Math matters

Sixth grade landscape designers

Elena and Phillip really want a star-shaped pool in the backyard.
Chris and Sophia have a 50’ zipline!
Lael and Kate plan for a stand of oak and redbud trees and serviceberry bushes.

Annette Milne’s sixth graders are landscapers hired by Mr. and Mrs. Green to design their back yard. This week, they are working in teams and sketching ideas on graph paper. Soon, they will be calculating the area of their patios, pools and playhouses, and using it to determine costs of materials and the total budget. They'll also be considering their design's impact on the local eco-system.

“This hands-on math project folds in real-life use of geometry, scale models, multiplication and sustainability,” said math teacher Milne.

connect backyard decisions to sustainability – what supports life now and in the future

Thanks to a recent visit from local landscape designer Margi Corsello and staff developer Melissa Brady, the students are also creating an environmentally friendly yard for the Greens. The reimagined lesson embodies the District's vision that sustainability be folded into curriculum as it makes sense, to expand learning. 

Corsello expanded students’ understanding of yards as habitats—attracting pollinators, supporting ecosystems and biodiversity—using Bedford 2030 Healthy Yards tips as a guide They role-played a scenario in which a squirrel, ruby-throated hummingbird and monarch butterfly visited a neighborhood looking for food. The only habitat that supported the animals had oak trees, red columbine flowers and milkweed.