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This project will have students research and design at least five different shaped raised beds for the Grice Middle School Vegetable Garden as the application phase of their geometry studies in enriched mathematics class. In addition they will determine the use of an additional adjacent area of the garden. They might consider some type of wildlife habitat ( birds, butterflies, etc.).

Grade Level:

The enriched mathematics 7th grade class will be engaged in this activity in conjunction with the Grice Garden Club. The mathematics class will do the research and design elements while the Garden Club will do the actual construction phase from the designs submitted by the class.


The students will form themselves into "company teams" to research and design raised beds for the Grice Middle School Vegetable Garden area. Students will select their own teammates giving consideration to the fact that each team should have some members who have Internet access and printer capability at home as the school facilities are limited. Each team will research "raised bed" gardening on the Internet locating general topical information, sources of commercial materials, and existing application sites. The team members will divide the labor of measuring and creating an accurate cost analysis for construction and actual design of both the overall garden plan and individual raised bed designs within the given existing area of the current garden. The team or a segment of it will discuss the use to which the adjacent garden area with be put. They will research and determine to what use they wish it to be put. A design for this additional habitat area will be submitted to the student council for funding. Ideas might come from discussions with other schools that already have garden areas in place.

Learner Description/Environment:

These 25 seventh grade students are specifically selected for this enriched mathematics class based on numerous criteria. They are among the top 10% of their class with approximately equal male/female representation (12 male/13 female). The school is in a suburb of Trenton, N.J., and has a wide range of socio-economic groups from upper middle class to lower income families.

Time Frame:

The students will spend 20 minutes per day, five days a week working on this project over a period of eight weeks. Students will have a variety of essential mini geometry lessons during this time span in addition to both small and large group interaction experiences. The remainder of the time will be spent on creation of their final presentation product.


This project will simulate the real life experience of being a member of an architectural landscape firm. It will demonstrate the actual application of such geometric concepts as perimeter, area, and volume in addition to pointing out the necessity of maintaining accurate cost analysis statistics. The decision regarding the use of the adjacent area of the garden will necessitate open discourse among team members and an agreed upon method of coming to consensus among team members. It integrates use of Internet technology as a source of current research, cost analysis information, and discourse with experts in the field. The mixed gender teams will experience the necessity of team cooperation to create a finished product with division of labor an absolutely essential factor.

Learner Outcomes:

Students will:

Alignment with Standards:

Structure of the Learning:


The district geometry and measurement curriculum content is framed within a real life application problem for which students will submit solutions for consideration by a peer and funding source review panel. Either one team's design or a combination of unique concepts will be selected by the panel and peer evaluations for actual construction. During the students' investigations, they will utilize Internet and e-mail technologies for research and discussions with experts such as our Master Gardener. They will work collaboratively to complete the multi-task presentation.


Students will form five person "company teams"selecting their own teammates having given consideration to the fact that each team should have some members who have Internet access and printer capability at home. Following a general introduction to the type of final product needed, students will discuss the necessity of a diverse set of talents and capabilities that would support each team's work. They will, early in the process, decide on a division of labor among the five company team members. One choice might be: two members for the research and design elements, two members for the measurement and statistical analysis component, and one member to coordinate efforts and structure the final presentation. Groups within the company design teams will meet to share information daily and in large group discussions twice weekly. Students will endeavor to communicate with other schools who already have raised bed garden sites, as well as with experts via e-mail when necessary throughout the process. The teacher will present mini geometry lessons on angle measurement, perimeter, area, and volume to support the team development. She will also act as a facilitator as the project progresses. The teacher will review weekly the company team folders and disks to note continued progress of various members.


The students will be responsible for a 15 minute multi-sensory presentation during which they will "sell" their audience on the benefits of their company's design for the raised beds in Grice Vegetable Garden as well as their concept of development for the adjacent area of the garden. They will be encouraged to utilize a variety of technologies to prepare and present their company concepts. This will be presented to their peers and a review team of funding sponsors and gardening experts. The presentation must be accurate and factual as the construction of the beds will be accomplished by the Grice Garden Club the following spring. It must stay within the budgetary constraints noted at the outset. Following the design selection, it will be added to the Gice Middle School Internet Site in the Garden Club New area with a description of the project work.


With the initial division of labor and each team member's acceptance of his/her designation will also come his/her area of responsibility. On a weekly basis the company folder will be checked by the teacher and a notation of the progress within each team member's area of responsibility. This on-going performance-based assessment will continue throughout the eight week period. The final company team presentation will be assessed by both peers and a panel of funding sponsors and gardening experts. Accuracy of the cost analysis of materials and reality of the raised bed design applications will both be considered in rating the final product. Both the uniqueness and the practicality of the design for the use of the adjacent garden area will also be taken into consideration. The actual selection for construction may end up being the product of one company team or a composite of several team's ideas. This will be determined by post presentation discussions.

Project/Unit Evaluation:

The facilitator will need to determine the efficiency of time management of team members throughout the process to ensure a finished product worthy of the amount of time allocated to the project. It will be necessary to review the project in the light of its application without the actual on site construction in future years. One way to extend utilization of the project beyond the initial time frame will be to maintain on-line discussion with other schools who already use raised beds.

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Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.


Author(s): Karren Cherrington (karrenc@juno.com)
School: Grice Middle School, Hamilton, NJ
Created: November 3, 1998, - Updated:
URL: /ntep/f98/projects/pppl/karrenc/presentgricegarden.html