Garden Math

It's been a busy start to the school year over here! I hope you've been following along on my Instagram page. 

Balancing and weighing the garden harvest.

Balancing and weighing the garden harvest.

One of the best things about my job is working with such creative people. I wanted to take a minute to tell you about one of the projects I did over the summer. I was assigned to lead a camp this summer that uses the school farm to teach Kindergarten and first grade math skills, and I really wasn't really sure which subject material would be most important for these girls to review. My awesome coworker and fantastic Kindergarten teacher Heather Fontana came to the rescue. We came up with some great activities that builds age-appropriate math skills for the little ones, all while they're having fun in the garden. The best part is that these projects are easily adaptable to your home or school garden.

They graphed their harvest! 

They graphed their harvest! 

  • Our first project was designed to help the girls brush up on graphing and one-to-one correspondence. We harvested tomatoes, beans, eggplant, okra, and flowers. They had to count out the number of each item we picked, and then, they had to graph it. They counted out the number of little squares that corresponded with the number of each variety of veggies they harvested. For example, we harvested 17 eggplant, so they had to count out 17 little graph squares that represented each harvested eggplant. This was a challenge for them, but they loved being able to easily see which number was the greatest and which was the least. 
  • One-to-one correspondence proved to be a little tricky for some of the younger girls, so I made little cards with different numbers from 1-20. The girls had to take some of the beans that they harvested and fill the card with the corresponding number of beans. This task was challenging at first, but the girls got better and better at it. 
  • We also worked on weighing skills, as well as the concepts of less and more. We had a couple of pumpkins come in early. The girls had to predict which pumpkin they thought had the most seeds in it. Then, I cut open the pumpkins and let the girls remove the "guts." I asked them if it would be reasonable for us to count out each one of the hundreds of pumpkin seeds. We talked about other ways we could find out which pumpkin had more. This led us to discuss balance and weight. We talked about how a pan balance worked, and they filled each side of the balance up with the seeds from their pumpkin. They noted how when one side dropped, that meant it was heavier, and if that side was heavier, we could probably assume there were more seeds there. The girls also used the balances to compare like with unlike. They filled one side up with beans, and tried to discover how many of the other veggies they harvested it would take to make the sides balance. 
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The garden is a natural place to learn math and spacial reasoning skills. Do you have a favorite garden math activity? Let's hear about it! 

Happy growing, 

Mary Riddle