out curriculum goals, content standards, and benchmarks which are tested for at elementary grades 3 and 5. The goals of this project directly address the science benchmarks set for grades 3 and 5. The project lends itself to other curriculum areas such as English, mathematics, social sciences, etc. All students will be offered this "hands on approach" to the curriculum. With limited funds for field trips, the garden provides a readily accessible learning laboratory.
All students have the opportunity to learn from and experience the various components of the proposed projects. Mary Woodward Elementary School has set two goals for the Garden project: 1. That every student will meet or exceed the benchmarks established by the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century and; 2. Students, staff, parents and the community will benefit from the myriad of opportunities presented by the Garden Project.
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Mary Woodward Elementary School
12325 SW Katherine Street
Tigard, Oregon 97223
Aerial photo of garden
A. Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden
Students, through the identification and planting of various flowers, shrubs, etc. attract and support birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Students learn about life cycles of species, their sensory systems, genetics, migration and other related topics.
Curriculum goals: Understand and describe: the characteristics, structure and functions of living organisms and their environment; the transmission of traits in living things; the interdependence of organisms in their natural environment; the principles of natural selection and adaptation.
Involve students in keeping nature journals to express ideas and utilize a variety of written forms e.g., (journals, essays, poems). Illustrate language concepts with examples on habitat experiences.
Benchmarks: Be able to classify organisms based on a variety of characteristics; describe basic plant and animal structures and their functions; describe the basic need of living things; describe the life cycle of an organism; describe how adaptations help an organism survive in its environment.
The construction and implementation of two greenhouses provides students a variety of educational opportunities ranging from the study of plant growth, floriculture and other related topics. This aspect of the project provides students learning biology with an actual laboratory for their studies.
Curriculum goals: Understand and describe: the characteristics, structure and functions of organisms; the transmission of traits in living things; the relationship among living things and between livings things and their environments.
Measure and calculate plant growth rates and flower numbers and select and use appropriate methods and tools for measuring with whole numbers.
Benchmarks: Be able to: describe basic plant and animal structures and their functions; classify organisms based on a variety of characteristics; describe the basic needs of living things; describe how related plants and animals have similar characteristics.
As part of the overall project, selected plantings such as trees, provide incentives for wildlife to utilize the area. Most invasive plants have been removed on all twelve acres and native species have been replanted. In addition, wildlife feeders and nesting boxes for endangered species are constructed to attract birds to the area.
Curriculum Goals: Understand and describe: characteristics, structure, and functions of organizations; the relationships among living things and between living things and their environment; scientific questions and hypotheses to be investigated; and conduct procedures to collect, organize, and display scientific data.
Practice writing skills through exercises related to habitat development.
Benchmarks: Be able to: plan a simple investigation; collect data from an investigation; use data collected from an investigation and explain the results; describe basic plant and animal structures and their functions; describe the basic needs of living things; identify how some animals gather and store food, defend themselves, and find shelter; describe a habitat and the organisms that live there.
D. Raised Beds/Food Production
Raised beds have been constructed for the growing of food plants. Students learn which garden practices produce the most food. They learn the nutritional values that various plants engender. Students can compare what we grow in the Northwest with other parts of the United States as well as other countries. These beds will be handicapped accessible.
Curriculum Goals: Understand and describe: The relationships among living things and their environment; the transmission of traits in living things; the principles of natural selection and adaptation.
Understand local Native American culture and the use of foods and medicinal herbs and be able to recognize and interpret change and continuity within four themes; interaction of people, cultures and ideas, economic and technological development and their impact on society.
Benchmarks: Be able to: describe basic plant structures and their functions; describe the life cycle of an organism; describe how adaptations help an organism survive in its environment.
Looking to increase you knowledge? In cooperation with Oregon Tilth, Oregon State University is starting an Organic Gardening Certificate Program in 2008 and their Master Gardener Program will be offered online..
E. Metro Composting Demonstration Garden
Another element is the METRO composting demonstration garden, which is used to demonstrate various ways to compost. It is complimented by an outdoor classroom. This area has tables and benches which make the garden useable even in poor weather. It allows for small group presentations to students and community.
F. Rain Garden and Rainbarrels
The newest addition to Woodward Gardens are two rainbarrels that capture water from one end of the outdoor classroom and a Rain Garden with native plants that filter the water from the other side of the classroom. This helps to clean the water before it gets to the wetlands.
Woodward Gardens was certified as the 400th Schoolyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation
Woodward Gardens is proud to be a Green School and a Wildlife Stewards member school.