Kelly Hogan, our LivingLAB Co-Director, shares highlights of the past few weeks in LivingLAB:


Grade 5 Plant Drawings for Botany
5th graders are starting a botany block and during their LivingLAB class time they chose a plant in the Flower and Dye Garden that they wanted to learn more about. They observed the plants carefully, and did detailed drawings including the overall form, the leaves and the flowers. Then they asked questions about their plant and wrote a description naming any medicinal qualities and whether any part of the plant is edible and/or used as a dye. They also learned about some of the common qualities of the plants in that garden, such as being perennial or self seeding, drought tolerant and a pollinator attractant.




Grade 6 Biodynamic Compost Pile Making
6th graders layered brown plant materials (a source of carbon), green plant materials & food waste (a source of nitrogen), soil & cow manure (to introduce soil microbes and beneficial bacteria) into a compost pile last week, adding moisture between the layers (but not too much!) and carefully stirring biodynamic preparation #507 (valerian leaf juices) which they poured over the top when the pile was done. Biodynamic preparations #503-506 will be added into holes at the base of the pile. Each preparation includes a medicinal herb that gives a homeopathic dose of nutrient stimulation to the pile. 4th grade will aerate the pile every few weeks and in a few months it will be ready to add to our spring garden beds.


6th grade compost
Grade 2 at Elk Rock Island

2nd grade students took a walk to Elk Rock Island last week in order to enjoy the beautiful weather by the Willamette River. The students built cairns which are stacks of rocks that mark or delineate a space, such as on a hiking trail. Math is reinforced naturally through activities such as this, as the students count how many rocks they stack and then how many stacks they make. Though they were not given explicit instructions to count, add and multiply, the embodied experience lives implicitly in this type of activity.


Grade 10 Weekly Visits to Jean’s Farm

10th graders visit Jean’s Farm every Thursday afternoon,  in conjunction with their Friday LivingLAB classes. Activities include:

  • an apple halves and pie making
  • a CSA (community supported agriculture) harvest
  • a nettle harvest which they processed, dried and made 3 feet of cordage to create their own plant hangers
  • a thistle harvest and preparation of thistle root chai
And the first stop upon arrival is always to greet the chickens.






Grade 5 Peace Pole

5th grade students wrote an intention on a piece of paper and planted their intentions, along with some chive plants, around the Peace Pole (Monroe Lot Pollinator Garden).  They reflected on actions they can take as individuals in order to bring more harmony to their class. The students then sang the song “Go Now in Peace” as a rededication of our Peace Pole. The Peace Pole was originally donated by the Milwaukie Rotary Club as part of an international effort to spread this positive message around the world. Whether you are traveling locally or internationally, take notice when you see a Peace Pole and please send a photo if you can!