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Tower Garden Explorations

School: Elm Street School

Grade(s): 4

Format(s): Visual & Narrative Arts

Subject(s): Health and Wellness, Science and Technology

Project Overview

Throughout a 16 week long Design Thinking Project, Grade 4 students at Elm Street School in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, focused on the driving question, “How might we as young entrepreneurs utilize our Tower Garden to benefit the nutrition and overall health of others in our community?”

Students grew tomatoes, basil and other herbs in a tower garden and green wall. Each group of two students researched what they could do with herbs. They then chose a product to make using the herbs and/or tomatoes from our garden. Students chose their target audience to observe nutritional choices and administered surveys that each group wrote specifically for their product. Students then analyzed the data to determine the most popular herbs, flavors, scents, shapes, sizes, packaging, etc. “Experts” were brought in to work with the class. Business students from a local college taught students how to create a simple business and marketing plan, and individual experts worked with each group to provide guidance and answer questions. The Critical Friends Protocol was used to provide and receive meaningful feedback that helped students make the necessary changes to produce quality products, and allowed students to reflect on each part of the process.

A Young Entrepreneurial Trade Show was held where students set up displays and sold their products. Students also researched and wrote informational sheets that were handed out with their products. At the end of the evening, loans were paid back, a portion was donated to a local children’s charity and the students kept what was left of their earnings. Throughout this Design Thinking project, students chose roles and responsibilities that engaged them in the process. Students learned to collaborate with each other, become engaged thinkers, promote an entrepreneurial spirit, become young entrepreneurs and practiced being ethical citizens.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A product/project that can be replicated in many communities
  • Exemplifies a product with a real purpose and an authentic audience
  • Shows young students that they can have a positive effect on the lives of others
  • Unique example of an interdisciplinary project that includes the development of entrepreneurial skills

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can follow precisely a multi-step scientific or technical procedure.
  • I can synthesize visual information with other information in a scientific or technical text.
  • I can compare and contrast the information gained from a variety of sources about the same scientific topic.
  • I can explain how data answers statistical questions.
  • I can communicate numerical data on a number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots).
  • I can analyze the relationship between measures of center and the data distribution.
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