Hot Lunch SMART-E After School SCEF District


  • Follow us on


BUGS, or Better Understanding of Garden Science, teaches children about life science through gardening and hands-on science activities. Taught by teams of parents, BUGS supplements the classroom science curriculum in a series of monthly lessons built around the new Next Generation Science standards.

Teams of volunteers are needed once a month in every classroom to teach science lessons and grow healthy vegetables in the garden plot. Each year, you will learn how to grow different crop families and can become a real gardening expert by the time your child exits BA. Volunteers can also help BUGS on school cleanup days and tending the garden at any time.

Every month we will be including an update on what is happening in BUGS Garden by grade level.  

For more information on the BUGS program, please contact

Kate Pfaff at or visit

March BUGS Update:
As the weather turns warm, we plant our spring gardens and welcome the sun that makes our plants grow. In science, we welcome live animals and use our engineering skills to test variables and design solutions.
  • Kindergarten and K/1 students will use the power of the sun to make garden quesadillas in a solar oven and build sunshade structures.
  • 1st graders will study snake adaptations with a live specimen and movement exercises.
  • 2nd graders will test what plants need to grow through experiments with water, light, and soil.
  • 3rd graders will study the life cycle of chickens with hands-on egg labs and visits from hens.
  • 4th graders will investigate patterns in nature, focusing on how the Fibonacci sequence in math translates to spiral patterns in pineapples, pine cones, shells, broccoli, and more.
Interested? Contact your classroom BUGS team to join in or find out more. Extra hands are always welcome.
February BUGS Update:  

As our wet, soggy winter begins to lift, BUGS prepares our soil for spring planting and continues our great hands-on science investigations.
  • Kindergarten and K/1 students will work to reduce, reuse, and recycle to help our schoolyard stay clean.
  • 1st grade students will learn how bees care for their young and use dancing to communicate.
  • 2nd grade students will examine seeds up close to learn how they travel.
  • 3rd grade students will demonstrate the water cycle and learn about water purification.
  • 4th grade students will dissect corn kernels and peas to learn how the parts of a seed help the new plant survive.
January BUGS Update:  

Winter is quieter in the garden, and we are grateful for rain. As we clear weeds and care for our soil in preparation for spring, here’s what classes are learning in BUGS:

  • K and K/1 students will learn how birds build nests and make winter bird snacks.
  • 1st graders explore scent communication in plants and animals, from stinky onions to ant pheromones.
  • 2nd graders investigate our rock reference collection and learn the steps of the rock cycle.
  • 3rd graders role play interactions in oak and redwood forests.
  • 4th graders experiment with chromatography to learn why leaves turn orange in the fall.

Work in the native plants garden continues to turn this space into a rich outdoor learning classroom. The recent addition of apple trees, California native grapes, sticky monkey flower, silver lupine, and CA sagebrush will benefit students for years to come.

December BUGS Update:   
Many classes will be enjoying salad harvests this month from their gardens. We welcome the rain as it helps our crops grow strong and tall.
  • Kindergartners and K/1’s will investigate soil composition by digging and examining soils from around the schoolyard.
  • First graders will explore how bats use their special adaptations to identify prey and each other using scent and hearing.
  • Second graders conduct a bird watching expedition to document that number and variety of bird species on campus. Their data will be used to track bird populations as we continue to develop the native plants garden.
  • Third graders study the roles of different animals and plants in the ecosystem and discover interesting local plant species.
  • Fourth graders perform a puppet show to show the interdependent relationships in an oak forest over several hundred years of local land use.


October BUGS Update:  

  • Kindergartners and K/1’s will learn what plants need to grow and explore the natural parts of our schoolyard with their five senses.
  • First graders will learn how crickets use vibration to communicate. They will see sound waves on an oscilloscope and make their own buzzing instruments to test the principle.
  • Second graders will learn about the concept of biodiversity and why diversity in ecosystems, species, and genetics keeps systems strong and adaptable.
  • Third graders will learn the technique of square foot gardening and discover why it is important that plants have room to grow.
  • Fourth graders will make a compost cake and explore a carbon cycle trail in the native plants garden to learn how elements are recycled through Earth’s systems.

Special Thanks to the Fall Clean Up day volunteers who helped clear brush and set up our outdoor classroom space in the Native Plants Garden.

BUGS Collaboration with Art in Action