Let’s Grow: JCDS Teachers Awarded Florida Agriculture Grant

Three Jacksonville Country Day School teachers were recently awarded a $500 School Garden Grant from the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom (FAITC) program. Library Media Specialist Carole Senn, Technology Specialist Cristina Knodel, and Science/Technology Specialist Shannon Johnson worked together on the grant application. FAITC is funded by sales of the specialty agricultural license plate known as the “ag tag.”
The grant will support the school’s 3rd grade integrated science and library project-based learning unit called "Let's Grow." In this 3rd grade unit, students grow and eat their own vegetables and fruits. Students start off by working in teams to research agricultural crops in library class, including what types of plants grow in the fall and how nutrients in the plants help the human body. With lessons on nutrition included, students gain a greater appreciation for healthy eating.
The 3rd grade students also conduct hands on learning projects in science class, such as testing soil samples for pH and looking at soil through a microscope to identify the different elements in it. Later this fall, they will begin planting the garden.
“Let’s Grow is a hallmark project of 3rd grade. Kids love growing their own vegetables. They learn the process of growing food. They also learn how we can nurture our planet and also about sustainability,“ Ms. Knodel said.
“The unit teaches students that their food comes from the earth; that it’s not just from the grocery store,” Ms. Johnson said.
Gardening captures kids' interest and teaches them nurturing skills.Studies have found that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The Let’s Grow project provides an enriching hands-on experience for 3rd grade students and offers active and engaging connections to academics, including science, math, and nutrition.
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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.