Virtual Visit to a School Garden

An Earth Day Webcast
By students, for students
April 22, 2009

Want to make your own "video field trip"? Read complete how-to information from TeachersFirst.

Field trips may have disappeared into the cloud of economic distress, but TeachersFirst cooperated with Meriwether Lewis Elementary in Portland, Oregon to invite your class on a virtual visit to their school garden on Earth Day, 2009. This video visit will remain online for you to view in archived format if you did not attend in "real time" or wish to repeat the experience to recap concepts. Technology to assist with this live webcast has been provided by Clear, available now in Portland.

You and your students can “be there” via this archived video webcast and watch and listen to a team of 3rd- 5th grade scientists explain their hands-on garden projects. Some classes who attended live submitted questions via "chat." This virtual visit took place on April 22, 2009. You can see the "archived" video clips, including some terrific question and answers by the kids here. Be sure to check out ALL the clips!

The Meriwether Lewis students discussed:

  • organic vegetable gardening
  • natural building with cob
  • composting
  • rainwater collection
  • planting their new bioswale
  • Pacific Northwest native plants

TeachersFirst also has complete information for creating your own student-made live (and archived) "video field trip" using very low-cost equipment. Try it!

Here are suggestions to use this archived webcast in your classroom:

  • Arrange to have a projector or interactive whiteboard in your classroom to share the webcast with your class.
  • Invite parents, absentees, or other classes to join the visit the archived video, as well. Spread the word by emailing them this page using the link at the top of the page. Maybe you can share the ideas with other schools in your area or classes in your building.
  • Prepare your students for the webcast by looking up the location of Merriwether Lewis Elementary on a map (Google Maps shows it here).
  • Before the webcast, connect the concepts to be discussed in the garden webcast with your current areas of study and/or your local Earth Day projects. Click here for more ideas. Have your students write some questions they wish they could ask the "garden experts." Try to go beyond, "Is it fun?" to questions related to the garden itself, environmental issues, or the challenges of gardening and science. Then watch for answers to these questions in the video clips!
  • Click this link to watch the recorded video clips of the webcast. Note the "Chat" space to the right of the video window! Click here for more ideas for what to do during the webcast.
  • Extend and connect the webcast by helping students connect it back to the science curriculum and/or involving students in local projects at school or at home. Click here for more ideas.
  • Find other Earth Day resources on TeachersFirst to reinforce what you will see/have seen in the webcast. Start from our Editor's Choice Earth Day sites or use our keyword search in the left column of this page.