The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from  Hunger to Having Enough

Lesson Summary

María’s family are Honduran farmers, growing barely enough to eat. When they have a poor rainy season and little growth, her and her family have to eat the seeds they need to plant in the spring. They face some tough decisions. They can either borrow seeds from the coyote who wants to be repaid three times what he lends and will take their land if the debt isn’t paid, or her father must leave to find work in the highlands, in order to get more seeds. While her father is away for work, a new teacher comes to town and shows María sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. One of those practices is creating healthy soil through composting.

Using the Engineering Design Process, students will design and build a container for composting, so Maria and her neighbors can join in on sustainable farming. The model compost container should have at least 2-bins, be a right rectangular prism, be able to hold at least 4 cups of soil* and take up an area on the ground no larger than 30 sq in (since land space is limited.)

Note: The amount of soil and required area can be adjusted.

STE or Math Standards

  • STE: Technology/Engineering

    6.MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution. Include potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.*

    Math: Expressions and Equations 6.EE

    1. Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
    2. Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in real-world problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole-number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order (Order of Operations).

    For example, use the formulas V = s3 and A = 6s2 to find the volume and surface area of a cube with sides of length s = ½ .

ELA Standards

  • Grade 6 Speaking and Listening Standards [SL]

    Comprehension and Collaboration

    1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough