Over the course of the past year, Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School students, faculty, and community volunteers came together to build a beautiful new greenhouse in the school garden.
This fall, nine 5-7th graders were tasked with planning and implementing a design for the inside of the new greenhouse space in an Offering course with 5th and 6th grade teacher and IGS educator Scott Goldin. Students met for one hour per week for eight weeks, during which they designed a plan for building new raised beds while also working on other tasks such as harvesting, mulching, and putting their garden to bed for the winter.
First, students took measurements inside the greenhouse and decided to build two raised beds, leaving room for additional shelving for seedlings and work space.
Starting with 12-foot lengths of lumber, the students used their measurements to decide on the dimensions of the two beds, and marked the lumber to be cut.
Realizing that they would have lumber left over, students elected to build several more raised beds to make use of some empty garden space outside the greenhouse. Once again they measured their space and marked their cuts.
Scott stepped in to cut the lumber to size, and they worked together to assemble and position the beds. This was their chance to get acquainted with some of the tools of the trade and turn plans into products.
Once assembled, the beds needed soil. So the students collected leaves, straw, and cardboard to create “lasagna beds”, layers of Carbon and Nitrogen materials that will break down over the winter to create hearty compost in time for spring planting.
This interdisciplinary project gave students an opportunity to take ownership over their school garden and greenhouse, learn how to use garden and carpentry tools, and turn a vision for a design into reality.
Now, the newly built Charter School greenhouse is ready for winter greens, spring seedlings and more, all thanks to these hard working girls and their teacher Scott. Everyone is looking forward to returning to the garden in January with a fresh slate and plenty of room to grow!