Blue Sky Partners with Ginter to Make Hands-On Science Education Fun
by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
We were delighted to have Blue Sky Fund and Richmond Public Schools‘ Bellevue Elementary School 5th graders back at the Garden this week continuing their outdoor science learning. (We wrote about their first visit to the Garden a few weeks ago.)
The visit had three components: service (they helped put down mulch in the Children’s Garden), using a dichotomous key to determine the species of a tree, and using scientific method to determine how a tree’s canopy effects soil temperature. The children also tasted peppers and beans, right off the plant.
Charles Johnson, Program Manager – Academics, Blue Sky Fund explains the project, “The dichotomous key activity was a tree identification activity based on using cuttings from trees close to the Bloemendaal House. Students took the tree leaf/branch cuttings and would start at numbered stations, answering a series of two-option questions (hence the term dichotomous) in order to identify the tree. Each station, once answered, would send the students to a new numbered station, until they had correctly identified their tree. After we realized the students were quickly catching on to how to do the activity, we made it more challenging by having them scatter the numbers of the stations in random order and then racing another team to see who could identify a new leaf first.”
Take a minute to look through the photos, you’ll see some great learning going on! This program was made possible thanks to a grant from The Dominion Foundation.