As school is starting, or almost starting, all around, I've been thinking of little ways to carry the pleasantness of summer into the school year. One very summery activity that is now getting attention from all over as a great and useful learning experience is gardening.
Although commiting to a garden may require a day or two of hard work, that might be just what's in order when the stress of test-preparation and tedium come to a boil. Other than stress relief, school gardening helps reach a ton of objectives in science, health, writing, and math. Kids can see all of those science-y cycles of water and carbon and plant life. They can write and draw about the changes they see; they can read and write recipes; they can calculate the necessary materials and space. And, gardening is a great way to squeeze nutrition-education into a sometimes crowded curriculum.
Your garden can be as simple as lima beans sprouting in plastic cups or much more amibitous. Lots of states and communities have developed programs to assist teachers in developing school gardens. The University of Florida hosts a school garden competition and has lots of tips and resources on their site. Texas A&M offers free resources to teachers along with lots of information on their site.