Jefferson Elementary

  • Serves students in grades 1-4
  • Garden activities tied to their STEM program
  • Have a student garden team
  • Have both veggie and pollinator gardens
  • The impetus for a garden came from students
  • Partners with summer child daycare program
  • Garden has raised beds, straw bales, trellises, and garden tables

More details...

Third grade students Jefferson Elementary School in New Ulm originally suggested that their school develop a garden after learning about pollinators and the life cycle of plants during STEM lab lessons. They developed several plans for constructing raised garden beds. They grow herbs that attract pollinators and also use the herbs to learn more about healthy, tasty cooking. They grow herbs and vegetables to eat as snacks during the summer childcare hours and they donated the rest of the vegetables to the local food shelf. They also grew flowers to attract and feed pollinators and then shared the flowers with others in the community. All third and fourth grade students attended weekly STEM classes, many of which took place in the garden. Lessons on soil composition, composting, measurement, plant life cycles, pollinators, and more come to life in the garden. Students utilize mobile technology to assist their learning while in the garden. A partnership with the onsite summer childcare program ensured that the garden was cared for during the summer months. The students created a fresh air garden on a cart using milk cartons as containers that can be wheeled from room to room to help provide them with fresh air from the plants. They received support from the MN State Horticulture Society that provided some small EZ Gro raised beds and plants for their start-up year. They also received help from Roots and Shoots to purchase some garden supplies. Their garden is conveniently located close to the school near some large windows so students can view the garden from inside. There are numerous opportunities for students to learn in the garden, and it is available for all classroom teachers to use with their students to enhance classroom science, math, and language arts lessons and can also be used by specialists for a variety of hands-on learning experiences.