Science STEM STEMpact

STEM TQ experience inspires teachers to create garden club

Deanne Ward, a teacher at Barack Obama Elementary School, shows a garden worm to third grade students Jamorie Dickerson, Harmoni Morton, Atlas Harrington, and DeMarion Cain. Photo by Bridjes O’Neil

Like the nation’s former First Lady Michelle Obama, teachers at Barack Obama Elementary School are using gardening to teach students about health, math, and science.

Working under the guidance of teachers and Monsanto volunteers, students at Obama Elementary recently took to the school grounds to prep planting beds for fall veggies and greens native to Missouri. The volunteers were participants in the Monsanto Gives Back volunteer event held in partnership with Gateway Greening.

Gateway Greening supports over 60 In-Network Youth Gardens, including at Barack Obama Elementary and, soon, Normandy’s Jefferson Elementary, as well as other schools throughout St. Louis city and county. The nonprofit educates and empowers people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture. Obama Elementary first partnered with Gateway Greening in 2011 after installing a garden at the school.

Obama Elementary teachers Deanne Ward and Cardelia Brand, who is also a Gateway Greening Youth Garden leader, are establishing a garden club at the school. Through Gateway Greening, Ward participated in an educator workshop on how to help students start their own gardens.

The teachers tell The St. Louis American that they were inspired to create the garden by their participation in the STEMpact Teacher Quality (STEM TQ) Institute.

“In STEM TQ, we were taught to combine curricula into one, versus having them segregated,” said Stephanie Fomera, a fourth-grade teacher at Barack Obama Elementary. “Cross-curricular instruction is one of our biggest foci in the Normandy Schools Collaborative.”

To read the article in its entirety visit The St. Louis American website.