Gardening in the Year 2000
Gardening in the Year 2000 is a proposed gardening project that will involve all elementary students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The project will integrate science, math and literature. The project will require an alternative use of instructional time and an alternative use of part of the school grounds. It will require that funds be allocated for supplies such as seeds, growing containers, potting soil, gardening tools, fertilizers for soil improvement, hoses and sprinklers and that money be allotted for increased water usage. Many of these items could potentially be donated by the community or business. Other materials needed will be science instructional manuals for teachers and a variety of age appropriate literature having a gardening theme. Volunteers will be needed to assist in cultivating the garden plot and to help students in harvesting the produce. The project can culminate in a variety of different ways as decided by each class.
The community to which the school is a part consists of an electorate that is a mixture of Enterprisers, Moralists, New Dealers, and Seculars. This project will appeal to each of these factions for different reasons. The estimated costs for this project would have to be known prior to presenting it to the public.
To appeal to the Moralists, there are many value lessons learned from growing plants. A garden requires commitment and dedication for good results. Growing plants, especially from seeds teaches patience as children wait for seeds to sprout and finally to produce fruit or vegetables. There is the lesson of the life cycle in that seeds grow into plants, plants produce fruit, the plants die, and new life begins again with the seeds from the plants' fruit. Plants require sun, water and soil and nurturing to grow just as humans require food, shelter, clothing and nurturing to grow.
A gardening project might appeal to New Dealers from personal experience and as a lesson in history. Many people living during the Depression depended on their gardens to sustain their families. People were poor and grew and canned much of their own food. Since much of our food is now imported or grown by a small segment of our society, having a garden would be a way of bringing a skill back "home". As with Moralists, there is religious appeal in gardening. The plant begins as a seed, grows, produces fruit, dies and a new plant begins again from the seed of the old plant's fruit. Again, the values of commitment and patience would be appealing to the New Dealers.
To the Seculars the educational aspects of gardening would be emphasized. Growing plants and examining them would be a hands on lesson in biology. Soil composition could be another scientific lesson. There are many picture books about children growing gardens that would incorporate literature into the project. Some Seculars might find peace and harmony in nature rather than religion an in this way gardening may appeal to them. Further, children who may not be high academic achievers may flourish outside and in this way find personal freedom.
The educational aspects of gardening would be presented to Enterprises. There is science, math and economics involved in gardening. Gardening requires planning and implementation of the plan. Effective implementation results in positive results. Math and economics could tie into the gardening project if the produce could be sold. Geometry is involved in gardening regarding the plot size and shape, distances between plants, and heights of plants in order for the plants to reap desirable output. As with Seculars, how science ties in with gardening would be appealing. Teaching children to grow food may be appealing to Enterprisers as an economic or historical lesson. Our society has exported this job or concentrated it in the hands of a few efficient growers as our society has become more technologically advanced. While the ends are different, the means would tie to the New Dealers bringing the task back to American soil.
Scientific aspects of gardening seem as though they would appeal to each group of the electorate for different reasons. For the Moralists the scientific lessons needed to grow healthy strong plants could be analogous to care needed to raise children. For New Dealers, teaching children the science and skills of gardening would be a way of preserving what our society has exported. To Seculars, the science of gardening would be a way of enriching children's lives. To Enterprisers, the science of gardening would be a way of teaching about our country's changing economics and technological advances. Cost and implementation would have to be researched prior to presentation as well as other alternative types of school gardening such as grow labs.