I (Juli) had 12 raised beds gardens built last year in conjunction with a lesson that I taught that went horribly wrong (there is a great story to that which will have to come at a later time) and an Eagle Scout who was a student of my husband's who desperately needed a project to complete. The gardens were built for the entire school and haven't seen much use until this year. The more I thought about it, I decided that not only were we going to relate arrays to gardening, but we were going to have all of our kids out there in the gardens planting seeds in rectangular arrays!
I checked to see what, if any, seeds needed to be planted this week and discovered that we needed to plant both melons and watermelons.
We pulled butcher paper roughly the size of the raised beds. We divided our classes into 4 total groups. As a group, they had to determine what array would work best on the paper and in the garden. Team A was planting watermelon seeds and needed 10 inches of space between the seeds. Team B was planting melons and needed 12 inches of space between the seeds. (2.MD.1)
They used their rulers and began marking their big butcher paper into a huge 2x7 array. Then we had them figure out their repeated addition sentences that went along with their arrays.
Next, we all headed out into the gardens to begin planting. We placed the butcher paper into the gardens and pushed Popsicle sticks through the holes.
When we moved the paper from the beds, we had an array of popsicle sticks that let us know exactly where to plant the seeds in the bed.
Here is Heather with her kids, planting the seeds in the beds.
The kids put the seeds in the beds and hopefully in 85-90 days we will have lots of watermelons and melons! The funny thing was that after we got the seeds planted and we were back inside, we pulled up the calendar and together figured out when it would be time for our melons to be harvested. After looking at the calendar, both classes were SO bummed when they realized that we wouldn't be in school when they're ready. Hopefully, we can arrange for the kids to come and see them when they get picked!
It was a great day overall and we 're thrilled how we integrated so many math and science skills all while making arrays real to our kids!