The Bug Mansion at Burnley-Moran

Posted by on May 4, 2015 | Comments Off on The Bug Mansion at Burnley-Moran

The Bug Mansion at Burnley-Moran

Last year the City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran expanded by one amazing component called the Monarch Garden. This year this expansion is taking yet another step in creating a more complete schoolyard habitat. Mr. Lorigan’s second grade class is creating a bug mansion in May that will be made up of several layers of pallets. Those pallets will then be filled with materials to create habitable spaces for all sorts of bugs.

The students have been involved in this lesson since the end of spring break. It started with searching out a project that they all wanted to do. From there Mr. Lorigan established research times with Ms. Richards in the library. The students have been researching bugs and their needs for a few weeks now. They have read books and articles about the very specific and important roles that bugs play in our garden and ecosystem. They have discovered amazing facts like that some birds put ants in their feathers to stay healthy, and that one out of every 4 known animals in the world is a beetle. They have learned even more than these individual pockets of knowledge. They have learned that bugs play a critical role in the plant life cycle. One group of bugs, pollinators, assist plants in increasing their genetic diversity and indeed make regeneration possible. Another group, necrophagous bugs, consume and break down dead plants and animals to make them available for new plant growth. The students have learned that having bugs around is not simply a nice thing to do, but a critical component to growing things, including our food.

This project, like the rest of our garden based curriculum, uses the garden to tie together all of these complex and interconnected components. It is not simply putting a carrot seed in the ground and walking away only to come back later and eat a carrot (although there is nothing wrong with that). It is learning that the carrot seed is linked to the beetle, which is linked to the ant, which is linked to the compost pile, which is linked to the rain cistern, which is part of the water cycle, which is linked to bees, which is linked to carrots. Having a garden in which to study these cycles (and the math, science, and language that measure and describe them) allows students to make these connections in dynamic and real ways rather than learning each one in isolation and possibly never making the connection. Be sure to stop by and see Burnley-Moran’s new bug mansion, and make some of these connections for yourself.

– Blog written by Matt Darring, Garden Coordinator at Burnley-Moran Elementary