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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Learning by Doing


​In the spring of 1915 several thousand tomato plants were distributed to the school children as they left for summer vacation. They were instructed in how to raise the tomato plants by the school garden instructor before leaving.

In August, the Pantagraph announced the schedule for weighing the tomatoes, to determine who had been most successful in raising the tomatoes over the summer. That summer had been very hot and very rainy. The weighing was to take place at each school during the next week.

A school garden instructor! What a concept. There was no comment on why it was thought to be beneficial for the children to engage in such an exercise. Was it to teach children about good nutrition or self reliance? Was it to instill in them a respect for the work of farmers? Certainly it wasn't to teach them to pass a test, but to teach them that we learn by doing.


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