Nearly each day in the fall, Grade 3 teacher Jane McGuinness and a group of interested students spend recess tending Milton’s Lower School garden. Students water plants, harvest crops and explore a garden bursting with pumpkins, watermelons, zucchini, peppers and lettuces. Today’s visit is launched by a book they’ve been reading in class: Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner. The goal is to “catch” the living critters they find and consider why these creatures choose to live there. After Mrs. McGuinness offers instructions for the activity, students grab containers and spread out. The first sighting is a cabbage moth, and Mrs. McGuinness explains what plantings attract the moth. Students discuss bees and their role in the pollination process. The children peer under leaves looking for caterpillars and eggs. They peel ears of corn seeking evidence of worms. A large watermelon is a wonderful surprise, found covered in one overgrown section of the garden. Using a pitchfork, students upend earth, scouring for worms and other crawling insects. Mrs. McGuinness loves watching students make connections in this natural setting—exploring, discovering, asking questions, getting their hands dirty. When recess ends, students gather containers filled with grass, dirt and small creatures and discuss their findings. The children will observe and share their treasures back in the classroom, but now it is time for lunch, featuring salad made from yesterday’s harvest.