Teacher: Matthew Little

Environmental Science 12

Lesson 3:

Planning a Garden

Lesson Time: 60+ minutes, lesson time does not include extensions, adaptations or potential scaffolding requirements.

Lesson Overview

This lesson is an opportunity to research and share a snippet about an indigenous species (plant, pair, share). Students are encouraged to begin the selection process in terms of what plants they will choose for their garden. Students can look to local supply prices (building and garden supplies) to test feasibility.

Teaching Summary

1. Attendance
2. Shape of the Lesson

3. Budgeting
4. Plant, Pair, Share
5. Sourcing Plants (and other materials)

6. Wrap-up
7. Extension

Lesson Objectives

Click to expand, contract, or select tabs.

Students Will:

  • Plan a garden working within a prescribed or flexible budget
  • Source seeds, plants and construction materials locally
  • Survey some of the plants that are available to them
Core Competencies:

________ Highlighting applicable curricular competencies and content
________ Evidence for selection, generated with input from sample “I” statements in curricular draft documents


  1. Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas)
  1. Acquire, interpret and present information (include inquiries)
  • Students share their brief research into an indigenous species which is locally available
  1. Collaborate to plan, carry out and review constructions and activities
  • Students plan how to divvy up their budget
  • Optionally students may seek to fundraise
  1. Explain, recount and reflect on experience and accomplishments


Creative Thinking

    1. Novelty and value
    2. Generating ideas

Students speculate how their plant might fit into the overall plan of the garden.

  1. Developing ideas

Critical Thinking

  1. Analyze and critique
  2. Question and investigate


Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

  1. Relationships and cultural contexts
  2. Personal values and choices
  3. Personal strengths and abilities

Personal Awareness and Responsibilities

  1. Self-determination
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Well-being

Social Responsibilities

  1. Contributing to community and caring for the environment
  2. Solving problems in peaceful ways
  3. Valuing diversity
  4. Building relationships
First Peoples Principles:

Learning involves patience and time.

  • This lesson is focused on setting the groundwork for future lessons culminating in an indigenous plant garden. The planning process may not bring immediate validation; however, it helps establish a sense of process.

Big Idea Focus:

Land Use and Sustainability

  • Students begin planning a project which envisions a school garden which incorporates indigenous plant elements. These plants encourage sustainability, for example, by supporting local pollinators.

Curricular Competency Focus:

Collaboratively and individually plan, select, and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and lab experiments, to collect reliable data (qualitative and quantitative)

  • Students gather “data” on available indigenous plants from local nurseries and online sources
  • Students gather “data” on construction materials required for raised beds
  • Students use this data in combination with budget constraints to estimate the scope of their garden

Applying and innovating: Co-operatively design projects with local and/or global connections and applications

  • Students will hopefully have sketched out the scope of their gardening project by the end of this class
  • This garden will have an impact on the local ecology of the school grounds

Curricular Content Focus:

Land Use and Sustainability: Land management and personal choices

  • Students work to outline the scope of their garden based on personal choices, such as: their favourite plants
  • The gardening aspect that they are building up to and planning for can be considered an act of land management



  • Plant, Pair, Share Worksheet
  • Anecdotal assessment of class conversation throughout activities
  • State of ‘Whiteboard Budget’

Adaptation / Modification:

This section contains videos and resources that may inspire you to adapt this activity in a way that works for you, these will mostly be focused on a variety of in-class and out-of-class school gardens which could provide exemplars for both teacher and students.

Indigenous Plant School Gardens
Aquaponics in the Classroom
Indigenous Gardens Around the World
Indigenous Bee Keeping

Teaching Guide:

Materials, Resources and Prep

For the Student:

  • Plant, Pair, Share handout:

(Illustrations courtesy of FreePik)

  • Device for ‘rapid’-research
  • Note-taking materials

For the Teacher:

  • An established budget value

Consider referring to this actual school garden budget. (Courtesy of John Cripps)

Alternatively, consider using a beautified budget:

Garden Budget Template

If you so desire, establish a knowledgebase in indigenous plant gardening. I especially like the Start Your Own Native Plant Garden resource.

Getting Started: (5 Min)

1. Attendance
2. Shape of the lesson

  • We’re going to talk about our garden budget
  • We’ll do a research-pair-share activity so that we can narrow down to some of the plants we might want in our garden
  • We’re going to try to source out costs and revisit our budget to come to terms with the scope of our garden

Activities: (40+ Min)

3. Budget

  • Establish what the budget is
  • Explain how after we have established the kinds of plants that we may like to plant, and their prices, we will look at their overall cost, and what kind of scope we might have in terms of the leftover budget for construction costs (lumber, landscaping fabric etc.)
  • Show how the budget will be split between the cost of plants (seeds, trees etc.), soil (mulch, fertilizer etc.), other materials (ie. if we are making raised beds)

Here are some tips for staying on budget:

4. Plant, Pair, Share

  • Grab a copy of the Plant, Pair, Share worksheet, or display it with a projector
  • Choose a plant, especially from a recommended plant list.
  • Rapidfire research means you only have 5 minutes to research your plant. Consider answering these questions:
  1. What conditions does my plant like?
  2. Do I like its aesthetics?
  3. How could it benefit our garden?
  • Now pair up / triple up and share your findings. As a group, decide which plant you like the best.
  • Finally, you will have the opportunity to share this plant with the class, and we can add it as a potential plant to our budget list… but how much will it cost!?

5. Sourcing Plants (and Other Materials)

  • Students volunteer to find price estimates for the plants which we have tentatively chosen
  • Other students volunteer to estimate cost of construction materials
  • Volunteers are added to the budget document / whiteboard illustration to establish the plan moving forward.
  • Students may refer to an online pricing & availability list to establish likely costs. Part of this activity should be determining where seeds, plants etc. are available locally.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Wrap-up/Extension: (5+ Min)

6. Wrap-up

  • Discuss with students whether they have a sense of the scope of the garden project yet? Will they understand better once the budget is back? Once they start measuring out the garden in their next class?

7. Extension

  • Students may be interested in conducting more thorough research on their chosen plant. Although I am skeptical as to how engaged students would be, an inquiry project which ends with them planting the subject of their inquiry might be an effective extension activity.
  • Students could be introduced to the spectrum of indigenous plants at a local nursery by a gardening expert or a master gardener.
  • UBC has some interesting initiatives which could potentially be toured, with content that overlaps with this unit.

This document is available under a Creative Commons License.

This lesson plan was inspired by code.org’s programming units. The eagle feather and First Peoples Principles of Learning framework are assets of fnesc.ca.