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Learning through gardening: Nancy Varn’s class

Students at Lee Elementary are learning science through the study of up-close gardening.  Each class has their own gardens as they learn the life-skills of how to water plants, how to cultivate the growth of food and what all goes into putting vegetables on their plates; starting from the seeds up.

Nancy Varn’s class of second graders have multiple gardening plots that are filled with a flourishing pumpkin plant, mounds of potatoes, sprouting cauliflower and lettuce as well as a separate raised garden box where they have various herbs growing.

Inside the classroom, the class pet, George the Siamese fighting fish, has an aquaponic tank that is growing rye and radish grass.   The students learn how the nutrition in the grass helps keep George happy and in turn, George helps keep the plants fed and nourished.

In their outdoor gardens, the students hopefully watch their plants bud from the ground and thrive, watching with excitement as the class plans to put together a meal with the produce they are growing.

When asked what he or she found to be their favorite aspect of the gardening project, each student had their own opinion of what made the garden enjoyable.

“[I enjoy] getting to learn how [plants] grow and their life cycles,” said Addison Webb.

“It is fun growing plants,” said Charlize Wimberly. “I like growing plants because you can have vegetables and flowers.”

Lane Stevens said that his favorite aspect of the gardening project was watching the pumpkins grow.

Varn wishes to thank Principal Robin Hill for making the project possible and organizing fundraising for the costs of the gardens and for the 4-H County Extension office for helping put together the boxes needed for the raised beds.

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