By the first week of spring, a crowd of shivering daffodils offered a lonely spray of color to a still-dormant garden outside Hollin Meadows Elementary School. But the bright blooms were not safe for long amid the prying fingers of two dozen curious fourth-graders.
Winter coats guarded the children against a chilly breeze, but their mittens came off as they pulled leaf after buttery leaf from the flower and gave names to each of its parts.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Nikos Booth, 9, as he rubbed the golden pollen from the stamen onto his finger.
Lots of elementary students learn plant anatomy by studying a diagram and labeling the parts or circling terms on a worksheet. At Hollin Meadows in Fairfax County, they get their hands dirty.