SLUG Activities

Below is an assortment of suggested garden activities targeted towards elementary school students. They are organized into different curriculum categories that correspond with the different SLUG components. For more information about gardening skills, check out the gardening tips section. If you can't find what you're looking for here, check out the bottom of this page for more websites with School Gardening Curriculum.


Outdoor Gardening

Introduction to Gardening


Indoor Gardening

Seed Germination



Outdoor Composting


Carrot Comparison - Measure the length and width of harvested carrots.
Garden Collage - Art project with leftover garden scraps.
Garden Diorama - Create a map of the garden.
Great Seed Rescue - To demonstrate the process of reproducing several different types of plants.
Radish Stamps - Make art out of plants that kids won't eat.
Turnip Parachutes - Teach kids about gravity, resistance and force.

Introduction to Gardening
Constructing Schoolyard Ecosystems and Food Webs- Students explore the schoolyard ecosystem and construct a food web.
Garden Puzzle - Students make a poster about the resources flowing into and out of the garden.
Garden Tag - A game of tag that demonstrates students' knowledge of the stages of plant growth.
Ecosystem Game Rules - A game of tag that involves predators and prey.
Journal Prompts - Ideas for journal entries for all stages of the garden
Insects - Pollinator, Predator, Pest, and Parasite- Students learn about the biology of insects, and their role in the plant life cycle.
Making Cactus Flowers - Students learn how to identify plant parts and learn about pollination. Be sure to use the flower pattern!
Plant Competition for Limited Resources- Students learn about what happens when soil, space, water is limited.
Plant Freeze Dance - Students dance around the room and freeze in plant poses when the music stops.
Plant Predators - Students learn about the types of animals that eat plants.
Plant Protection - Students learn about protection strategy categories like texture, smell, taste and strength.
What's a Garden - Students Draw and write about what is important in a garden.
What Do Plants Need? - Information and activity sheet on plant needs.
What Do Roots and Stems Do? - Information and activities on plant structure.
Flowers - Students learn about flower parts, and the importance of flowers to humans. Use the Worksheet!

Indoor Gardening Under Lights
Enough is Enough - Students examine how excessive amounts of necessary resources affect plant growth.
Growing Plants with Compost - An experiment to observe how plants germinate and grow with varying amounts of compost.
Indoor Seed Germination in Soil - Students compare seeds started in soil to seeds started in plastic bag greenhouse.
Mid-cycle Prediction - Students use their imaginations to anticipate the changes plants go through.
Nutrient Variable - Students use the scientific method to study the effects of fertilizer on plant growth
Plant Cycles - Students compare plant and human life cycles, and observe the life cycles of their plants.
Plant Markers - Students create plant markers to label planted seeds.
Plant Maze - Students practice observation skills, analytical thinking and art sketching skills.
Pollination - Students learn about plant reproductive parts and what pollinators are attracted to different flowers.
Ready for Spring (Older) - Students make a plastic bag greenhouse
Ready For Spring (Younger) - For younger kids interested in making a greenhouse
Variables for Plant Needs - Students observe three plants under different growing conditions.

Blind taste test - Children are blindfolded and have to guess what fruits and vegetables they are eating.
Dirt for Lunch - Students track the food in their lunches back to the earth.
Eating Contest - A variety of fruits and vegetables are presented, and students are encouraged to try as many as they can.
Food Geography - Students learn about where in the world fruit comes from.
Fruit Science and Cooking Experiments - Students learn about how energy is important to both plants and animals.
Grocery Trajectory - Map out where food comes from as a class.
Home grown challenge - A demonstration that what is grown in the garden can also be found in stores.
Just Chew It - A Vegetable nutrition poster advertising campaign.
Team Nutrition Lessons - A variety of nutrition curriculum from the USDA.

Outdoor Composting
Composting Critter Page - students find bugs in the compost bin and draw them.
I Can Compost... - Students call out something they can compost before the person in the middle tags them.

Outdoor Gardening
From Shell to Plow - Students brainstorm tools made of natural materials they can use to prepare garden beds.
Garden Metrics - Reinforces the concepts of centimeter and meter by measuring objects in the school garden
Garden Progress - Students track the rates of growth in the garden and use their math skills.
Garden Weather Station - Students create weather instruments and monitor weather conditions.
Living and non-living Things - Students spend time in the garden looking for living and non-living things
Making Weather Tracking Tools - Instructions on how to make weather tracking tools.
Seed Review and Fall Outdoor Fun - Students play a game called "squirrels and Jays" where the squirrels try to plant acorns.
Seed Dispersal Strategies - Students learn about how and why seeds disperse themselves.
Using Senses in the Garden - Students explore the garden exercising all their senses.
Water in the Garden - Information and activity page about water.

Compost Critters - A diagram of all the different microorganisms that live in the soil.
Dirt Discovery - A science project that teaches kids about soil composition.
Soil - Students learn about the organic and inorganic material that makes up Soil.
Soil Particles and Drainage - Measure drainage through different types of soil.
Shake Rattle and Roll - Activity to teach students about soil composition.

Seed Germination
Garden Mapping - Draw a map with students that illustrates where each seed should be planted.
Gardening in a Glove - Students can study seed germination through clear plastic gloves
Making Dibbles - To understand shorter depths and distances, and to improve student's estimation abilities.
Seed Sponges - Students determine plant needs for germination
Squirrels and Jays - To learn about the dispersal strategy of many nuts and seeds.
Yo Seeds Wake Up - Students predict what factors affect seeds' sprouting.
Upside Down Seed - Students test predictions on what direction a seed will grow.

Vermiculture Activities - a large handbook of many worm-related activities. Some activities are linked individually below.
Decomposer Tag - Tag where "death" tries to freeze nutrients in plants and animals. Decomposers unfreeze the nutrients.
Decomposition and Decomposers - Students learn about decomposition and the roll of decomposers
Lab Activities - Students conduct experiments with worms
Red Worm Observation - Students draw a picture of a worm and label its parts
Skin Deep - Students bury fruit and record decomposition rates.
Warming Up to Worms - Students write down observations about worms.
What Does Your Worm Prefer? - Students answer a few questions about worms based on their observations.
Worm Population Count - Students monitor the number of worms in the bin.
Worms and Worm Bins - A guide from Earthworks on how to start and maintain a worm bin.

Garden-Themed Songs
A variety of songs related to gardening and decomposition. Songs include Compost Cake, Gusano, Decomposition, Dirt Made My Lunch, The FBI, Food Chain, Photosynthesis, Roots Stems Leaves, and Water Cycle Boogie. Download the entire packet here or click the link above.
Listen to Decomposition! Thanks to the Banana Slug String Band! Check out their website for more great science and conservation themed tunes.

More Resources
Agriulture in the Classroom Features a searchable educational resource directory for teachers
The Edible Schoolyard information on the Edible Schoolyard project in Berkeley, CA, and lessons for the garden and classroom.
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom Lesson Plans Organized by grade level
Discovering the Food System A guided discovery of the food system for 12-18 year olds published by Cornell University.
Earthworks Boston Lessons about urban orchards.
Junior Master Gardener A variety of curriculum for sale and free online tutorials.
Kids Gardening A great site for lesson plans. Also has a resource directory and a monthly newsletter.
Garden Mosaics A program of Cornell University full of garden-based science curriculum organized into 10 topic areas.
Green Teacher A quarterly magazine full of ideas and activities. One free issue available online.
The Green TeamAn educational program about waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting
Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection Bureau of Waste Prevention School composting resource package
School Garden Wizard Contains many activity ideas and ways to work plants into the classroom.
Rodale Institute Lesson plans related to gardening, science and food.
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Teachers resource guide and lesson plans
Nourish: Food + Community A new series from PBS linking food systems, personal, community and environmental health. The series will be accompanied by a standards-based middle and high school curriculum.