Notre Dame Middle School Garden Club members are discovering what is involved in planning, designing and building a garden for pollinators, particularly monarchs…

NDMS Garden Club

Notre Dame Middle School Garden Club members are discovering what is involved in planning, designing and building a garden for pollinators, particularly monarchs.

Mrs. Schermer and Sr. Barbara Soplata attended the North American Monarch Institute in June that was sponsored by the Monarch Joint Venture, Geauga County Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Having completed the course, they are now able to apply for a grant to support the creation of a school garden site for pollinators. They felt it was an incredible learning opportunity to have interested middle school students involved in the garden design process.

For the past few months, the Garden Club members researched pollinator and nectar plants native to the area and conducted a soil test to be sure the selected plants will thrive. With the help of Mr. Aini and Mrs. Ball, the garden site was measured and staked. Members are now designing a scale model of the garden site. The goal is to plant the garden in the spring so that the students at the elementary school and middle school can use the garden to learn more about monarchs and ecological processes through direct observation.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

First- and second-grade students were given a big STEM challenge. They had to design a balloon and a device that would hold their balloon up in the air for people to see. Second-graders were given the challenge of working with partners to design a saint balloon based on a saint from the Shining Dolls website. First-graders were given a chance to design a balloon of their choice on their own.

At the introduction of the challenge, they read a book called “Balloons Over Broadway,” which gave a history as to how the Macy’s Day Parade came to be and how the balloons were created. They also watched some video clips and looked at pictures of balloons featured previously in the Macy’s Day Parade.

Students were then given time to brainstorm and think about what materials they might use to design their balloons and lifting devices. On the day of the parade, students were given one full hour to build. It was a very intense hour, but they rose to the challenge and paraded through the halls of the school. The challenge was not as easy as it might have seemed at first. The key with STEM is to remember students learn from the issues they face within the challenge, and they all learned a lot.