We have definitely had a very full and fun summer at Harlem Grown! Camp is ending in a few days, so the last of our farming and experimenting is wrapping up and we have a busy week this week. The summer was filled with different aspects of knowledge gained by each of the groups. Over the past month, we have expanded a lot of our lessons into fun projects that the campers can take home and share with their parents.
Throughout the summer, we watched our plants from the very first week grow. The campers were very excited when they started sprouting and like to make sure they check on them whenever they return to the farm. They are able to identify the parts of the plant growing, and some of them plan to try growing plants at home after the summer is over.
The oldest group has been working throughout the summer on their multimedia projects that they will be presenting at the end of the summer. Each group was asked to think of a certain image of Harlem Grown that they wanted to present, whether it be a typical day, a day where we visited another farm in the New York area, farm tasks, or anything else like that. They’ve been working on turning their collection of videos and pictures into a project they can present on the last day.
For the farming curriculum one week, the campers were learning about biodiversity. Something that Xana and I tried to do throughout the summer was to tie the lessons we learned on the farm into the lessons we taught in STEM. That week, we did a lesson on biomes. We asked questions, explained the differences in each, and asked students to identify the relationship between climate (defined as the weather in an area due to the amount of rainfall and the temperature) and environment. They drew conclusions that more rainfall leads to a greener biome, but that there are a lot of different conditions in which plants and animals can live. We asked the students, after completing the worksheet on biomes, to draw their own. Our students really enjoyed being able to draw a colorful landscape and many asked questions to make their image more accurate, such as what types of additional plants or animals could be found there.
As a fun activity about the food systems, we had our campers make feeders for the chickens that Harlem Grown keeps at their 134th Street farming location. We asked students to identify the foods we were feeding chickens, (sunbutter, oats, pumpkin seeds, breadcrumbs) and to compare the foods that animals can eat compared to humans. We talked about how this can be related to other animals in different areas and discussed the food that the different types of animals (herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores) needed to survive.