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In this project-based learning experience, students will work collaboratively to design and plan a community garden from scratch, taking into account factors such as space utilization, plant selection, and sustainability. This real-world project will encourage students to develop essential skills in research, teamwork, and problem-solving while fostering an understanding of community and environmental stewardship.

Free PBL lesson plan: Design a Community Garden! Engaging, cross-curricular lesson plans for grades 5-8

Project-Based Learning (PBL) Lesson Plan: Designing and Planning a Community Garden

Grade Level: Middle School (5th-8th Grade)

Duration: 4-6 weeks (approximately 20-30 hours)

Driving Question:

“How can we create a sustainable community garden that enhances our neighborhood while considering space constraints and plant selection?”

Project Phases:

Phase 1 – Project Introduction and Research (2-3 days)

Objective: Students will understand the purpose and importance of community gardens, learn about sustainability, and conduct initial research.

  1. Project Launch (45 minutes)
  • Present the project to the students, explaining the driving question and the overall objectives. Discuss the importance of community gardens in promoting sustainability and community involvement.
  1. Community Garden Research (2 days)
  • Assign individual or small group research tasks on community gardens, sustainability, and the benefits of various types of plants. Encourage students to use books, articles, and websites for their research.

Phase 2 – Garden Design (5-7 days)

Objective: Students will design a community garden taking into account space, plant selection, and sustainability.

  1. Space Assessment (2 days)
  • In groups, students will visit the intended garden site and assess the space. They should consider factors like sunlight, soil quality, accessibility, and safety.
  1. Plant Selection (2 days)
  • Students will research and compile a list of suitable plants for the garden, including vegetables, flowers, and herbs. They should consider local climate and native plant species to promote sustainability.
  1. Garden Design Proposal (1 day)
  • In groups, students will create a garden design proposal, which should include a garden layout sketch, a list of chosen plants, and a brief explanation of sustainability practices they plan to implement.

Phase 3 – Budgeting and Resource Acquisition (3-4 days)

Objective: Students will create a budget, seek funding, and acquire necessary resources for the community garden project.

Budget Planning (2 days)

  • Students will create a detailed budget for their garden project, including estimates for tools, seeds, soil, and other materials. They will learn about budgeting, cost estimation, and resource allocation.

Fundraising (1 day)

  • Students will explore fundraising options such as grants, donations, or community partnerships. They will create a presentation or proposal to seek funding for their project.

Phase 4 – Implementation and Maintenance (10-12 days)

Objective: Students will collaborate to implement the garden design, taking care of plant growth, sustainability practices, and community involvement.

Garden Installation (3 days)

  • Students will implement their garden designs by preparing the soil, planting the chosen plants, and setting up any necessary structures like compost bins or rain barrels.

Sustainability Practices (3 days)

  • Students will put their sustainability plan into action by composting, using natural pest control methods, and practicing water conservation.

Community Involvement (2-4 days)

  • Encourage students to involve the community by organizing events, workshops, or open days at the garden. This helps in fostering community connections and showcasing their work.

Phase 5 – Reflection and Presentation (2-3 days)

Objective: Students will reflect on their project, document the process, and present their community garden to peers and community members.

Project Reflection (1 day)

  • Have students reflect individually or in groups on what they learned, challenges they faced, and how they contributed to the project’s success.

Presentation (1-2 days)

  • Students will create and deliver a presentation to showcase their community garden project, including its design, implementation, and sustainability practices.


  • Assessment will be based on research quality, the depth of thought put into garden design, successful budgeting, and the presentation of their project.

Extension Activities:

Invite a local horticulturist or sustainability expert to speak to the class.

Create a community garden website or social media account to document the project’s progress.

Explore partnerships with local businesses, nurseries, or environmental organizations for additional support.

This project-based learning lesson plan provides students with an immersive, real-world experience in designing, planning, and implementing a community garden while considering factors such as space, plant selection, and sustainability. It fosters critical thinking, teamwork, and a strong sense of community involvement.

Bonus: PBL Lesson Plan Template

Whether you’re designing a project based lesson plan for your class, co-op, or homeschool family, make it easy with a simple and effective lesson plan template. This template includes a two-page overview of your project, five days of planning, and a ten point rubric all in a simple-to-edit Google Doc.

PBL Lesson Plan Template

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