Students enjoying camp!
October marked the end of the school year here in Guatemala--but that doesn’t mean that the learning stopped! Throughout November, Pueblo a Pueblo hosted a “Vacations in the Garden” course for 3rd through 5th grade students at four of our partner schools in order to keep students engaged and learning during their break from school.
Each day, the students participated in fun, educational activities that focused on different themes related to gardening. They learned about soil, plant types, seeds, biodiversity, the water cycle, and more--while also learning the importance of personal responsibility and teamwork!
In one activity, the children were asked to search for forms of life in their gardens other than plants. By digging a little deeper, they found insects in the soils, butterflies and bees pollinating the plants, and much more! After discovering and understanding the important role of each living thing in the small ecosystems in their own gardens, students were able to experience biodiversity with their own eyes.
The students were also able to conduct experiments on soil types and soil erosion. On one day, they used clear, cut water bottles to see which soils in the gardens absorbed water more quickly and more slowly, allowing them to learn which soils were best for growing different plants.
In order to understand soil erosion, teams of students made volcancitos, or little volcanos, out of dirt. They then covered one with plants and leaves (to represent trees and plant life) and left one without any vegetation, and sprinkled water on both volcancitos. The teams observed that the volcancito without the “trees” on it experienced more runoff and erosion—and were able to see the negative effects of deforestation right in front of them!
The children also learned how to use the food from their school gardens to prepare delicious and nutritious recipes for themselves and their classmates. Some of the recipes included “porcupine” meatballs (made with rice), the traditional Central Guatemalan dish called “iguashte” (a type of vegetable salad with soy protein instead of expensive meat), and spinach. They very much enjoyed learning how to use the foods they have grown—not to mention eating them!
The Vacation in the Gardens Course kept project staff busy throughout the month of November, and ended up being a huge success. Soon, the school year will be starting up again. We look forward to new school year!
Exploring in the gardens
Seeing the effects of erosion
Ready for cooking class
Learning to make nutritious food