Project Lemon Tree, an ecology-agriculture-innovation outdoor classroom curriculum presented as a BizzyB 5 Themes of Innovation project-based learning model, was tested with educators at the STEM Ecosystem Spring Convening, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Inventing with Lemon Trees
PLT is essentially a lemon tree hack. Students are walked through factoids about lemons like the fact that they are the top sequesterer of CO2 among all cultivated agriculture plants (beneficial to the reduction of greenhouse gases), grow more fruit on pergolas due to encouragement of horizontal growth patterns which produce more flowers and that lemons have solvents and anti-bacterial agents that are useful for a variety of products. It’s essentially an invention space for student teams to create and express themselves through plantings and built structures. A 16 lesson curriculum model that starts from soil science and moves through designing and building pergolas and trellises, includes companion gardens like herbs, indigenous plants, bee-friend plants, nitrogen fixators and more, and ending with a series on products that can be made with lemons like lemonade, air fresheners and cleaning products. For more, see ProjectLemonTree.com »
A Lemon Tree Hackathon at STEM Ecosystems
To test the system among educators, we ran a session, normally done by students in our region, where participants learn a bit about the science of lemon production and pergola building, then design and build models for pergola concepts. The hack ended in the hotel bar after sessions were concluded for the day with people standing onto popsicle stick models to see which team’s model could take the most weight.
A Win for PBL
Aside from learning about how educators would react to PLT, we wanted to see how some new ideas on how to transact hackathons and PBL activities would be received. Results showed great sentiments, thanks for opening minds in this area and several regions requesting the curriculum including cold-weather locations that might do this program with apple trees.