Q: What did one hurricane say to another hurricane? A: I've got my eye on you - Master Gardeners Hugh and Mary began the session with enticing jokes that fascinated the kids.
Feeling comfortable and entertained, the kids joined in and shared their own jokes. In the words of a student from class - "This was the best class ever. I love gardening".
The lesson from today's class weather and how it relates to plants and their growth. To illustrate the lesson, the students made their own thermometers and barometers.
It was an exciting class also because it signified their first harvest! As part of our garden observations, we saw that some of our radishes are fully grown and ready to be eaten. The students felt pride in pulling out radishes that they had planted as seeds just a few weeks ago. Then, we washed and tasted the radishes. They were delicious!
The students continued to make observations about the garden.The strawberries were beginning to peek out of the soil, the lettuce plants were flourishing, the soil was wet enough, and there were a few weeds.
Next was garden maintenance, in which the students removed the weeds. Weeds compete with plants for space, nutrients, and sunlight. The students then helped the pea tendrils wrap around the stakes so they have support to grow upright. Additionally, the students, with the help of the volunteers, re-purposed existing tomato cages around others beans and climbers to use as support.
Returning back to making thermometers and barometers. For thermometers, the students filled empty plastic water bottles with water and rubbing alcohol in a 1:1 ratio, added food coloring, stuck a straw through the top of the bottle, ensuring that it does not reach the bottom; and then to put a thick layer of modeling clay around opening of the bottle to create a tight seal. The students then put their thermometers in the sun and observed the liquid rising signifying rise in air temperature. As the liquid warmed up, the pressure changes inside and alcohol expanded and traveled up the straw. Alcohol is sensitive to changes in temperature and pressure. The students also learned about barometers, and had the opportunity to make their own. Barometers are instruments that measure air pressure. The procedure for making the barometer was to stretch a balloon over the top of a mason jar, cut the straw in half, and tape it in place over the top of the mason jar. A change in air pressure will be detected if the straw moves up or down. If the straw moves up, it signifies high pressure. We did not notice any significant changes in air pressure.
Next, the students learned about the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day to day conditions of a designated place, whereas climate is the overall conditions of a region over a more extended period of time. Furthermore, they learned that seasons are established through the axis of the Earth, which affects the direction by which the sunlight hits the Earth in certain areas. They learned that weather affects plants as plants generally grow faster with increasing air temperatures, up to a certain point. Extreme heat will also terminate the growth of plants and result in the increase of moisture loss.
Lastly, the students planted cauliflower plants. They prepared by raking the soil to even it out, teasing the soil in the container that the cauliflower came in to prevent the roots from circling and to promote root spread, and then they planted the cauliflower in the soil.They added a layer of mulch to prevent sunlight from hitting and keeping moisture in, and concluded the process by watering the five cauliflower plants that they planted.
Attached are some pictures from the session. To see all pictures from the session, please visit: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BxO-aSnx75yIYWxjVXdUVUlHOXM