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EDUCATION: K - 12

The UC Botanical Garden offers support to teachers and educators with several
forms of outreach. Programs are available for K - 12 students and teachers,
UC Berkeley instructors, non-UC Berkeley students and instructors, and adults.
These programs and services span from the award winning Botany on Your Plate
to the Annual School Garden Conference. In addition to providing these educational
services, the Education department at the UC Botanical Garden also offers workshops
and programs that are available to the public at large. To learn more about Education
and the Garden, please click on the tab below that you wish to obtain more information.


CURRICULA

SUMMER CAMP


PUBLIC PROGRAMS

The Garden has a year-round array of fascinating and educational program offerings available to the general public. Program formats include interpretative walks, hands-on workshops, lectures and presentations. A broad diversity of classes is designed for the entire spectrum of garden enthusiasts, from experienced horticulturalists to beginners, and special programs for children. We also offer various themes beyond plants themselves such as birding, art and music. To see what is coming up next on the Garden Calendar, click here.


GARDEN TOURS

Group tours are available and are led by the Docents of the UC Botanical Garden.  A collection of both adult and student tour topics have been designed as a gateway to learning about the collection and the natural systems they come from.  Customized tours may also be arranged.

The Garden provides an unmatched sensory experience to learn new concepts about nature or reinforce classroom studies.  Our experienced docents will modify the tour presentations to be age-appropriate and specific to your group of students.  The Tour Scheduler can also help you make a selection based upon your interests and seasonal highlights at the Garden. Docent–led tours are available year round, with indoor glasshouse tours available on heavy rain days. Teacher materials are available with some tours and will be included with your tour confirmation letter. Ask how your tour matches to the California State Education Standards. For a list of Garden Tours, click here.


In-School Docent Program: Grocery Store Botany

Docents visit your classroom with real produce props for a lively presentation that emphasizes the important role of plants in our lives.  Through observing and discussing the foods we eat, students learn the six basic parts of a plant: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds.  This classroom tour of edible plants offers teachers a great opportunity to link life science with nutrition education.  Availability limited, reserve early!


UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE CLASSES

For UC Berkeley classes:
Admission to the Garden is free to UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students with ID.  UC Classes are always welcome to use the Garden for educational purposes, but advanced scheduling is required to ensure availability and avoid conflicts. To request a visit to the Garden for a UC class, please e-mail the Garden’s Tour Scheduler with Date/time, Number of Students, and Course Name.

For non-UCB classes:
If you wish to use the Garden as part of your class, please complete this form (Word document) to request gratis admission and fax (510-642-5045) or e-mail. Advanced notice is required. You will be contacted only if there is a conflict with your request.
If you have questions about how the Garden can support your instruction, at Berkeley or another schools' degree program, please contact our Tour Scheduler at 510-643-7265 for assistance.

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PRE - K12 EDUCATOR TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Growing Learning Communities Program
The UC Botanical Garden Education Program, in collaboration with staff from the Lawrence Hall of Science, has developed Growing Learning Communities (GLC), a project to strengthen the knowledge, teaching skills and leadership capabilities of local elementary school teachers and out-of-classroom educators through professional development linked to school gardens as outdoor science and mathematics labs. With the support of project staff, these teacher-partners become leaders and mentors at their school sites, creating positive change in their school’s culture, practices, environment and community.

1Launched in 2003, the GLC project has reached over 50 local elementary schools in 8 East Bay school districts. The majority are low-income, underserved schools with large populations of English language learners. Teacher teams from partner schools participate in after school and weekend workshops designed to foster mentorship among teachers, develop leadership skills, build content knowledge, and strengthen skills to develop and use school gardens as outdoor classrooms.

The garden provides an exceptional environment for teaching and learning, a place that engages and motivates, and bolsters curricula linked to real world experiences. Through the school garden, the larger school community is becoming part of a growing learning community.  To find out how you can join the GLC community, contact the Education Program Coordinator by clicking here.

School Site Specific Trainings
Our Education staff offer unique tools and support for diverse school communities to transform gardens into enriched educational resources. Teachers, parents, garden educators and community members can all be a part of the process in accomplishing learning goals for children through garden-based education.  Our fee-based workshops can be customized to meet your needs.  Past topics include:

  • Botany on Your Plate curriculum
  • Math in the Garden curriculum
  • Using the Garden Environment for Afterschool Programs
  • School Garden Planning and How-To’s
  • Integrating Academics into the Garden
  • Nutrition from Fruits and Vegetables
  • Linking Garden Activities to State Standards

For more information, contact the Education Program Coordinator by clicking here.

Annual School Garden Conferences
Held on a Saturday in March, this event features a roundtable of workshops to experience top curricula and learn horticultural and management techniques to take full advantage of one of the most engaging places of learning – the school garden.  Also included are group collaborations and take home resources.  The conference welcomes teaching professionals, parents, youth educators, volunteers - anyone interested in the value of school gardens. Click here to apply.

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CURRICULA

4Math in The Garden
The University of California Botanical Garden, in collaboration with the Lawrence Hall of Science, has developed Math in the Garden, a guide to engaging math activities that anyone can do. No mathematics expertise is needed to lead the activities, only a desire to discover the out of doors with children.

Math in the Garden uses a mathematical lens to explore the magical arena of gardens. The beautifully watercolor illustrated, easy-to-follow activities cover a wider range of topics, from discovering patterns and symmetry to measuring planting beds and harvests.  Building on children’s natural curiosity and sense of fun, these creative activities promote inquiry, language, nutrition, and teamwork.

The project was funded by the National Science Foundation in 1999, and supported in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. After-school youth leaders and educators from botanical gardens, garden clubs, 4-H programs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, home-schooling groups, and classroom teachers have taught the investigations and contributed their insights.

The activities are grouped by the predominant mathematics strands and support the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principals and Standards of School Mathematics and the National Academy of Sciences National Standards for Science Education. Each investigation has an simple step-by-step format and can be completed within an hour. The inexpensive equipment and materials 3necessary for the activities can be found in most homes and garden programs. See how easy it is to excite your kids about Math (and encourage good nutrition) using Math in the Garden at your home or school. Click here to view sample pages and activities from the book.

The Math in the Garden book is available for purchase at our Garden Shop ($29.95), which is the best way to support the Garden's educational and horticultural efforts. If you like, you can order a copy online at the National Gardening Association's Gardening with Kids store here.

We hope you enjoy your adventures using Math in the Garden.

Botany on Your Plate
Botany on Your Plate is an investigative life science unit for grades K-4 that inspires children to explore the fascinating realm of plants we eat. Every lesson begins with plant snacks that spark curiosity, interesting questions, and social dialogue to fuel the learning process. This inquiry approach engages children as botanists observing and collecting data, discussing findings, and reflecting on what they learned.

Students observe, draw, predict, dissect, describe, compare, journal and diagram their discoveries as they study edible roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Exploring and tasting fresh produce is a central theme of Botany on Your Plate. Children learn about the nutrient values of these edible plant parts while savoring the taste, texture, and aromas of foods from the gardens of the world.  Through their own hands-on investigations, children’s interest in edible plants (fruits and vegetables) is heightened.

This unit was developed with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and provides strong support to major learning goals outlined in the National Science Education Standards. The sessions interweave life science with environmental science and connect strongly to the "science and inquiry" Standard. The California schools testing the curriculum were required to meet performance goals focused on literacy and mathematics. To overcome the rigorous time constraints for science, Botany on Your Plate was designed to support key mathematics, language arts, and social studies Standards, as well as health Standards related to nutrition.  The curriculum has already been adopted by several school districts and is used in classrooms across the country (and even abroad!).

Botany on Your Plate was a collaborative effort with input from teachers, parents, and nutrition educators. The curriculum has been used in diverse settings, including English Language Learners classes where moms, dads, and grandparents attending have taken activities home to involve their youngsters in cooking and gardening. Teachers who are part of the national school garden movement have used this unit to link planting and harvesting activities to the classroom. Food service personnel at partner schools have played an important role in supporting classroom investigations with lunchroom salad bars and fresh fruit and vegetable choices. We encourage you to build a community of collaborators to broaden and deepen the impact of this growing love of edible plants!

Click here to view sample pages and activities from the book.

The Botany on Your Plate book is available for purchase at our Garden Shop ($21.95), which is the best way to support the Garden's educational and horticultural efforts. If you like, you can order a copy online at the National Gardening Association's Gardening with Kids store here.

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SUMMER CAMP

Every year from mid-June to mid-August the Garden's Education Program offers Green Stuff, a fun hands-on science day camp for children ages 5 to 10.  Examples of activities campers might do include:2

  • 1Go on a five senses tour of the Garden
  • Learn about amazing plant adaptations and habitat diversity
  • Taste foods growing in our Crops of the World garden
  • Become a young botanist and see plant parts up close under microscopes
  • Experiment with growing your own seedlings
  • Hunt for garden animals including birds, newts, lizards and compost critters
  • Discover how Native Americans of California used plants
  • Make crafts from plant material to take home
  • Investigate in a different part of the Garden everyday!

Click here to register for Summer 2013.