1. Emily Harris
  2. https://bscs.org/profile/emily-harris/
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  5. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  6. BSCS Science Learning
  1. Whitney Cohen
  2. Education Director
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  4. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  5. Life Lab
  1. Terra Giotta
  2. Living Classroom Educator
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  4. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  5. Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary
  1. Ilana Lowe
  2. 4th and 5th grade teacher
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  4. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  5. Main Street Elementary
  1. Sara Severance
  2. Educator Training Specialist
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  4. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  5. Life Lab
  1. Jeffrey Snowden
  2. Research Associate
  3. Teacher Learning and Leadership Through Agricultural Engineering
  4. https://bscs.org/educator_resource/engineering-in-the-garden/
  5. BSCS Science Learning
Facilitators’
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Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 9, 2022 | 07:59 p.m.

    Welcome to Engineering in the Garden! This video highlights our professional learning program that is designed to help 3rd – 5th grade classroom teachers and garden educators use schoolyards and gardens for engineering and science learning. We are finishing the program this month and are still collecting data, so we don’t have results to share yet. We invite your questions, comments and discussion.

    • What are your thoughts about using schoolyards and gardens for engineering design?
    • What questions or ideas do you have about how to support elementary teachers to use gardens for engineering?
    • What questions or ideas do you have about how to support garden educators to facilitate engineering experiences that build over time?
  • May 10, 2022 | 09:59 a.m.

    I especially like how this gets kids outside.  There are so many disciplines that can be wrapped into this project. 

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 02:25 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video, April! Our educators have been amazing at integrating multiple disciplines into their engineering in the garden units. 

  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 10, 2022 | 10:17 a.m.

    WOW! I see and can think of so many possible instructional scenarios that can be built from the springboard you have built. I love the idea of building trellises as part ot the gardening experience.  Once upon a time, I had a garden in the shape of one of the continents outside my classroom but I never thought of adding an engineering component. One of the teacher's spoke about working both in and outside the classroom. othen than the actual work around the engineering design process with the trellis have you seen other examples and or opportunities for potential integration that need to be built on or called out?  I am wondering will you contune to follow or have virtual study groups where teachers can connect and support each other. Can you leverage the gardening experience to increase time available for science and engineering in the classroom?  How might this program be expanded to other states?

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 03:53 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions, Kathy!

    • In terms of classroom teachers working in and outside the classroom, with the Designing Trellises unit educators spent time outside building and testing designs. In the classroom, they had students develop and revise designs and engage in sensemaking conversations about how trellis designs worked, why, and which designs to install in the garden. Through these conversations students built science ideas about balanced forces in addition to their discussions about engineering process. 
    • Our program is just ending and we don't have a plan for continued support, but it's a great idea. Many of the participants have expressed excitement to teach their unit again next fall and to think about other engineering in the garden units they might design in the future. We would love to continue learning from these educators' creativity! 
    • We don't have plans to expand the program to other states. However, all of the resources from the Designing Trellises unit and tools for planning your own engineering in the garden unit will be freely available this summer so people can take up and build on these materials. 
  • May 10, 2022 | 12:39 p.m.

    I really liked how you felt good "being in the mess"; when a unit covers large chunks of curriculum in a 3D fashion it may take more time than expected. I have seen how students better retain some of the information by tying it to the personal experiences they had in the design and testing phases; however, I am not sure if there is data to validate this personal assumption. Did teachers provide any feedback on the learning progress of their students? Is there interest or plans in the future to measure the student-level growth?

    Thanks for leading this hard work (and hopefully fun work)!

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 10:14 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video, Michael! Facilitating 3D learning definitely involves "being in the mess" and working with the unknown of what students will bring. We focused this phase of the work on developing the program and evaluating teacher learning. So, we aren't measuring student outcomes now. However, if we scale up the work in the future, we are very interested in student-level growth!

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    Science Instructor
    May 10, 2022 | 07:22 p.m.

    I immediately shared your video with a colleague/principal that is starting school gardens at a newly constructed middle school.  They decided to start with trellis gardens.  I am excited to dive into your website when it becomes available to get a better sense of the way you are incorporating the outside garden space with classroom learning goals related to engineering practices.  Can you share any aspects of the design process progression you use and how traditional classroom teachers built their comfort with the "messiness" of the engineering endeavor?  I am also curious why tillage is used in your future website url..  

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 11:06 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video and sharing it, Margo! We are excited for folks to explore and build on these materials. 

    A few of the things we emphasized in professional learning to support teacher's comfort with the "messiness" were 1) developing classroom norms at the start of the unit and revisiting them frequently to help with group work and shared decision making and, 2) setting up the design goal as a classroom endeavor (e.g. we're trying to figure out a trellis design that will support our peas, rather than who has the "best" design). Engineering is challenging social work where learners need to listen to each other's ideas and make decisions for a shared purpose. Those supports seemed to help teachers feel more comfortable finding their way alongside their students. 

    For our design process, we built on Kristen Wendell and her colleague's excellent work and we included design phases of unpack the problem, ideate and research, create and test, evaluate, and communicate, which don't necessarily follow in that specific order. We also included a suite of flexible design activities within those phases, such as define criteria and constraints, give and receive feedback, sketch, explain designs, and make decisions.

    TILLAGE is an acronym for the title of the grant that funded this work: Teacher Learning and Leadership through Agricultural Engineering. When we finished this video, we realized that Engineering in the Garden would be more descriptive and user friendly but we'd already set up the website.  :)

  • Icon for: Christine Goforth

    Christine Goforth

    Researcher
    May 11, 2022 | 12:34 a.m.

    This is such a fun project! Love that it gets kids outside and designing engineering projects.

    I’m curious - did you sit in on the study sessions, and if so are you using the things learn from them to inform revisions to your plans and materials?

  • Icon for: Jeffrey Snowden

    Jeffrey Snowden

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 11, 2022 | 11:15 a.m.

    Thanks for the comments and questions Christine! We did sit in on the virtual study group sessions where teachers shared their experiences of implementing the unit with students. It was very informative for us to hear first hand the successes and struggles the teachers and students had. We are incorporating what we heard into our project evaluation work and if we scale up the work in the future we will defiantly be using what we learned from the virtual sessions.

  • May 11, 2022 | 09:56 a.m.

    Hi Emily,

    I love your projects approach to the interrelationship between gardening and engineering! I think it really supports kids (and teachers) see how natural and human systems overlap. This is such exciting work!

    -Laura

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 02:26 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video, Laura! We are excited for students to see themselves as part of and contributing to the gardens at their schools in new ways. 

  • Icon for: Latrenda Knighten

    Latrenda Knighten

    Facilitator
    Mathematics Content Trainer
    May 11, 2022 | 04:48 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project! What a wonderful idea for a project!  I think using a garden theme to teach engineering concepts is a great idea for real-life application of engineering concepts for students. It's especially applicable since so many students live in food deserts and it's beneficial to teach students about gardening.  Do any of your participating teachers teach in communities that are classified as food deserts? What has been the most surprising observation you've made during your school visits this school year? Are there any plans to collaborate with groups that offer community gardens?

  • Icon for: Jeffrey Snowden

    Jeffrey Snowden

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 12, 2022 | 06:29 p.m.

    Thanks for the comments and questions Latrenda! One of the participating schools is located in a food desert, which I agree makes it even more applicable to students learning agriculture and seeing the benefits of being able to grow their own food from a young age. While we didn't visit the schools when teachers were implementing the unit we did hear a lot of feedback from the teachers. They expressed some surprise at how well students worked together, collaboratively designing and building (not that it was all so easy going all the time though). While we don't have plans to extend the unit yet, collaborating with community gardens would be an interesting way to extend the work outside school gardens.

  • Icon for: Nichole Gosselin

    Nichole Gosselin

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2022 | 10:43 p.m.

    I love that you are teaching engineering through hands-on learning and incorporating being outdoors and gardening!  Although we worked with high school and college age students, we also saw a lot of benefits from hands-on learning of many physics concepts through projects involving agriculture.  Do you feel the students are more interested in both engineering and agriculture after going through this program

  • Icon for: Jeffrey Snowden

    Jeffrey Snowden

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 12, 2022 | 12:50 p.m.

    Hi Nichole, from listening to the teachers and reading some of their feedback we've seen a lot of benefits from the hands-on aspects of the unit. Students have been excited to draw out a sketch of their own design knowing they will get to build a model of it, and potentially a full size trellis. They also get really interested and excited to go out into the garden! The hands on aspects of building, testing and planting not only seems to increase their agency but also their interest and motivation in engineering and agriculture! While our evaluation focused on the teachers, it would be really interesting to collect data on the effects of these hand-on units on students interest and motivation to learn more engineering and agriculture. 

  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 13, 2022 | 12:06 a.m.

    I love this project and it immediately sent me to my photos looking for garden photos and I found them yea! Now that you have done this project and seen the results, what do you still have? What are you wondering 

  • Icon for: Sara Severance

    Sara Severance

    Co-Presenter
    Educator Training Specialist
    May 13, 2022 | 11:33 p.m.

    Hi Kathy,

    I love that this project inspired you to find your garden photos.  Yay! Other questions we are starting to think about include what kind of student impacts this project and other engineering in the garden projects may have.  Many of our teachers have shared that they are eager to try other engineering projects following a similar framework such as designing rain catchment systems, or pollination devises.  We wonder what kind of impact these kinds of experiences have on students' science and engineering content knowledge as well as their own perceptions of themselves as engineers. We're also wondering how we might scale-up a project like this to reach more teachers and students. 

  • Icon for: Francheska Figueroa

    Francheska Figueroa

    Researcher
    May 14, 2022 | 08:00 p.m.

    Hi Emily,

    Great video and project! So good to see students outside working in and with the land around them. I have a couple of quick questions: How were multilingual learners/English learners supported during the engineering phase of building a trellis? And how might you imagine this project happening in an inner city to get all students excited about engineering through gardening? Again, I love this project ; )

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 14, 2022 | 08:44 p.m.

    Hi Francheska, Thanks for watching and for your questions!

    We included some supports for emergent multilingual learners in the Designing Trellises unit. Educators "give" students some words they need to be able to engage in the task before starting.  For example, to participate in group work, students all need to be able to talk about the trellis, the bamboo, twine. In contrast, students "earn" some conceptual words after making sense of ideas in lessons using everyday language. For example, after students build prototypes and talk about how the sticks need to push on each other, then students are introduced to conceptual ideas like forces and balance. Similarly, students are introduced to criteria after several lessons of talking about how we'll know if our trellises will work. 

    As we were selecting designing trellises as the focus of the model unit, we considered many common garden issues and needs. We landed on this because peas are a crop that can grow during the school year in many locations and could be grown in an established garden or in just one container on the schoolyard. Our hope is that this design task could happen in many places, including in cities that might have gardening space constraints. In addition, our intention with the model unit is that it could inspire educators to consider what other issues they have on their schoolyard that they and their students might be able to design for, whether there is a garden established or not.

  • Icon for: Jackelyn Lopez Roshwalb

    Jackelyn Lopez Roshwalb

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2022 | 11:59 a.m.

    This sounds like an amazing program for both teachers and students. Were there other units developed in addition to the trellis unit? Do you imagine that a school that uses this unit would have the new round of students replace the trellises each year? Do the students discuss the end-of-life plan for their trellises, including how they might be reused when they are no longer used as trellises?

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 16, 2022 | 07:09 p.m.

    Thanks for watching our video and for your questions, Jackelyn! We only developed the trellis unit, but we generated many ideas for other units that could be developed. A few favorites included: designing bee hotels to attract native bees (appropriate for an established garden, but not as much for a schoolyard with one planter) and designing cold frames to keep crops warm in the winter months (appropriate for middle school thermal energy standards). Some educators decided to teach other units of their own design such as designing pollinator wands.

    Students did not discuss the end-of-life plan for their trellises, but that is a wonderful idea and one we may take up in revising the unit before it's released this summer. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  • Icon for: Paul Beardsley

    Paul Beardsley

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2022 | 03:47 p.m.

    Great work Life Lab and BSCS. What an inspiring project, connecting school gardens with meaningful professional development for elementary students. Would love to hear if this project is extending the Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis line of research that has been so influential. Great video!

  • Icon for: Emily Harris

    Emily Harris

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 06:27 p.m.

    Hi Paul, Thanks for watching the video, your question, and your prior STeLLA work! We had hoped to develop several videocases and use a subset of SteLLA strategies in our professional learning. Because of the pandemic, we could only film one lesson in one classroom, so we ended up with just one videocase that helps educators consider how to set up classroom culture for productive group work. It would have been such a value add to the project. Definitely on our radar for future work!

  • May 17, 2022 | 07:08 p.m.

    Fantastic project.   Gardens are a wonderful way to engage in authentic STEM experiences.  

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