On May 18, the 4th graders attended an educational field trip to Coastal
Roots Farm in Encinitas. This is a dynamic, hands-on STEM and Next
Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based program developed to
introduce multiple aspects of farming to the students. Before attending the
field trip, the students participated in planting a seedling to start their own
garden. They made daily observations, measured the progress, completed
scientific sketches, and drew inferences and conclusions based on their
observations. This activity prepared the students for the work they would
complete on the day of the field trip. On-site, the students observed and
sketched different fruit and vegetable structures and discussed each plant
part’s main function. They tasted farm-fresh produce, including various
parts of the plant, and discussed how soil helps these plants grow. In
addition, the students learned about how compost is made. They discussed
the different components that makeup soil, why they are all necessary, and
which is best to use when starting a garden or planting something new.
Also, they participated in a scavenger hunt to collect items to help
contribute to the on-site hot compost. Finally, the students visited the
chicken coop, discussed the importance of chickens on the farm, how they
are cared for and what to look for when caring for the chickens, and lastly,
they fed the chickens. The students enjoyed the vastness of this local gem,
participating wholly in the dynamics of building and maintaining a farm for
both human and animal consumption, and learning about sustainable
agriculture. It was a fantastic experience for our young environmental