Wonderland is Sonoran Sky Elementary School’s unique outdoor classroom and “living laboratory”.  Led by Master Gardener Karen Klein, students explore through a variety of grade-appropriate, hands-on lessons ranging from plant life cycles, weather/environment, life sciences, and STEM.  Example curricula from past years include:

Grade One

  • Parts of a plant and plant life cycles: Seed germination, growth, death
  • Soils: Color, size, shape, texture, clay, sand, loam
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Upcycle!

Grade Two

  • Entomology: Arthropods, insects, arachnids, adaptation, camouflage
  • Complete vs Incomplete Metamorphosis
  • Water Cycle: Evaporation, condensation, precipitation
  • Responsible Water-Wise issues and Choices

Grade Three

  • 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

Grade Four

  • 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

Grade Five

  • 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 will happen 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!