Last year, as Grade 2 scientists studied plants and insects on campus, they noticed a problem. While the students had observed lots of wasps and bees pollinating plants around campus, there were no butterflies to be found. This raised many questions for the students, such as “Where are all the butterflies at Graland?” and “Where did they all go?” These questions made the young scientists realize that a pollinator garden was needed at Graland to bring certain pollinators, such as butterflies, back to campus.
Immediately, the Grade 2 scientists rolled up their sleeves and got to work by meeting with a pollinator garden expert at the Butterfly Pavilion, writing persuasive letters to campus stakeholders, and working with Graland horticulturalists to choose the future plant site.
All of this hard work left the continuation of the service learning project in the hands of this year’s curious and driven Grade 2 class. Even though school has only been in session for a month, this year’s students have already made significant progress in designing and planting the pollinator garden utilizing Graland’s design thinking curriculum.
“The first step in the design thinking process is empathy, so we really wanted to consider how other people might use this garden and learn from them,” Grade 2 science teacher Sarah Jackson shared. “To do this, the students interviewed different school leaders, such as Head of School Josh Cobb, and also sent surveys to Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes.”
After hearing from the stakeholders and reviewing the surveys, the students continued their research by learning about native Colorado plants that would attract different pollinators. They even took a class trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens to get inspired by different garden designs and to see pollination in action! Following these exercises, the student groups brought their garden design to life by selecting plants, incorporating requested features from stakeholders, and making sure that the garden will serve as a habitat for pollinators for years to come.
The Grade 2 scientists are excited to share that by the end of the month (with the help of the Butterfly Pavilion, parent volunteers, and the Graland Grounds Team), that the garden will be ready for planting! Way to go, Grade 2 gardeners!
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.