Garden Lessons: What’s changing our garden? (2nd Grade)


Grade(s): 2nd

Lesson Objective(s): Sweet potatoes & cabbage worms are living things that cause changes in the garden

Ohio Curriculum Standard: Living things cause changes in it’s environment

Supplies Needed

  • Whiteboards & expo markers

  • Buckets by sweet potato station

  • Buckets by cabbage worm station

  • Ramekins (for sweet potato snack)

  • Roasted sweet potatoes (olive oil, salt pepper, rosemary)- in instapot to keep warm

  • spoon (for sweet potato snack)

  • 2, square foot stick-squares (for observation of soil)

  • Big Whiteboard (for teacher)

  • Watering cans (in high tunnel, filled)

  • Cabbage worm in a jar

  • Dug up sweet potato

  • Soap (by hand-washing station)

  • Harmonica

Introduction (5 mins):

  • Welcome everyone to garden: introduce self & grown-up helpers again

  • Show class sweet potato: Does anyone have a guess what this is?

  • Show class Cabbage worm in jar: Does anyone have a guess what this is?

  • Today, we really need your help harvesting sweet potatoes and collecting cabbage worms!

Activity (20 mins)

Divide students into 2 groups. One group goes to cabbage worm station, one group goes to Sweet potato station.

Station 1- Cabbage worms (10 mins):

  • Group Up. Ask group:

    • look closely at our plants. What do you notice about them?

    • Show cabbage worm in jar- this is the guy who’s eating all our plants!

  • Show students how to look for cabbage worms on the plants. Ask- are plants living things? How do we treat living things in the garden?

    • Show example of plant without any leaves. Do you think it’ll survive? Why or why not?

  • Look for cabbage worms!

  • If group gets restless- have them help water the high tunnel


Station 2- Sweet potatoes (10 mins):

  • Group up. Ask group:

    • Are these plants living or non-living?

  • Digging Up Sweet Potatoes

    • Show an example of how to harvest 1 sweet potato- emphasize how to be gentle!

    • everyone only harvests one and puts gently in harvest bucket

  • Once a student harvests a sweet potato and puts it in the bucket, they can look at different between soil in the sweet potatoes and soil in the aisle where we walk

    • how are the soils different? Why do we think the soils are different? (answer: we walk between the rows, which compacts it, and the sweet potatoes grow in the soil, which loosens it.)

  • Wash hands —> Get sweet potato snack in ramekin at Grape Arbor

Transition: Everyone go to Grape Arbor for wrap up

Wrap up:

  • Ask group:

    • What did we notice about the plants the cabbage worms had eaten?

    • What did we notice about the soil where the sweet potatoes were? What about the soil where we walked?

  • Show example of whiteboard (Write in both English & Spanish):

    • Draw a picture or write a sentence about how cabbage worms changed the kale plants

    • Draw a picture or write a sentence about how Sweet Potatoes change the soil

  • Each student gets expo marker & dry erase whiteboard & answers prompts

Classroom Extensions:

Before: Read “The Gigantic Sweet Potato” by Dianne De La Casas (available at Columbus Metro Library)

After: Follow up this lesson with a section from this Sweet Potato Activity Book downloadable PDF. It has a bunch of resources for different levels, including a crossword, a spelling sheet, a follow-along story, a worksheet to label the parts of a sweet potato, and more!