Virtual Urban Gardens

  Big Picture
Equipped with floppy disks, students record results of their scientific observations in computer journals. They learn about the scientific method in their own school garden and urban orchard. Community based organizations contribute to their investigations that in turn are shared with family and other classes on the World Wide Web.

Art, Language Arts, Science,
Grades 35

Key Questions: How do microorganisms affect our world? How are animals adapted to meet basic needs? How do plants with cones make and protect seeds? Students come up with the right stuff when they:
Gather first hand information.
Collect and analyze data.
Interpret how research affects their lives.
Post findings to their computer journal and the Internet. Community links encourage students to look beyond the printed page for answers when they interview and interact with visiting professional and amateur scientists. Special emphasis is on the school garden and orchard. In June, students, family members, and community participants gather in their beloved orchard to celebrate the life process.
Bill Ganter

Teacher Profile

Bill is Science Specialist and Network Administrator at Louis Agassiz Elementary School. MetroLINC Technology Pioneer and Bell Atlantic EdLink Awardee, this BPS Lead Teacher and Science Facilitator contributes to Outdoor Curriculum . Currently instructing at BPS Office of Technology, Bill publishes science web pages with universal accessibility.

Books and Materials

The Outdoor Classroom Curriculum
and Urban Fruit Guide by Diane Goldman Curran & Bill Taylor, Earthworks Projects Inc.; "Animals, Cells and Microorganisms" and "Plant and Animal Life Cycles", from Discovery Works, 1998: Silver Burdett; art supplies

Technology Tools

Computers, digital camera, scanner, Claris Works, Internet


Special #1
Do the Rot Thing Part 1: Decomposition

Special #2

Do the Rot Thing Part 2: Deconstructing Decomposition and Compost

Special #3

Do the Rot Thing Part 3: Big, Fat, Juicy Worms

Special #4

Whose Bud Are You?


Connections between school and community specialists help children learn they have many teachers beyond the classroom. Students develop strong communication skills by demonstrating the relationship between good science and good writing.