What do you do with your AP class in the time between the big exam and the end of the year? To pass the time in a meaningful way, I started offering the opportunity for legacy projects. These are projects designed by the students, stay with the classroom, and are meant to benefit future students. This year, my AP Biology students decided to create a pollinator garden and more.
To start the process of choosing a project, we brainstormed. Several of the ideas presented included work in our outdoor learning environment (OLE) so we walked out to the OLE to investigate further. The students decided they wanted to create a pollinator garden.
When we returned to the classroom, we hashed out all of the components that would be included in this project. Since the OLE is used by 8th grade students for inquiry investigations, they decided they would write a garden guide and lab manual for students. The lab manual will include a few full labs, as well as ideas and skeleton guides for inquiry ideas. I am so excited for this portion of the legacy project!
As we started our work, we knew we needed to learn more about pollinators and flowers that attract them. We invited a guest speaker and she shared with us all about the bees in our area, both native and non-native, and how to attract and care for them. It was fascinating how much there is to learn about our pollinator friends. We also took our guest to the OLE to get her feedback on the space we chose. The unexpected outcome was her identification of so many pollinator-friendly plants already on site. Her suggestion was to add plants to fill the time of year that none of our current plants are in bloom. This gave us the direction we needed. She also helped us identify structures we can add for pollinators to nest, winter, and hide in.
We are still in the early stages of this year’s legacy project. I am excited to see the outcome. Do you do something similar with your AP classes? I would love to hear about it!