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    Sowing new seeds: Dallas science teacher brings students closer to nature with iPad

    “With gardening, there’s a lot of problem solving that has to go into it,” Deinhammer says. “Our driving question for gardening is, How can we improve our garden space to make it more environmentally friendly and encourage more visitors, from more people in our community, to native animals and wildlife. I believe this challenges the students to think of the garden as a place to learn and a place to help others. We want our garden to be not only a place to learn how to protect the environment, but a place that’s inviting to all.”

    Since the Coppell Middle School East’s sustainability club — co-led by Deinhammer — planted the initial garden last year, the school donates its harvest to a Metrocrest Services community center in Coppell, which helps families and surrounding communities in need. “The more we can harvest, the more help we provide to our community,” says Deinhammer.

    Last year, inspired by the Everyone Can Create curriculum, Deinhammer developed and recently released the “Everyone Can Create in Science” book with fellow Apple Distinguished Educators. Many of those concepts are being applied to the gardening class, as Deinhammer believes creativity and flexible learning encourages students to grow. She uses iPad to design lessons and assignments for each of her students in a format — audio, visual, or written — that works best for them. Students capture their findings in a digital field guide created in Keynote, combining all of their work in a book to be shared with future gardening classes and the local community.

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