Digging It – A Garden That Is

By Angela Carmon, June 1, 2009

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Green Design

Subject Area

  • Technology

Lesson Time

360 minutes for classroom activities


The purpose of this project is to use the design process to ultimately create a school/community garden. Community gardens offer a host of benefits including social, economic, recreational and educational advantages. Alarmingly, the skills and knowledge associated with gardening are on the decrease, while obesity and hunger are on the rise. The purpose of Lesson One is for students to investigate the advantages for the school, community, and other stakeholders of designing a community garden. Moreover, students will use the design process to brainstorm, collaborate, compromise, advocate, and propose realistic means to design a school/community garden. The goals for this process are to engage students in the scope and sequence necessary to ultimately design and create a school/community garden.

National Standards

Health Education

Standard 1. Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health<o :p>

Standard 3. Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health

Standard 4. Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks

Standard 7. Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks

Standard 8. Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family and community health

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will:

  • research the benefits of a school/community garden
  • investigate and surmise the key stakeholders integral to a school/community garden
  • propose an action plan for advocating, and assimilating a school/community garden
  • consider the key stakeholders, and the steps needed to best create the school/community garden
  • appraise, compare, contrast, and lastly decide on the means in which to off-set the start up cost associated with a school/community garden



  • Gathering 101 Handout
  • Venn Diagram Handout
  • colored markers
  • paper


  • biennial: an herbaceous plant that germinates, grows slowly during the first year, then spikes up, blooms, sets seed, and dies in the second year
  • detail sketch: a sketch that provides instruction as to how something is constructed or assembled
  • elevation sketch: a sketch, drawn to scale, that shows a straight-on view, without showing sides, background or any sense of perspective
  • herbaceous: a soft-stemmed plant that dies back to the ground at the end of the growing season
  • organic: naturally produced without manmade chemicals
  • perspective sketch: a type of sketch or drawing that shows a sense of depth through the use of vanishing points and angled lines
  • perennial: an herbaceous plant that returns and grows every year
  • scale: the size relationship between objects in order to show accurate proportions
  • schematic design: the portion of the design process where ideas are generated
  • sustainable: able to thrive and be maintained with minimal effort and minimal consumption of natural resources


Day 1:

1. Learners will be assigned elite learning teams.

2. Each learning team will meet at assigned computer.

3. Teams will go to mscoachcarmon.com to North Atlanta to Digging it...Web Quest Part I.

4. Learning teams will spend the first fifteen minutes on introductions and previewing the Web Quest. Be sure they scroll through each section, and surf a few of the links.

5. Specific questions will be answered for five minutes.

6. When each team is done, they should raise their hands, and the challenge for Day 1 will be delivered.   Teams should keep in mind that they will have fifty-five minutes for the gathering stage of the challenge.

Day 2:

1. Learning teams should retrieve their materials folder from Day 1, and take five minutes to review.

2. Learning teams will have the opportunity to hear a panel representing the key community stakeholders with a common interest in creating a community garden share their opinions and ideas. At this time, the actual site for the garden will be disclosed, and any other decisions that are pre-existing.

3. Next, learning teams will have ten minutes to discuss and digest the information shared by the panel.

4. Learning teams will then have the opportunity to interview the panel one on one for five minutes each.

5. Now, geared with the garden specs, and the opinions and thoughts expressed by the community stakeholder, learning teams will brainstorm possible problems or challenges. By the end of the class period, each learning team will narrow down and fine tune the problem.

Day 3:

1. Each learning team will begin brainstorming possible solutions. Students should be sure to defer judgment!  They should not throw away any art work, no matter how ridiculous they may feel it is. The teams will be using these ideas to assist in editing and developing the ideas. Teams will have twenty-five minutes to brainstorm. Teams should keep in mind that next class, their team will be sharing their process and ideas.

2. Learning teams will continue fine tuning the final project.  Teams should keep in mind that they want their project to be visual, to the point, clear, and concise.  Teams will have exactly five minutes to share their problems, and the solutions. The work should speak for itself! Teams will have the next fifty minutes to fine tune.

3. Team proposals  will include: The problem, and their solution(s) to the problem. Teams may choose the from the following technology tools: Power Point, Podcast, Video, Slide Show, Cam Studio, or 3-D Creation. Enjoy!

Day 4:

1. Each team will have the first ten minutes to consult and prepare for presentation.

2. The community stakeholder panel will be introduced.

3. Each team will have exactly five minutes to present.

4. The panel will then have five minutes for questions and input.


  Students will be assessed in the following ways:
  1. formal observation by teacher
  2. self assessment
  3. peer assessment

Enrichment Extension Activities

  • Students communicate with students at neighboring schools who are already involved in a community garden project.
  • Students research and investigate gardening strategies in other countries.
  • Students design a garden using a three=dimensional program.
  • Students advocate for a community garden in the community.

Related Files

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.