The last unit of 7th grade science focuses on soil ecosystems and how this translates into plant care and even growing their own food. This two-week long unit kicks off with a visit to Arlington Garden where English Teacher, Mr. John Cross, leads students in a poetry/observation activity. They go on to learn how soil is essential to food production, food security, and thus intrinsically connected to human well-being. This is led by Ms. Gigi Bizar and Ms. Carlotta Lukens, who use the Arlington Garden Labyrinth as a metaphor to talk about soil connections to gardens, concluding the field trip with the students collecting soil samples and setting up their own microorganisms experiments with Ms. Barbra Chabot.
On-campus lessons include exploring Food Deserts and Dirt Demystified, using the scientific information learned to analyze pieces of descriptive metaphorical writing (ie. Clyde’s Pickup, Saint Phocus). Students enjoy two more field trips to Crescent Farms at the LA County Arboretum and a metro ride to the Ron Finley Project. Crescent Farms highlights include a four-season California native flower meadow and a Mediterranean and subtropical fruit orchard where the girls learn how to build habitats for a vibrant array of birds, butterflies, insects and wildlife. At the Ron Finley Project, the founder talks about projects that promote a “healthy vision” for the community involving gardening and soil rejuvenation.
Towards the end of the unit, students revisit the specimens they grew from their samples at Arlington Garden, turning everything they’ve learned into digital magazines created on Microsoft Sway. The girls pair off into groups to work on their magazines with each one containing a cover story, a soil organism they name “Organism of the Year,” their poems, other articles, and Letters from the Editor reflecting on the Soil Unit.
Soil Unit Mite-y Interactive Magazine
Below are a few pages from the Mite-y Magazine Special Edition by Leily, Caledonia, and Claire. Click on any of the images below to view an expanded version of the page or view the full version of the magazine here.