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Posted on 26 May, 2022 in School Programs

Beyond the Classroom: Cooking and Gardening and ICT

This article demonstrates how special programs at Larrakeyah Primary enhance learning outcomes for students through integrating the practical application of skills from one subject in the real-world context of another.

Real-world context is an important aspect of modern teaching approaches such as inquiry-based learning.

Inquiry-based learning makes concepts more meaningful to students through facilitated inquiry rather than direct instruction.

Today, we’ll look at how the Cooking and Gardening Program and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Program are being integrated this term. Students combine their knowledge and skills from both programs to design solutions to problems. Then they test, evaluate, and refine their designs.

First, we’ll cover the learning outcomes of the Cooking and Gardening Program and then share how Year 5 and 6 students are developing their ICT skills in the context of cooking and gardening.

About Cooking and Gardening

The Cooking and Gardening Program is about health, safety, wellbeing and the considerations between the products and services people need and the sustainability of the environment.

Students learn to make better choices and solve problems that affect themselves, others, and the planet.

In gardening for Term 2, Year 5 and 6 students are learning about preparing and caring for gardens to successfully plant and propagate seeds.

In cooking, the focus is on the benefits of macronutrients and micronutrients and how to prepare and cook delicious meals that:

  • Meet dietary requirements
  • Account for allergies
  • Use healthy substitutes to improve meal nutrition

Two related challenges – problems to be solved – arise from these goals.

  • How to protect the gardens so that healthy plants can grow?
  • How to monitor the variables that affect plant growth (which can dramatically affect things like the nutrient value of ingredients derived from plants)?

In ICT this term, students undertook projects to solve these two challenges using technology.

Using ICT to solve cooking and gardening challenges

The ICT Program is about developing digital literacy, 21st century skills, and learning to access, create, and communicate information and ideas and use technology to solve problems.

Developing skills in the context of real-world challenges provides a richer learning experience. For example, this term the Year 2 students are completing the FIRST Lego League Explore program in the context of cargo transport in and out of Darwin.

The ICT Program and Cooking and Gardening Program are integrating throughout 2022 to bring exciting project opportunities to students.

Year 6: Modern Scarecrow

Year 6 students are tasked with creating a “modern scarecrow” using Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots.

This involves:

  • Creating the base of their robot
  • Designing the body of the robot
  • Deciding what sensor and motors the robot will need to be an effective scarecrow
  • Programming the robot to act in its role as scarecrow
  • Deploying the robot in the garden and evaluating the effectiveness of the design
  • Ideating on improvements

Throughout the project students use iPad tablets to follow a learning journal and document their process.

Year 5: Moisture monitoring

Year 5 students are tasked with monitoring the moisture levels of garden soil to ensure good growing conditions.

Students learn how to use micro:bits kits to couple hardware (moisture sensors) and programming to alert gardeners to changes in the soil.

After learning the basic process through tutorials students are asked to modify and improve the program, test it, and then evaluate their changes.

Above: the original micro:bit program after completing the tutorial on monitoring moisture levels. Below: the original micro:bit program extended by students.

Importantly, in both projects elements of inquiry-based learning are present.

Students are:

  • identifying needs and opportunities available to solve the problem
  • selecting how to use and apply supporting technology in their designs
  • setting success criteria for their designs
  • testing, evaluating, and iterating on their designs based on criteria they set

These two cross-program projects are a fantastic example of a modern approach to learning. One that incorporates facilitated inquiry – rather than direct instruction – in an environment that develops both 21st century skills and the 4Cs and the practice of multiple disciplines across STEAM.

Innovation at Larrakeyah Primary

These two projects highlight how the innovation process at our school works.

In 2021, we shared how our Focus Teams constantly explore ways to extend our outstanding results.

The Innovation Focus Team has directed several professional development initiatives to bring new technologies into our programs. Micro:bits and Lego Mindstorm being integrated across subjects are examples of these initiatives producing consistent improvement.

Programs at Larrakeyah Primary School

This term we’re exploring the programs that offer unique opportunities to students at Larrakeyah Primary School. Take a look at how we go beyond the classroom with the Extra Curricular Activities and Tutoring Programs and the Physical Education Program.

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