Digging for data

Clues for today's class project lay within Shannon Wolff's mystery morning message: "Good —- ! I — starting — plan — vegetable garden. Can —- help me?" John Muir's kindlers, first, and second graders quickly found a spot either on the bleachers or carpet. Thumbs popped up. In a soft, sweet voice Shannon called on the young language detectives who found words in the message that they could read, fascinating phonics like double oo, clapped syllables in the word vegetables or spelled out the missing words.

Knowing that spring break is coming up and many students will begin planting their gardens it is time to gather data from vegetable-loving youngsters. What better way to gather data then a simple survey?

Brainstorming begins. A long list of possible vegetables is created. Survey etiquette is practiced. Now it is time to begin. Students grab a clipboard, survey sheet and colored markers. At the top of their surveys they write their two favorite vegetables and off they go to survey their classmates.

Bianca Bracato's data shows: "No one likes bell peppers. Everyone likes cherry tomatoes better."

The young survey takers move from friend to friend collecting data. Then go in search of more data from older students in nearby classrooms.

"It is fun to go around and ask people questions so you can know what they like," said student Nico Moore.

I learned that Shannon's students love vegetables and can prove it.

Want a kid friendly garden? John Muir's K-2 survey results showed you can't go wrong planting: 1. sugar snap peas; 2. carrots; 3. cherry tomatoes; 4. bell peppers; 5. cucumbers.

Enrollment is open at John Muir School. Check their website for details at ashland.k12.or.us/sectionindex.asp?sectionid=64.

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