First Grade attended Discovery Theater's "Garbage to Gardens," a fantastic science field trip to the beautiful Enid A. Haupt gardens located behind the Smithsonian Castle. For this experience Discovery Theater partnered with several Smithsonian gardeners who nurture indoor and outdoor plants for all Smithsonian buildings on the mall.
We enjoyed three different stations for about 15 minutes each. At each station the gardeners taught us about one main concept: 1.) composting, 2.) planting seeds and growing plants and, 3.) the different ways trees help the environment.
Each station was filled with many interesting real life materials and examples to help us learn more about each concept. At the composting station we saw bags of different items which can be composted, two different kinds of composting bins, and a list of items that cannot be composted. The gardeners at this station talked with us about the "how" and "why" of composting, including the job of insects in the process.
At the second station two gardeners showed us different kinds of seeds and how to harvest and treat certain seeds (tomato and avocado) prior to planting them. They also demonstrated how food containers such as plastic boxes from take-out foods and egg cartons can be perfect for planting and germinating seeds. We also learned about the unique manner in which potatoes and pineapples are grown at this station.
At the third and final station, we met with one of Smithsonian's indoor gardeners and a Smithsonian entymologist. There we learned about the many ways in which trees benefit the earth including providing the oxygen we breathe and homes for animals. We also heard how insects help with decomposition of trees and leaves to help enrich the soil.
First graders' thoughts on the trip:
"We breathe in oxygen and carbon dioxide comes out. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen."
"I liked when we touched all the food at the seed station."
"We learned that scraps of paper, lint from the dryer filter, and animal fur can all be composted."
"Pinecones can be lots of different sizes. We saw a huge pinecone that was over a foot tall!"
"The Monkey Puzzle tree was so interesting!"
"We walked through cool marble sculptures."
"The fountain was beautiful. It was like a little waterfall."