Autumn (August through November)
For this fall season, we start off with a story in the Garden that celebrates the harvest. Afterwards we embark on a scavenger hunt for different plants in the garden to learn more about what is growing at the current time! We’ll have fun at various garden stations. We’ll go on a worm hunt at the compost station, have fun with seeds, learn about harvesting, and more! We will finish off with munching on a nibble of some pumpkin seeds and raisins at the end.
Spring (March through May)
In spring, we open with reading about how gardens wake up in this beautiful season of blossoms, seeds, and rain. Afterwards we embark on a scavenger hunt for different plants in the garden to learn more about what is growing at the current time! We’ll dig in the dirt at the soil station, and we’ll go on a worm hunt. Then we will have fun with a seed sorting and matching activity, where we will learn about the different plants that come from seeds. And we’ll be sure to munch on some sugar snap peas, enjoying the seeds instead of saving them. We finish with planting some seeds to take home and watch grow!
*For kindergarten, we will focus on the sun and the water that goes into making plants grow, and the important relationships between land, animals, and people (NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS3).
*For first grade, we will incorporate the waning or waxing light of the sun, and how it affects the season, the plants, and the animals (NGSS 1-ESS1-2).
*For second grade, fall lessons will concentrate on the dispersal of seeds, while spring lessons will focus on plants needing light, water, and nutrients to grow (NGSS 2-LS2).
Students will have a chance to learn about seeds, planting seeds in starter flats, transplanting, and/or composting, depending on the season. Class will start off with a scavenger hunt to learn about the tools and crops in the garden. And we will be sure to munch on some garden snack during the time!
*For third grade, we focus on noticing plant variations over its species, especially in terms of how these plants reproduce through their seeds (3-LS4-2).
*For fourth grade, we look at plants’ various parts, including their root systems, their stems, their flowers, seed functions, etc. (4-LS1-1).
*For fifth grade, we investigate what plants need to grow, including water and the sun, but also taking into account the nutrients and other factors that keep the plant healthy (5-LS1-1).
Middle school students will be able to learn not just about how to grow plants, but they will learn about crop seasonality and the relation of a garden to the larger ecosystem. We start out with a time to be “detectives” in the garden and practice making observations with all our senses. We will have a chance to learn about seeds, planting seeds in starter flats, transplanting, and/or composting, depending on the lesson’s focus. As with all field trips, we will be sure to munch on something from the garden.
*For middle school, we will explore how energy is stored and transmitted from one object to another throughout the whole plant cycle (MS-PS3).
The high school field trip aligns well with social studies or culture classes that are exploring civilizations throughout history. In the autumn at Common Ground, students have the chance to see unusual summer grains—quinoa, amaranth, and maize—ready for harvest. In the spring, students can see the winter grains—wheat, rye, barley, oats, and more—growing. Students will identify and learn wild history facts about each grain. At the same time, we will experience history by threshing, winnowing, and grinding these grains. To finish the class, we will taste one of the grains cooked either into a traditional bread or cake. We will also discuss the issue of modern agriculture in contrast to ancient practices, weighing the conundrum that organic agriculture faces.
*Though this field trip is more focused on the historical facet of grains as related to civilizations, it can also start the conversation about the interaction between earth and human activity (HS-ESS3).
Sliding Scale Pricing
We want every school to have the opportunity to come to Common Ground Garden, regardless of the cost. For Title I schools, we have the chance to waive fees for 15 classes, thanks to the generosity of the Palo Alto Holiday Fund.
Once the sponsored 15 field trips are completed, we offer discounted rates for Title I schools: $3 per student for K-2, and $4 per student for grades 3-12, each with a minimum of 20 students.
Tailoring the Field Trip
We hope to tailor the field trip to your class. While we can only vary so much from the menu, every class is different, and we want to be able to integrate outdoor learning into a variety of subjects. Whether you are a social studies teacher, an English language arts teacher, a math teacher, or a science teacher, reach out to us with your ideas.
While the optimal times for field trips are in the fall (August through November) and the spring (March through May) months, it is possible to schedule a trip during other times during the year. Please remember that the garden will be more dormant during other seasons!
Interested in a field trip to Common Ground Garden? Use the sign up form below to reach out about planning your class’s field trip!