Robyn Yorker’s Stepping Stones Day Program class at the Center for Instruction Technology and Innovation is involved in a project-based learning unit using recycled milk cartons to create a garden.
As part of the project, the students were tasked to vote on what plants they were interested in growing in their class garden. The vote resulted in a decision to include plants that could be used to make salsa.
The students researched salsa recipes and determined that tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions and cilantro would be planted. Each student took responsibility for the planting and daily care of their seeds. They worked together to decide what form their recycled carton garden would take and determined that a city scene would best represent their school. They designed and built the garden structure with teacher guidance.
The students researched plants in ELA and science, performing experiments and learning about their life cycles, parts and adaptations. They kept “Gardeners’ Journals” and documented plant growth and information learned about the plants.
In order to participate in a national recycling carton gardening contest, the team created a slide show depicting their work on the cityscape garden and then submitted it to Evergreen Packaging to be judged.
In celebration of their harvest and Cinco de Mayo, the team hosted a salsa and chips party in which they compared the taste of pre-packaged salsa to their homemade salsa made with their garden ingredients. The students and their guests took a survey, and the fresh salsa was the resounding winner.
The students now await the results of the judging of their project and will learn if they have won a regional or even national prize on May 22, 2015 that will be based upon compliance with contest rules, quality, and sustainability and creativity criteria.