Gardening Projects for All Kids
by Susan Kramer
Getting out in the garden can be for more
than getting fresh air and exercise. When you include children with learning
disabilities in your garden projects you are creating opportunities for
Math and language skills and creative thinking are used in planning the use of space in the garden.
For example, building a small vegetable plot begins with looking at your garden space together to see how much space is available. Then using a tape measure together, the size of the plot can be measured and recorded in a little notebook to use at the table later.
When back inside at the table together, or outdoors at a picnic table, a drawing can be made of the proposed plot from the measurements taken. Now you have used math skills for measuring and drawing the shape of your garden plot, and language skills to talk about what you want to plant in your new garden space.
Now that you've drawn the outline for the garden, divide up the space into sections, perhaps long rectangular shapes for each separate kind of plant. Or maybe you'd like to make another group of shapes like squares. And if you want a visual effect pie slices are a fun shape to draw out and plant.
Take your drawings with you and go back out to the garden to lay out the outline and sections for planting. Laying down outlines with twine or rope is good because they can easily be changed, and this is a kinesthetic way to learn the different geometric shapes. In the future when a square or rectangle is needed, the garden shapes can come to mind, having been a hands on project.
Doing the actual planting of seeds or seedlings uses math skills, also. Counting out the seeds and laying them at specific intervals like 4 inches or 10cm apart teaches about equal spaces and these measurement systems. I use a tape measure with both inches and centimeters on it - handy while both systems are in use.
If your garden plot is 4 feet long it is an opportunity to point out that means it is 120cm long. By the way, one inch is approximately 2.5 centimeters - for all practical purposes. One foot is 30 centimeters, and one meter is 100 centimeters.
In summary, gardening projects with the kids are opportunities to use math skills, particularly learning about basic geometric shapes and practice with taking and using measurements. And talking about the whole process is practice with communication skills and uses creative thinking.
copyright Susan Kramer 2001-2015