Do you know what this thermometer means?

time to plant peas soil tempHere’s some cheery, spring news for a day that feels like a February flashback: This thermometer says the soil temperature in the raised beds is above 40F. TIME TO PLANT PEAS!

As part of their measurements unit, the fifth graders are going to have a contest to see which class can grow the longest vine, harvest the first crop, and produce the most peas. They were inspired by Thomas Jefferson, who competed with his Monticello neighbors over who could bring the first spring pea to the table. Like Jefferson, whichever class has the first harvest will host the other classes in a feast (or maybe just a snack).

The classes each have picked their species of pea, two of which were grown by Jefferson. Math specialist Kassia Omohundro-Wedekind led the discussion. She said:

After looking at some pictures of peas growing and the life cycle of a pea plant and explaining the contest and their roles as gardeners/scientists/mathematicians/caretakers, we read the back of the pea [seed packet] and had a lively debate about which pea species we would choose to grow. Some arguments:

  •  “We should choose the frost-resistant pea plant because it’s been a cold winter. Don’t worry about it being the tallest one yet.”
  • “Let’s try to win 2/3 of the contests. We can’t win them all so let’s just try to get two of them.”
  • “Even though the dwarf pea is small, it says it has a heavy harvest so that could still win.”
  • “Those pea seeds are the smallest so I think that might mean it takes them a longer time to grow.”
  • “Anything could happen when you’re gardening! The other classes’ plants might die!”

Sounds like that last fifth-grader has some experience…


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