Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Sheet Shake

Sheet Shake

Use a sheet to explore just how much life can live in a backyard bush or shrub. Ages 5+, 15+ minutes

What use does an old bed sheet have in a garden?  It’s a wonderful exploration tool for examining the wondrous amounts of life that a single bush can contain!  Really, all you need for this activity is a bedsheet you don’t mind getting dirty.  Go outside to a yard or a bush lined street.  Find a nice, full bush or shrub that has less branches near the bottom so that it is easier to access the underside of the plant.  Lay your sheet out flat and then pull one side of the sheet under the bush as far as you can.  Once one side of the sheet is under the bush as much as you can manage, then it is time to shake, shake, shake!  Hold on to the branches above the sheet and shake enthusiastically, but not so hard that it damages the plant.  When you’ve had enough fun shaking, gently pull the sheet out from the bush by pulling the side closest to you.  The sheet should be covered not only in leaves, twigs, and bits of plant but also in small insects, spiders, or other very small critters.  You may need to get on your hands and knees to see the truly small wildlife.  Look closely and be patient!  Look for movement.  You’ll be amazed at how many little friends were hiding in that bush!  

It’s also nice to have a magnifying glass on hand to look at the insects close up.  I use a bug box, which is essentially a small, clear plastic box with a lid for scooping small insects into the box and closing it.  The lid has a magnifying glass built into it so that you can look at your bug friend up close.  Then simply open the lid to release your critter. 

When you are done exploring the bush, simply shake out your sheet onto the bush so that all the little friends can return to their home.  Once you have visited one bush, go try the sheet shake again at another bush, and then another!  Try comparing different plants as effective habitats.  What kinds of insects do different plants host?  Are the insects different in shaded plants versus plants in full sun?  Create your own experiments and have fun!

En español

For kids to watch and learn!

F2010 Version (teaching to kids)

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Become a Life Lab Certified Gardener! 🌱🌻Based on the success of our first four cohorts of Life Lab-Certified Garden Educators, we are excited to announce that registration is now open for individuals to register and be part of our fifth cohort starting January 23rd, 2023! We’ve put together a series of 4 on-line courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. Upon successful completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last 4 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model. The total commitment for the full series is 16 weeks. Check out our website for more information! Registration for the full certification series is now open. Please share with others who are looking for ideas and inspiration in the garden! There are 24 spots available and we sold out in our last 4 certification series. We hope you can join us!Life Lab offers a limited number of course fee reductions based on need and anticipated impact. To apply for financial assistance, follow the link below. Scholarship applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis between now and December 1st, 2022 or until all funds have been awarded.

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Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
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