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First graders are learning that the best way to learn science is to dig right in! Earlier this fall, they planted field mustard, or brassica rapa, whose seeds germinate within a few days and whose plants will actually re-seed at about 40 days. Students have been keeping their plants under artificial lights and are checking their progress daily. They stop by, observe, discuss, and document the changes that are occurring.

While students waited for their field mustard plants to grow, they took their file journals to Red Butte Garden, where they observed plant habitats and adaptations, and enjoyed hands-on activities to enrich their understanding of the natural world. The botanical garden is one of the largest in the Intermountain West, and is the state arboretum of Utah.

The plants are now starting to produce fruit, which look like long, thin pods. Soon, the pods will mature, and once that happens, students will stop watering the plants so that the seeds can dry. Our first grade gardeners will then harvest those seeds and store them, so that next year’s first graders can start the growing cycle all over again.