Interview with Daniele Keith, January 2009

Robertson County Middle School contacted the County Extension office last fall requesting master gardener volunteers to work with students in their school greenhouse. Below are some questions and answers that are part of an email-interview with Ms. Daniele Keith, 7th Grade Science teacher at the school for the January edition of The Leaflet.

When will the class (project) start?

--Earlier this year we started some seeds in soil and some in plastic bags. Using the Scientific Method we made predictions about which would sprout first. We observed them and checked our predictions. We even had a little lettuce in class one day. The majority of our plants did not survive due to a mishap. Not to be deterred we plan to try again at the end of February or early March. As my gardening talents are very limited, I am open to suggestions on any aspect of the greenhouse.

What is the size and scope of the greenhouse?

--I would say the size of the greenhouse is about 8' X 6'. I am not sure of the exact measurements.

Where did it come from? Who set it up?

--Dr. Morris, the principal of the Robertson County Middle School, provided and set up the greenhouse last summer. Thank you, Dr. Morris!

What days and time of day will assistance be needed?

--Right now there is no set day or time. I hope that all my classes will get to participate in growing different plants.

Will there be one class/group or multiple, i.e. number of Master Gardeners that might be needed?

--As of right now, it will only be four classes (one at a time), about 30 students per class working in groups. I think that one or two volunteers would be adequate right now but help will never be turned down--the more, the better. Any help or advice is appreciated as I have applied for some flower/gardening grants and will need more expert volunteers, if they are approved.

Could you provide a general ideal of your goals, purposes, direction of the class, i.e. associated with the cooking class, practical part of botany, science projects, etc.?

--Our first goal is to get plants to grow. We will use the Scientific Method to ask questions, make predictions, and answer questions relating to plants. We will use the them to provide a variety of hands on experiences relating to the Tennessee State Standards: pollination, sexual and a sexual reproduction, and heredity. I also envision other classes benefiting from the plants--language classes can write about them, math classes can use calculations to help decide what we need to add to the soil, art classes can draw them, and social study classes can research plant origins. I hope that eventually we will grow enough plants and vegetables that our classes can enjoy the fruits of their labor. That we can donate some of the vegetables to our cooking class or school food bank. It would be nice if we could grow enough vegetables that our cafeteria could use them in our school lunches.