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Fox BUGS (Better Understanding Garden Science)


To better understand nature, the relationships necessary for the growth of plants and where plants fit into the cycle of life.

The BUGS program teaches children about life science through gardening, by using fun hands-on activities. This program allows children to experience and connect to nature all around them and directly through the garden. By learning about the interconnection of the elements of a garden (soil, water, sun, plants and animals), children will gain an understanding of the garden's life process and how it relates to themselves and the wider natural environment. It is designed to be supplementary to the Life Science that the children receive in class from their teacher.

The basics:

  • Each month's lesson incorporates a particular educational theme.
  • The lesson starts with a 5-10 minute whole class discussion.
  • The class breaks into three groups, which rotate through three activity stations.
    • Two stations expand on month's theme and usually include reading and a fun hands on activity
    • One station is in the garden
  • There are seven sessions throughout the school year, one a month. This program is fully run by volunteers, minimum 3 per classroom.
  • The total volunteer time commitment for BUGS is typically between 1-2 hours per month.
  • All lessons are pre-designed, and all lesson materials have already been pre-assembled and packed into backpacks.
  • Volunteers simply need to review the lesson materials (online or at the library), show up at the scheduled time, grab the lesson backpack, and unpack and present the lesson.
    • Occasionally volunteers will need to bring in some common household items, such as newspaper or ice for a particular station. Volunteers also purchase plants twice per year, and are reimbursed by the BUGS program (limits apply).
  • There is no need for volunteers to be highly trained scientists or green thumbed gardeners. No experience is necessary!


Lesson plans and garden work

Below are links to the various lesson plans.  You will find copies of the same documents in the backpacks, but these links allow you to come to your lesson fully prepared.  If you need to print a copy you can, but there are multiple copies for you to use in the classroom, so consider saving a tree, etc.  If any of these links does not work for you, please let us know.  You will need the appropriate Adobe reader to open the PDF's, but that's not usually an issue these days.

Lesson themes and links to classroom material

  Kinder First Grade Second Grade Third Grade Fourth Grade
October BUGS intro, Schoolyard  Spiders Soil Types Crickets / Grasshoppers Composting
Nov/Dec Trees Bees Parts of a plant Rocks Redwoods
January Recycling Discovering Dirt Song: Dirt Made My Lunch Hello to Hummingbirds Ecosystem, Praying Mantis Oak: chaparral and riparian
February Birds, bird feeders Insects Arthropods, Ants Wild about Water. Water cycle Song: Water cycle boogie Water: Surface tension, density Song: Water Cycle Boogie
March Parts of a flower Birds, Beaks, Food. Camouflage. Learnin' worms & pressing flowers Day Skies Leaves: Observation, anatomy, prints
April Ladybugs, Insect Hunt, Grass growing All 'bout Bats Pressed flower cards and bookmarks All 'bout butterfly's Habitats - bog and compost
May Harvest, summer prep, celebrate! Harvest, summer prep, celebrate! Harvest, summer prep, celebrate! Harvest, summer prep, celebrate! Harvest, summer prep, celebrate!