While students measured, read, dug, and planned, they were actually learning math lessons in the garden at Moore Magnet Elementary School.
Second graders carried clipboards and bulb planters to the flower section of their outdoor classroom, with pencils tucked behind their ears.
Students Zoey Howe and Dylan Huber explained how they were learning and having fun at the same time, planting flowers. Dylan explained that they were going to plant tulips. “And da, da, dafidils!” Zoey added.
Zoey also said they will mark the area using rulers and measuring sticks. They will stake the flowers to mark their area so groundskeepers won’t accidentally cut them down. “We will measure while planting, because they need to be six inches down and four inches apart,” Dylan said.
Their teacher, Tracy Garza-Bramel, said they are using the engineering process. First, students were given a challenge idea. They brainstormed ideas and then put together a garden. “We created a garden bed using measuring tools based on our math unit. So we are using meter sticks, feet and inches,” Bramel said.
Principal Kim Smith said that every grade level participates in the outdoor classroom. “As part of a STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering Math) initiative, we needed to continue to look different, which was part of the Green initiative. (Moore was the first school to became green certified.) Children learn about life science, where they actually come outside, and by putting their hands in the dirt, eventually understanding what plants need to grow. It’s important for them to walk around with life-long discovery learning,” Smith said.
The outdoor classroom was completed in October 2013. It was started over seven years ago by local architect Brad Martin of Lyle Cook Martin Architects when his daughter, Annalise, attended Moore Magnet.
“Being a Moore parent, I naturally became involved,” Martin said.