The kindergarten class with their flower shop are, front: Radien Clutter, Bridgett Steinman, Quentin Degase, Cash Roberts, Sutton Stump, Aiden Parman; middle: Skylar Pearson, Megan Davison, Whytlee Ebrecht, Camden Butler, Paisley Kemp, Emmerson Drummond, Oakley Marriott; back: Lucas Gray, Gunner Stricker, Rollie Martin and Oliver Miller.

This spring, the North Nodaway kindergarten class undertook the task of constructing and planting a butterfly garden at the North Nodaway Elementary School in Pickering.

Kindergarten teacher Angie Davison used Project Based Learning to create the activity for her students and planted a butterfly garden.

“We had been studying the needs of animals and decided to use animal needs as the basis to start our unit on plants,” Davison said. “To get started we ordered some Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars. Students had to do some research as a class to find out what butterflies need to survive, thus leading into finding out types of plants and flowers butterflies like.”

“Students then looked at the height of the plants and colors of the plants to plan their garden,” Davison said. “Together we made a map of what the garden was going to look like.”

The class went on a field trip to The Plant House in Maryville where they planted sunflowers, tomatoes and learned more about plants as part of their study. Maryville Florists donated some flowers for the students to dissect to look at the different parts of plants as they learned about how plants grow and what is needed to survive.

To tie the unit into other content areas, students started earning play money for behavior and at the end of the unit, students used the coins earned to purchase two plants or flowers from our classroom flower shop which parents helped run and operate. The play money was part of the kindergartners’ study of coins.

In the meantime, the caterpillars had each made their chrysalis and have emerged as butterflies.

“In just a few days we will release our butterflies into our butterfly garden,” Davison said. “Per student request, we still plan to add a rock border and some painted rocks to add a little extra color.”