Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.

Species Interdependence: 4th Grade Interpretation


Mr. McCafferky: "Check out this bean!

One of the most important lessons learned in school is how much we depend on one another. We begin to understand and appreciate that fact even before we enter school. Here in Mr. Cafferky’s  fourth grade, students are grappling with the concept of how different species depend on one another. The first part of this question is vocabulary related.  What is interdependence? What is a species? It’s wonderful to participate in  the learning that occurs between students as they listen to each others’ ideas. The next question: How can we use the garden to illustrate species interdependence?

For this part of our activity, I asked students to read about the plight of the honeybee. They learned about the importance of honeybee pollination in our garden and in the world of agriculture. A few already knew that the honeybee benefits from the nectar found in our garden flowers. They also learned about colony collapse disorder, a syndrome that is eliminating our important honeybee pollinators at an alarming rate.

looking at a young bean

looking at a young bean

using a magnifying glass

using a magnifying glass

We went out to the garden to check on our new beans. They provide a great illustration of the pollination needed to create fruit from a flower. We saw very few honey bees, but a lot of bumble bees, another species of bee that helps  pollinate. I think the most exciting part of this experience was looking up close with magnifying glasses. I hope to use them again soon with these budding scientists!


Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

2 thoughts on “Species Interdependence: 4th Grade Interpretation

  1. I am really impressed with the diversity of learning experiences related to the garden. From kale smoothies to multiplication and interdependence! Wow. I’d love to join the next adventure.

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