How Does Your Math Garden Grow?

Megan Gauss Hill

Lesson Goals

Demonstrate their knowledge of and application of the properties of multiplication to solve area problems.
Design a school garden incorporating visual arts and use mathematical labels and equations to describe the different areas of the garden.

Students will use their knowledge of the multiplication to design a school garden.


Picture(s) of architectural landscape plans
Graph paper: enough for students to do multiple drafts
Colored Pencils: enough for students to share or have their own
Erasers: for each student
Pencils: for each student


1. Have students gather in a circle in the center of the room to play Buzz. Tell the children that the aim of the game is to count to 50 – simple, right? Except all multiples of the chosen number must be replaced by the word “Buzz”. For example, if the buzz number was multiples of 5, play would go – 1,2,3,4,buzz,6,7,8,9, buzz,11,12 . . . etc. If a child makes a mistake play begins (for the whole group) again at 1. As a variation add two multiples such as 3 and 5.
2. Unpack the following learning targets on the board by highlighting and defining the verbs and key vocabulary:
-I can relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition.
– I can create visual representation of a school garden by generation ideas, planning solutions, and producing original art.
3. While unpacking the math learning target, be sure students understand arrays, and how to visually represent multiplication and repeated addition.
4. Have students pair up to practice showing as many arrays as they can with an area of 8, 12, 15, 24, or any other areas you wish to show.
5. Ask student pairs to make an 8×7 rectangle. Tell them they have to find the area without counting each square one by one. How could they break apart the rectangle to make it easier to multiply? Have them label the lengths and include the math equations.
6. Circulate and find a couple of student pairs to share their ideas with the class. Choose student work that demonstrates the distributive property and help the students explain.
7. Show students a picture of or an actual landscape architect’s plan for a yard or garden. Point out the scale, measurements, math, labels, and art.
8. Tell students that their job will be to use graph paper and create or recreate a garden for the school. Tell them they must label their garden boxes and beds with not only the math equations, but it also must have the plants they would like to grow.
9. Have students share their work in a gallery walk. Students will give feedback by writing one glow and one grow on sticky notes. Be sure to emphasize feedback that is kind, specific, and helpful.
10. Students can then review the feedback for a final draft and write a reflection statement about how they feel about the learning targets.

Differentiation Approaches

Students may only create beds with areas no larger than 18 square units.
Students can use actual measurements and draw it to scale.


Did the students label their garden boxes/beds with the correct areas and mathematical equations?
Observation of student pairs.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Use this lesson as a jumping off point for a project that incorporates research for planting garden beds during different seasons. Create a list of supplies. Calculate the cost of supplies and create a budget. Invite landscape architects and community experts to work with the students. Make a plan to donate food or flowers to local nonprofits, food banks, or your school family. Create podcasts, videos, and/or persuasive writing/letters to pitch their ideas to the PTA, parents, and administrators so that their plans could be put into action.

Additional Details

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