Garden Science: Garden Orientation - The Card Hike

Sample of a card hike card.
Garden Orientation ThumbnailSample of a card hike card.


In this 6th grade science lesson, students are introduced to the garden as a classroom. They meet the garden staff, tour the garden, learn the basic systems and routines of the garden classroom and are introduced to the Edible Schoolyard life skills and values.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the garden staff and each other by name
  • Describe the garden, its basic systems and routines
  • Incorporate the Edible Schoolyard life skills and values into discussion about the garden


During this lesson, students will:

  • Play the Garden Name Game
  • Tour the garden on the Card Hike
  • Post questions about the garden on the white board and answer them together as a group, guided by the Edible Schoolyard life skills and values


  • Cards for the Card Hike
  • Garden Jeopardy game board
  • Garden Jeopardy game questions
  • White board and markers

Before You Begin

  • Create and set up the Card Hike
  • Create and set up the Garden Jeopardy game board
  • Create the Garden Jeopardy game questions
  • Set up the white board


At the Opening Circle

  1. Welcome students and introduce the Ramada as part of the garden classroom, where they will begin and end every garden class over the next three years.
  2. Introduce the garden staff.
  3. Ask students what they already know about the garden.
  4. Expand on their knowledge by describing the systems, routines and garden jobs that keep the garden healthy and productive.
  5. Explain to students the structure of most garden classes: first there is an opening circle where they choose garden jobs, then 45 minutes of garden work on the job and finally a closing circle back at the Ramada to share their experiences. Some classes are slightly different, like today's, where there will only be one job (the Card Hike) in which everyone participates.
  6. Tell students that this is an opportunity to learn each other’s names by playing the Garden Name Game. To play, students introduce themselves by their first name followed by a word associated with the garden that begins with the same letter (Simona Sunshine, Iseah Iceberg Lettuce, and so on). Encourage students to suggest different words for each letter as a class, so that the person giving their name has options to choose from.
  7. Introduce the Card Hike. Explain that it is an opportunity for students to experience the garden on their own by taking a guided walk, with cards giving information every ten feet or so. Students explore the garden one at a time, by following the sequence of cards. In some cases, there are arrows posted to help students find the next card. At the end of the hike, students return to the Ramada and write a question they have about the garden on the white board.

In the Field

  1. To begin the card hike, send students one at a time into the garden, allowing 30 seconds between each person.
  2. Lead students remaining at the Ramada in a group game, like Two Truths and a Lie, while they wait. This game is played by having a volunteer share three statements about him or herself, two true and one false.  All the other participants must guess which statements are true and which is false.
  3. Once four students have returned to the Ramada, divide them into two teams and start Garden Jeopardy. While students continue to arrive, alternate adding new members to each team as play continues. Garden Jeopardy is a quiz style game, with 25 questions assigned different point values, depending on difficulty. The questions are written on cards housed in library-style pockets that are mounted on a thin board.  Each student gets a turn to choose a question for their team, and must confer with the team for an answer. If their answer is incorrect, the other team has a chance at the question.  To keep scores close, teachers can call “Daily Doubles” and increase point values, giving the losing team a chance to catch up quickly.

At the Closing Circle

  1. Lead a discussion to answer questions students have posted on the white board (the final step on the card hike). Read each question to the group, then ask students if they know the answer before offering it to them. Prompt students to think about particular tools, techniques, or concepts parts of their answers. Address as many questions as time permits.

Take a visual tour of the garden card hike from Fall 2013!

The Garden Jeopardy Board
Garden_Jeopardy_Board.jpgThe Garden Jeopardy Board

Download: Garden_Orientation__Sample_Card_Hike.pdf

Download: Garden_Jeopardy_Questions-Orientation.pdf

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