Nature Works Everywhere Gardens Activity Guide: Community


Activity Description: 

Students plan, create and participate in an outreach event to share some of the benefits of their school garden — educational, experiential, and material — with others in your community. Students gather data to evaluate the impact of their event, and use this data to develop ideas for increasing community engagement and multiplying the effect of their school garden. Students plan and execute a campaign to address a need, issue, or problem they have discovered in their community.


The purpose of this activity guide is to help students understand how their garden can benefit not just their classroom or their school, but also their entire community. This guide provides instruction on how to plan and execute a community outreach event in the garden, and on data collection to help students evaluate impact beyond their school, and provides service-learning ideas to apply knowledge learned from the garden to a community improvement project.

Educational Standards: 

Note: Performance standards in Life Sciences and Earth Sciences apply to student presentations and signage prepared for your garden outreach event.

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

LS1-4: Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

LS1-6: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

LS2-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

LS2-5: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Earth’s Systems

ESS2-4: Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. 

Earth and Human Activity

ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Engineering Design

ETS1-1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

ETS1-2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


Materials for teacher

  • Computer with Internet connection
  • School garden or other natural area on your school campus
  • Digital camera/video camera for a visual record of your event
  • Paper plates, utensils, napkins, serving bowls, and other supplies for serving food from the garden to those who attend your event (optional)

Materials for students

  • Garden Project Notebook
  • Community Engagement Field Report reproducible (provided at the end of this guide)
  • Poster board, markers, laminating material, signposts, staple gun, or other materials for creating garden signage
  • Computer, printer, paper for creating handouts and flyers
  • Presentation, demonstration, and activity materials as required
Extended learning experience (at least six 45-minute class periods)
The Nature Conservancy and Discovery Education,