Students Show Off Their Green Thumbs

ELIZABETH—They were all thumbs – green thumbs that is at Elizabeth Public Schools’ Ronald Reagan Academy School No. 30. On Earth Day, Luann Breese’s fourth and fifth grade classes headed to the school garden to plant peas, broccoli, marigolds and so much more.

“The children love science because we do so many hands-on activities,” said Breese, a teacher at the school.  “Sometimes the best way to engage children’s minds is to engage their hands.”


The Earth Day Gardening expedition began in early March.  The students charted the plants’ growth each day, keeping track of factors like the water and the sun.  They counted how many days for the plants to germinate from seed to sprout.  With Earth Day as their goal they watched and waited until they could transplant their plants to the school grounds.

“It’s wonderful to see the children involved in a long-term project such as this, “says Arlene Campbell, the school’s principal.  “By getting students actively involved in their learning, the lessons of the day are truly understood.”

Ronald Reagan Academy No. 30 offers science instruction to all of their students including those with special needs.  The school gets support in developing such lesson plans from the Merck Institute for Science Education. Founded in 1993, the (MISE) offers professional development courses – giving k-12 teachers, principals and administrators the tools they need to cultivate student scientists.

“We hope that by encouraging science in all children that they will grow up seeing science as relevant, accessible and even exciting,” says Stacey Gruber, Manager Elementary Education Programs at Merck Institute for Science Education.

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