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Gardening: Culture and Science
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project 'Gardening: Culture and Science' is about creating cross-curricular good practices in 7 European schools. In each school there will be a group of students (approximately 20-25 students/school) who will carry out the project guided by teachers. Teachers in the fields of science, language, mathematics and history will be involved in the project and they are responsible for the quality of activities carried out. This project is about gardens, gardening. The basic idea is how a few seeds, after some time and hard work turn into a harvest. What are the cultural and scientific aspects of such activities? How does each country deal with vegetables in the garden, in the kitchen, in folklore, in culture? What are the similarities and differences in the growing situation of these plants in each European country? Each partner school chooses a culture plant typical of their national/regional cuisine: vegetable, fruit, herb, flower etc. Plants will be chosen before the first meeting. Key points to consider when choosing a plant: it must be edible, typical in the partner country and it must grow from seed to harvest in one year (if possible one that grows between September and June). Three types of activities will be carried out simultaneously: 1. Gardening Each school shall determine the possibilities for a school garden. The structure of the garden should be planned and built by students. This is where they will carry out their observations/experiments. At the project meetings students exchange seeds of all the cultural plants and give presentations on their ideal growing conditions. They also discuss some expectations on how each cultural plant will live and grow in each school's garden. Students will plant the seeds and carry out examinations the same way. The following measurements, examinations will be carried out by the students: - plant growth chart - examination of the growing medium - temperature chart - measuring hardness of irrigation and rain water - sunshine hours chart This will allow for international comparison of European plants grown in various conditions. Each school provides their results to the country which chose the plant who will then carry out European comparisons of the provided data. We will also create a mini e-Twinning project to teach members how to create time lapse photography/video to be used in the project. This would show the growth of the culture plants. 2. Culture At each meeting students will work on the role of their plant in national culture. They will do research on their plant pertaining to its role in history, agricultural traditions, folklore, folk arts and the medicinal uses thereof. They will hold short presentations for which they will design short quizzes or games based on the presentation. The gastro-culture role of the plant will be covered in the cooking programs in which students from various countries show each other how to cook different types of food using the culture plant. This can be carried out in the school building or at host families via cooking contests in mixed groups. Furthermore, arts and crafts sessions can be held to show the traditional representation of plant motifs to each other. 3. Agricultural research Each country will carry out interviews and use questionnaires to compare their agriculture with the others. Two schools can work in partnership and create a series of questions that will be asked in each country. Possible interviewees: - agricultural engineers, - produce dealers, - small share farmers, - agrarian politicians/lawyers, - the man on the street. The students of the partner schools should work together, developing the questionnaires via eTwinning or other ICT tools. They create the interviews in partnership and present them at the project meetings. During the presentations the partner schools can point out some critical opinion which should be considered before finalizing the interview. The final interview should be conducted in each country and the results will be tallied, compared and presented by the partner schools responsible for the interview. One of the final products will include the school gardens in each school which will be further used. There will be a web-site where all the results of the gardening, the examinations, the time lapse videos, the cultural and historical background information, the results of the agricultural research and the actions made on the project meetings will be shown. On the web-site there will be also a teacher's page where the project will be described in details to help other schools use this project. The other final product will consist of information, descriptions/instructions on how to carry on this project on a national/regional/institutional level, that is how to implement these good practices. This will also contain exaples of how we expanded the good practices to the international level.
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