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New York Botanical Garden


K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th



Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites
  • Videos, 1 minute, 51 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



School Gardening Part 5: Year-Round Garden

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  • In this resource, teachers and students learn about the parts of a bulb plant, the plant lifecycle, seasonal changes, and how to prepare the school garden for winter.
  • The resource includes an introductory video, two elementary lesson plans, two tip sheets about preparing the garden for winter, and teacher background information about botany.
Teaching Tips


  • In the lesson plans, students practice crucial scientific skills like making observations, drawing diagrams, and graphing data.
  • The tip sheets outline vital information to prepare the gardens for winter and get a head start on a good spring growing season.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource is part five of the six-part series called School Gardening 101 by The New York Botanical Garden. Part one is an introduction, part two is about soil, part three is about selecting and starting seeds, and part four is about seedlings.
  • Teachers must do the lesson Seasonal Changes in the fall. They should also do the lesson Lifecycle of an Onion Bulb in the fall if wanting to plant onion bulbs as an optional extension.
  • The last page of the Seasonal Changes lesson plan is a garden journal that teachers can print for student use.
  • The Lifecycle of an Onion Bulb lesson requires bulbs, plastic knives, paper towels, and magnifying glasses.
  • The resource suggests a variety of supplies for prepping the gardens for winter.


  • The Seasonal Changes lesson plan pairs well with the picture book It's Fall by Linda Glaser.
  • Older students can practice reading informational/scientific text by reading the tip sheets for preparing the garden for winter. Teachers can assign numbers to small groups to read and share what they learn with the class.
  • Younger students may need additional help and supervision cutting the onion bulbs. Alternatively, teachers can have whole and precut bulbs for students to observe.
  • Some students, especially those with sensory processing differences, may become agitated or distressed by cutting into an onion as the process stings their eyes. Teachers can offer these students goggles or perform the onion cutting under a document camera for students to watch from a distance.
Scientist Notes
While the YouTube video in this resource is older than our usual requirement, the information in it and the attached PDFs all contain information that is still accurate and helpful for understanding how to care for your garden during the winter. This resource is recommended for teaching,
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • CCC.Structure and Function: The way an object is shaped or structured determines many of its properties and functions.
      • K-2-CCC-Structure and Function. The shape and stability of structures of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s).
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • 1-ESS1-2 Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.
      • 5-ESS1-2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 3-LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
      • 4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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