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Science in the Schools Butterfly on marigold at ABC garden

Master Gardeners visit both Northumberland Elementary and Lancaster Primary School during the school year to teach 2nd and 3rd grade students about plants, wildlife and the environment.  Ready, Set, Grow, Third Grade Science, and the ABC Garden provide children an entertaining, interactive experience while exploring Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives with their hands and minds.

Ready, Set, Grow teaches the life cycle of a plant by using posters and live plant materials. Master Gardeners visit Lancaster Primary’s 2nd grade classrooms where children can examine seeds, buds, blossoms and fruits.  Each student also plants two milk cartons with sunflower, marigold or zinnia seeds.  Students take one carton home; the other is left in the classroom.  Master Gardeners return in May to help children plant the seedlings in the ABC (A Backyard Classroom) Garden.

Third Grade Science encompasses two topics, Soils and Shoreline Ecology.  Each topic is presented in separate, day-long sessions.

Soils incorporates 3rd grade vocabulary and science SOLs.  By closely examining rocks and earth, students understand the major components of soil, its origins and its importance to plants.  The children also learn how plants turn into compost and they observe worms, ants and other animals that live in the soil.


Shoreline Ecology invites students to visit interactive stations to learn about food chains, animal adaptations, interdependence of plants and animals and the effects humans have on the quality of air, water and habitat.  The exhibits include fish and sea animals, and an EnviroScape to allow children to observe the effects of pollution on a watershed community.



A Backyard Classroom (ABC Garden), is located at Lancaster Primary School, and is maintained by Master Gardeners.  The garden is the classroom for students and is used by all students as a place to appreciate the natural world.


 Students Using Math and Science (SUMS) was a weekly, after-school program for 2nd and 3rd graders at Lancaster Primary School.  The science-enrichment curriculum was based on horticulture and incorporated SOLs.  Lesson topics included food and nutrition, the life cycles of plants, soils, insects, birds, bees and their habitats, and farming in the Northern Neck.  Math concepts were used in planning and planting the garden.  Master Gardeners developed the weekly lesson plans, conducted activities and worked with the children in the ABC Garden.

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.



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