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The Nature Conservancy, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health

Resource Types

  • Projects
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Videos, 5 minutes, 3 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 5 minutes, 47 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 4 minutes, 20 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 4 minutes, 14 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



PDF, YouTube Video

Resources for Building a School Garden

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  • This resource from the Nature Conservancy provides information about how to plan, build, and maintain a school or community garden. 
  • It teaches students about sustainability within their community, discusses the difference between abiotic and biotic factors within a habitat, and helps students develop knowledge about biodiversity and ecosystems.

Teaching Tips


  • The videos provide an easy way for students to learn about gardens and overcome any worries they may have about tending to a garden.
  • This can be beneficial for students to see how food grows and feel a sense of accomplishment after building their own garden.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the following vocabulary words: habitat, pollinator, community, ecosystem, abiotic, and biotic.


  • Students can be grouped to collaborate on planning out the different aspects of the garden.
  • The planning part of this resource can be tied into geometry classes, as each plant needs enough space around it to thrive and the garden plot must be measured out to determine the number of plants that can be used.
  • To connect this activity to language arts classes, have students journal about the environment around the garden or have students listen and observe as many wildlife animals as possible.
  • Social studies classes can discuss how local and community gardens can build resilient communities and provide healthy and affordable food for communities in need, while increasing urban green spaces and fighting climate change.
Scientist Notes
The resource provides a clear insight on sustainable methods of preparing and maintaining gardens. Gardens are essential in reducing CO2 levels in the biosphere. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 5.ESS3.1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3.ETS1.1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
      • 5.ETS1.1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 5.LS2.1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
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