Permaculture Principle Kids’ Lessons 4-6 week.

Week 4

Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services

Open Exercise: Based on Design from Pattern to Detail, Sit in circle say we are in a pattern of a circle, trees grow by sending two branches out of one, the sun always rises in east and sets in west. Go around circle and help students identify a pattern around the garden.

Walk around Garden: Show the ‘cut-and-come-again’ herbs. Talk about grass growing, trees shooting up from stumps; ie mulberry shoots by water tank. Talk about tree as shade. Talk about sun rising and feeding plants every day.

Objective: Renewable resources are renewed and replaced by natural processes over reasonable time.

Remember the Story of Stuff the first process was ‘extraction’ taking materials out of somewhere and putting them into ‘production’. Some materials like plastic made from fossil fuels and aluminum extracted from mining, are non-renewable, that’s why we recycle. Our cotton cloths are renewable but they are grown with petro chemical pesticides which are not renewable. Heat and electricity, energy, is renewable our bodies make it, thunderstorms make it, but right now Amarillo’s electricity comes from coal. Remember the 7 Fs; plants can grow us what we need and plants renew each day they grow.

Activity 1: World Café of renewable resources. Have two-three large sheets of paper with markers at each paper. Students have 30 seconds to draw or write renewable resources on paper, then one student stays at the paper and other students scramble to different paper and add onto renewable resource brainstorm of that paper for 30 seconds. After a few go-arounds we hold up the papers and see what the group came up with and talk about renewable resources.

Activity 2: Game: “Solar Cloths Dryer”
Divide into two teams. Have two buckets full of water and wet dish towels or fabric. 15-20 feet from buckets is a clothes line or fence with a potted plant beside it. Show students what is acceptable hanging and cloths pinning of towel; poorly hung towels don’t get points. Students must grab wet cloth from bucket, run up and wring water on potted plant then hang and cloths pin towel on fence or line. Students get points for each towel properly hung, and for watering the plant each time. Securely pinned towels

Close: What kind of resource are plants and heat from the sun? Renewable! Why? They can be replaced over reasonable time!

Extra Points: What is not renewable? Aluminum and plastic made from petroleum/gas. Bring bottles and cans to recycle 1 point per bottle and can.

Week 5

Produce no Waste

Open Exercise: Based on Design from Pattern to Detail. Sit in Circle.  Remember noticing patterns? We will try go-around circle and identify patterns we see again. Actively listen to each student

Walk around Garden: Look at Compost and trash area, look at worm bin. Talk about nutrient cycle and community dynamics that allows for decomposing.

Objective: Turn waste into a resource.  Human waste is food for microbes and bugs, bug and microb waste is a food for plants. We call this the Nutrient Cycle.

‘Waste’ as a verb is “use carelessly,” adjective “discarded as no longer useful,” noun “to use something without purpose,” ie waste of time. We want to use our time, water, nutrients, our human efforts, and plants wisely. Pollution is a waste; ie the exhaust from our car comes out the tail pipe and didn’t help the car run we are finding out car waste causes asthma and other diseases. Poop comes out cows and it can be seen as a waste or resource. Waste in feedlots and resource for microbes and plants in grasslands. In our garden we may have a bunch of weeds, we don’t have an excess in weeds we have a deficiency of animals to feed weeds too. Waste is only waste when “an output of any system component that is not being used productively by any other component in the system.” Show soil food web graphic. Talk about soil foodweb being a system we can manage to turn waste into resource.

Activity 1: Pick worms out of worm castings. Start seeds or repot plants in mix of worm castings, top soil, coir. Students can take seeds home and leave some at garden.

Activity 2: Pretend Game
Students choose from cards to become a bacteria fungi, nematode. Then they run around pretending giant vegetables and plant roots around them. They use their powers on the card and say what plants or animals they help grow. It ends by them being eaten by whatever is on their card.

Close: What do we want to see waste as? Resource! Turn waste into a resource!

Treat for Student: They can take plants or planted seeds home

Week 6

Use Small and Slow Solutions

Open Exercise: Based on Design from Pattern to Detail. Sit in Circle.  Remember noticing patterns? We will go around circle and each make a unique pattern with hands. Actively watch each student. Then we each find a spot alone. For 3 minutes of silence we look at map of patterns we have been coming up with last two classes.

Walk around Garden: Talk about patterns and what students noticed on map and anything to add.

Objective: When we move slowly through garden we notice many things.

Remember that simple patterns are usually the strongest. Small and slow solutions are usually the most humane. When we take time to grow food, to fix a broken machine, eat food as medicine, compost waste from the Mavrick we are using small and slow solutions. Large solutions are: shipping tons of food on trains or trucks; buying a new car instead of fixing it; eating whatever food we want then having to pay money for medicine; expecting the whole city of Amarillo to compost before we start composting. Small and slow solutions come from our arm’s length at a human scale. “Hurrying up is what you do right before you mess up.” When we are in a hurry we can’t see everything we need to see. “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Activity 1: Imagine quickly flying over garden in helicopter, what did we see? Then imagine driving by, jogging by, riding a bike, and now slowly walking. Walk through garden in slow motion bending down to smell, reaching up to touch turning to look at shade or sun ect.

Activity 2: Slow Motion Game
One student will do an action and/or say something. The next two people have to do action and words in slow motion. Let everyone have a turn. Talk about how much more we notice their face or syllables.

Close: So how do we want to move through garden? Slowly! Why? Slow and steady wins the race!

Points: +5 points extra when next time I see them around Mavrick they start walking and talking in slow motion.


About ellieearly

I was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. I moved back to Amarillo Feb 2011 after university in at Umass Dartmouth and post college adventures in central rural Tennessee on The Farm and surrounding land. Back in Amarillo I tried staring a business called Better Kitchen Gardens. This year, 2013, the High Plains Food Bank hired me to teach nutrition and gardening at the Mavrick Boys and Girls club. I'm a "Permi" a permaculutralist! I will use this site to share my Amarillo Permi ventures.
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