While we are engaged in distance learning this Fall, a small group of volunteers and a maintenance company will maintain Wonderland, Sonoran Sky Elementary School's unique outdoor classroom and "living laboratory", and keep it in tip-top shape for our students.
When in-person classes resume, Wonderland's amphitheater, pond area and tables will offer the opportunity for socially-distanced outdoor learning spaces for classroom teachers to utilize in addition to continuing to provide a unique opportunity to explore the natural world.
When in-person learning restarts, students will once again have the opportunity to explore science in our hands on garden classroom through a variety of grade-appropriate, hands-on lessons ranging from plant life cycles, weather/environment, life sciences, and STEM.
While we are not positive at this point, what we will be able to offer students this unique and special year, example curricula from past years include:
- Parts of a plant and plant life cycles: Seed germination, growth, death
- Soils: Color, size, shape, texture, clay, sand, loam
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Upcycle!
- Entomology: Arthropods, insects, arachnids, adaptation, camouflage
- Complete vs Incomplete Metamorphosis
- Water Cycle: Evaporation, condensation, precipitation
- Responsible Water-Wise issues and Choices
- Functions of a Plant: Roots absorb, Stems support, Leaves synthesize food, Flowers attract pollinators
- In-depth Plant Life Cycles: Growth, death, decay
- Compost Bin Studies:, Nitrogen and carbon sources and balance
- In-depth Water Cycle Issues: Drought, chemical runoff, how changing weather affects environment, farming, food supply
- Diversity and Adaptation: Sonoran Desert Environment; xeriscape; plant, animal, and insect adaptation; camouflage vs. mimicry
- Scientific Method in plant-based STEM experiments
- Classification: Insects and Plants
- Integrated Pest Management: IPM pests vs. beneficial insects’ impact in the garden
- Chemistry: H2O, CO2, NPK fertilizers, Growing natural pH indicators (red cabbage) in STEM plant-based experiments
- Environment: Drought and flooding changing weather, tropical deforestation vs. sustainable forestry, chemicals-GMOs, runoff effects on water, land, and food supply
- Sustainability: Human impact on desert environment, oceans, planet; greenhouse effect on biomes; carbon footprint; bio-fuels; tropical deforestation vs sustainable farming and forestry; chemical fertilizers and GMOs; runoff effects on water, land, and food supply.
- Green School Certification through World Wildlife Fund, evaluate school impact
- Physics STEM projects: Rainwater harvesting, design and build recycled hanging garden system, design and build seed bomb launcher
All this happens simultaneously while:
- Learning to observe, appreciate, and document nature in Wonderland’s Pollinator Garden
- Creating art inspired by the garden;
- Growing food organically and understanding why;
- Cooking, learning about nutrition and healthy food choices;
- Learning where our food comes from and how it grows;
- Learning how weather, pests, and environmental issues affect our food supply and garden and how to react to it; and
- Learning how choices we make affect the environment and how each person can make a difference!