Students enjoy harvesting from the school garden as they have been learning where food comes from. Sixth and seventh graders at the Bordentown Regional Middle School enjoyed the fruits of their labor which included potatoes, carrots, string beans, kale, tomatoes and marigolds.
The garden was started last year by Sue Ognibene, who teaches sixth- and seventh-grade math. Last March, the students planted seeds in the classroom. They wrote in journals predicting when the seeds would germinate and when they would be able to harvest the crops based on the information on the seed packets.
“It’s just taking math and relating it to real life and giving them a hands-on activity,” Ognibene said, noting that her students have seen the benefit of things growing. She said she wants students to see where food comes from and how math is used in situations when they wouldn’t necessarily think so.
Ognibene said some of the children have sampled some of the vegetables for the first time, and some didn’t know potatoes grow in the ground. “I just thought it would be good for the kids to get outside and enjoy this space that was available to us,” she said, indicating that she wants students to experience how they can use math outside of the classroom. “They love it.”
Ognibene said her students were out almost every day in the weeks leading up to summer and dug garden plots themselves by hand. “They love coming out,” she said.
Also, school staff has been bringing in tools so she doesn’t have to spend money herself. “The waiting part was hard for them,” Ognibene said about the children being away from the garden during their summer break. She also said her students learned basic life lessons, such as taking turns, following directions and being safe.