Preparing and Planting the Garden

3, 4, 5

This experiential lesson will allow the students to get the garden in the ground and see the results of their work.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTen Forty-Minute Class Periods, Depending on Garden Size

The learner will:

  • prepare the soil for planting.
  • plant the plants, bulbs and seeds.
  • mark out any paths that go in the garden.
  • position any benches and the bird feeder in the garden.
  • evaluate their philanthropic gift to the community.

Gardening supplies, as determined by the students' previous decisions

Home Connection 

None for this lesson.


Helpful titles include:

  • Lovejoy, Sharon. Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children. Workman Publishing Co., 1999. ISBN: 0761110569.
  • Rhoades, Diane. Garden Crafts for Kids: 50 Great Reasons to Get Your Hands Dirty. Sterling Publications, 1998. ISBN: 0806909994.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students how they feel now that they are actually ready to prepare their park. Now discuss with the students what they will need to do to plant the garden.


  2. Activity: After the soil has been turned (see the Notes for Teaching heading in Building a Mini-Park and Bird Sanctuary's Unit Overview), students can finally get their hands dirty, by going to the site and removing as many of the "weeds", roots, twigs, and small rocks that are left in the soil. These need to be removed or they will reemerge in the garden.

  3. Note: This will most likely take several days depending on the use this area has had in the past.

  4. Students are now ready to begin staking out the area, to determine the location for the various plants, benches, birdfeeders, trails, etc. Fertilizer can be spread on the areas plants will be placed and then worked into the soil (see the Notes for Teaching in Building a Mini-Park and Bird Sanctuary's Unit Overview for a caution.) This process will probably take several days.

  5. If you are outlining your garden with railroad ties, the students can begin digging a trench for the ties. One group of students can be working on the ties, while other students begin the planting. Groups should be rotated so that everyone gets a chance to do each task. Students can begin planting the various plants. They can work in small groups, starting in the center and radiating out. This will prevent destruction of the plants.

  6. Once the garden is in the ground, students can take turns working in groups of two or three to water daily. Other students can be put in charge of weed patrol.

  7. Once the garden is planted and the area finished, ask students to evaluate what they have done. Remind students why they started the project in the first place. Ask students to compare their experience with the stories that were read earlier in the unit.

    • Do they consider the finished area to be a real gift to the community?
    • Was what they accomplished an act of philanthropy?
    • What is the possibility that individual students will want to do another act of philanthropy sometime in their futures?
    • Will the possible act of philanthropy next time be an individual act?
    • Have students discuss the importance of philanthropy to a community and its citizens.

Students will write a paper about all the steps in building a Mini-Park. They will use their journal entries to write out the complete "story." The teacher may observe student participation in the project and the discussion afterward as a form of assessment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will do the work that they have planned over a long period of time. Once this is completed, they will have given a mini-park (and bird sanctuary) to the community.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.