PBL: Sensory Garden

Hi Friends, When the year ends, it is so nice to reflect on what went well and what needs to be worked on.  There are a few things that still need to be worked on (of course) BUT this post is about what went sooo well I want to tell you about it and hopefully encourage you to try! 
This was our  PBL (project based learning) we worked on this year! The big components of a true PBL project are quality content, 21st century skills, inquiry, a solid driving question, need to knows, voice and choice, revision and reflection, and a public audience.This is such a wonderful way to engage your students in learning across the curriculum and becoming 21st century learners! Our project actually started out last year when we
created a beautiful Butterfly Garden which you can read about here. This year our students decided we needed to continue this project and add a Sensory Garden  to enjoy and learn from! 
This was a huge undertaking and consisted of many months of planning, ordering, putting together and finally trying out!

We started out a little different from last years PBL with a field trip. Our Science and Social/Emotional curriculum include a unit on The 5 Senses so we started there but wanted to add to their background knowledge. Because it was January when we started planning we decided on an in-school field trip from the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview, Illinois. 

They created workstations for our students to rotate through to think about how they use their senses to learn. The students loved it! (You can see more on this through our Sensory garden google site )
What did we need to include in our garden that would help children learn through their senses? We went about planning our extension along with our Butterfly Garden to include our 5 Senses Garden in this tiny little space. But...It will soon become an outdoor classroom! Soooo... we brainstormed what we wanted this to look like...it went through a few revisions due to money constraints and priorities.(Grant money was used to purchase most of the items that were needed...but a Donors Choose or donations can also be considered )
This is what we started with and these were our plans....

 The kindergartners researched their 5 Senses on this great website. It is free for a short amount of time. The site is called PebbleGo.

It was excellent! Kindergartners always amaze me (at first I was thinking maybe their 4th grade buddies should help them - they were a little bit busy test taking at the time so we decided to take the leap and tell the kindergartners to research using this site and write down facts they learned)!!! What? Kindergartners! Yes! They did it!!! After the field trip, listening to stories, discussing their senses and researching through the pebblego site...kindergartners wrote about what they learned. Then they proceeded to talk about all they learned to everyone! That part was easy!

 We had a celebration at the end of the year -students gave tours and took their buddies and their parents through our fabulous Sensory Garden! You can learn more about our PBL here!

And here is the finished project...
Planting to make it beautiful

xylophone in the works

Butterfly garden

Musical fence

Painting area

Reading shed

We had all 5 senses covered except for taste....but there is always next year. Any ideas for us?

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