Green Thumbs Abound in Grade 4

By Kate Merritt
Thirty years ago, Grade 4 teacher Joan Friedman piloted a garden program at JTD, inviting fourth grade students to study the living world by cultivating plants together. "The School built a greenhouse in back of my room, which is where we had our plants for many, many years," shares Mrs. Friedman. "Having it outdoors wouldn’t work because of the deer eating all the plants!" For decades, JTD students have loved these hands-on lessons, discovering which plants thrive (and which plants struggle!), battling pests, and reaping the benefits of their harvests.
In recent years, the garden has been relocated to the roof of the MAC Building and has been integrated into the Grade 4 science curriculum. As students study ecosystems, they learn about the importance each individual environmental component plays in the big picture. In order to have a successful garden, students need to understand the impact of the many different environment components. 
As the students learned about these systems earlier this school year, they began planning their garden plots using a grid system to ensure that each plant had the space to thrive. Starting with seeds and seedlings, students fostered their plants in either the traditional garden or in their aeroponic garden. Students have maintained their garden throughout the spring, learning to solve real-world problems--like squirrels munching on the veggies. Recently, they have started to reap the benefits, harvesting robust crops of garlic, arugula, onion, mint, and tomatoes. 
"Many of our students really respond to caring for a living thing," shares Upper School Science teacher Mike Liggett. "And it doesn't hurt that many students are more likely to try a new vegetable if they've grown it themselves!" 
Bon Appétit, Fourth Grade!

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The John Thomas Dye School

11414 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 476-2811
The John Thomas Dye School admits students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs.

Located In Los Angeles, CA, John Thomas Dye is an independent school for grades K-6. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.