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Interpreting the Evidence

Children with Plants for Memorial Day, 1903

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York City
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Children with Plants for Memorial Day, 1903 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Schoolchildren with plants raised in the classroom for decorating soldiers' graves on Memorial Day, Fairview Garden School, Yonkers, New York, May 1903.
Historical Context
School gardens became popular during the beginning of the twentieth century.  By 1910, there were approximately 80,000 school gardens in the United States in twenty-one states, including New York.  Some school gardens were built on rooftops, which offered additional and needed space.  The school gardens were part of “hands-on” learning and could be connected to real-life experience and learning.  Students were able to study and interact with nature and increase their respect for it.
Essential Question
How does culture influence a society's education system?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and identify key characteristics of the American education system during this time period.
Historical Challenges
Research what the students did with their produce and flowers.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Research the types of plants that were grown in rooftop gardens. How could plants be grown on the rooftops of buildings? Are rooftops still being used for that purpose today?