The Garden Storyline provides a sequence of Learning Engagements (LE) that engage learners in a field-based science investigation in food-for-human / annual vegetable gardens. The Garden Storyline was designed to be used in informal learning environments, but can be adapted for use in school-based garden learning. The Storyline was originally designed using a 5-day summer camp structure, however the LEs are modular and can be divided up to be used in a variety of formats that best suits the learning program (afterschool programs, weekend programs, community garden club, etc).
This is only one piece of a much larger ecosystem of materials that are part of the Learning in Places project. In the Learning in Places project, we co-design innovative research and practice with educators, families, and community partners that cultivate equitable, culturally based, socio-ecological systems learning and sustainable decision-making utilizing “field based” science education in outdoor places, including gardens, for children in Pre-Kindergarten to 3rd grade and their families.
The Garden Storyline is composed of several Learning Engagements (LEs). The LEs guide garden educators in a science investigation in the garden. When using the Learning in Places Rhizome as a guiding lens, gardens can be locations for rigorous, relevant, equitable and critical science learning that is woven into the larger community. The Garden Storyline supports learners to begin to develop a “gardening habit of mind” and build their knowledge, decision-making skills, and confidence around garden tasks. Rather than learning about various garden facts or tasks that are told to them by a more experienced garden educator, the Garden Storyline makes visible the reasoning that experienced gardeners use that is behind the “why and how” of making a decision in the garden. This includes demonstrating the thinking patterns and strategies of a gardener and how various considerations (including ethical considerations) influence their decision making.
The storyline is made up of nine different Learning Engagements (LEs):
- Histories of Places Garden Walk: think across multiple time scales to consider how the garden came to be the way it is today and what it could be in the future
- “What Should We do?” Questions in the Garden: learn about common garden tasks to form a garden “Should We” question.
- Developing a Model of the “Should We” Question: create a model to help us think more deeply about the things we need to know to answer the “Should We” question
- Exploring Different Garden Methods: dig into three different methods expert gardeners consider when approaching this garden task to see how various considerations influence decision making
- Community Interview: gather information by interviewing a community garden expert
- Data Collection: conduct a field-based investigation to collect data and gather information to explore the garden “Should We” question.
- Summarizing Data to make a Decision: make sense of the data you have gathered to answer your “Should We” question
- Taking Action in the Garden: Take action and apply the garden method with your group
- Helping the Garden Grow: Sharing Your Findings with Future Gardeners: share out your decisions and the application of the garden method
Use the storyline graphic to navigate to activities and foundational frameworks, or go to the full list below.