Academic achievement is the primary focus of educators throughout the country. Emphasis is placed on ensuring students perform at satisfactory levels guided by local, state and national academic standards. All lessons and activities must complement mandatory standards to merit the use of valuable classroom time.
A school garden is a perfect tool to provide hands-on learning experiences for any academic subject. Science is the most common subject linked to gardens. Many teachers use the garden as a laboratory to introduce students to scientific methods through plant-related experiments. Additionally, a garden provides a place to study weather, insects, soil and other environmental topics. It’s the ideal habitat model for studying ecosystems. The real-life experiences contribute greatly to students’ comprehension and retention of new science knowledge, a fact supported by studies linking participation in a gardening program to increases in science achievement scores.
In addition to science, the garden provides opportunities to teach mathematics, history-social science, English language arts, and visual and performing arts. Concepts that seem abstract in the classroom come alive in a garden setting. For instance, students find taking daily measurements of garden bean plants and then charting the growth rate to determine the fastest growing plant in the garden much more exciting than charting numbers provided by a textbook.