Lesson 6: A Friendly Garden

In this lesson, students will begin to understand that some insects are helpful in a garden, and others are harmful. They will also continue to explore companion planting, by designing a garden and adding companion plants to attract helpful insects and keep pests away.

Lesson 6 Intro

This lesson is featured in our printed resource; Book 2: Growing and Learning with 5+ A Day, Levels 2 & 3.

Order the print version here or download here to print yourself.

Learning Intentions

Lesson 6 Li

Students will:

  • discuss the natural ways of preventing pests such as companion planting
  • Identify plants that grow well together and plants to keep apart
  • identify helpful garden creatures.

Possible Achievement Objectives

Health and Physical Education: Level 2


Students will:

  • explore how people’s attitudes, values, and actions contribute to healthy physical and social environments.

Science: Level 2


Students will:

  • explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.


Students will:

  • use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them
  • explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions.


What You Need

  • eBook: Fredge’s Pest Problem
  • Photo Card: Pests/Kirearea (from Lesson 5)
  • Fact File: Good companions/Hoa pai (from Lesson 5)
  • Fact FileBest friends/Tino hoa
  • Resource SheetDesign a friendly garden/Whakahoahoa he māra tautaiao

Additional Resources

Key Vocabulary

These words are important to this lesson, and can be defined and explored in context as you discuss the topic with your students. A number of content words are provided in English and Māori. Introduce terms in both languages as appropriate.

worm castings/paranoke: the waste from worms

nutrients/taiora: chemicals or minerals in the soil that plants take in through their roots and use as food

pests/kirearea: insects, bugs, or other animals that eat or damage the leaves, roots, or fruit of plants

sap/pia: the fluid that flows through a plant; like blood flows through a human body

Learning Opportunity

This lesson follows on from Lesson 5. Students will design a garden and identify and add companion plants to keep pests away.

The Lesson

eBook: Fredge’s Pest Problem

Begin the lesson by revisiting the eBook Fredge’s Pest Problem (click on the cover of the eBook)There is audio for this story that you can use, or students can take turns to read the text. The eBook focuses on using companion planting when growing vegetables in order to prevent pests. For information on using 5+ A Day eBooks, click here.

There are two interactive activities that follow the eBook. They work on a computer, a tablet, or an IWB. They can be used during or at the end of the lesson or in choosing time to reinforce key information from the story. Students will get the most from these activities if you model them first and explain the actions required and the aims of the activity. Then students can do them independently or in pairs.

For Activity 5, help keep pests away from Fredge’s cabbages by dragging the correct companion plants into the garden. If you try to drag an incorrect plant into the garden, a butterfly will fly down to the garden. Drag the bird seeds into the bird feeder in the tree to attract the bird into the garden. For Activity 6, drag the helpful creatures into the garden.

With the students, discuss Fredge’s pest problem and how it was resolved.

  • What was Fredge’s problem? (Aphids were eating his tomato plants.)/He aha te raru a Fredge? (Kua kainga āna tomatō e ngā ngaro ngongo.)
  • How did Fredge solve this problem? (Mrs Paku told him about companion planting, so he decided to plant some marigolds next to his tomato plants.)

Photo Card: Pests

Next, show the students the Photo Card: Pests/Kirearea (click on the image to enlarge, download, and print) from Lesson 5, and remind them of the damage pests can do to vegetable and fruit plants. Discuss again the main purpose of companion planting. (Planting good neighbouring plants will attract helpful insects and deter harmful insects, so plants grow well.)

Fact File: Good companions

Revisit the Fact File: Good companions/Hoa pai (click on the image to enlarge, download, and print) from Lesson 5, and discuss with the students the plants that make good companions. They can then work in pairs to write a definition of companion planting and why it’s useful for growing healthy vegetables and fruit. Review their definitions and then display them on the classroom wall.

Tell the students that they’ve talked a lot about pests that are bad for the garden, but what about helpful creatures that are good for the garden?

  • Ladybirds are good for the garden. They eat pests like aphids and caterpillars.
  • Ground beetles are good because they eat pests such as slugs.
  • What about earthworms?/Ka pēwhea ngā noke? Do you think they are helpful or harmful?

Encourage the students to give their ideas, then say,

  • Let’s find out./Me rapu whakautu tātou.

Fact File: Best friends/Tino hoa

Share the Fact File: Best friends/Tino hoa (click on the image to enlarge, download, and print) with the students.

Next, revisit the eBook Fredge’s Pest Problem and have the students play Activity 6 Helpful or Harmful? They need to drag the helpful insects into the garden. They can do this independently or in pairs.

Resource Sheet: Design a friendly garden

Now, tell the students that they are going to design a vegetable garden. Using Resource Sheet: Design a friendly garden/Whakahoahoa he māra tautaiao (click on the image to enlarge, download, and print), the students can work independently to create a companion planted garden. They need to decide which vegetables they would like to plant (tomatoes or beans). Then, using the information from the fact file in Lesson 5 (Good companions/Hoa pai), they can identify good companion plants. The students can draw or label the plants and its companions. They also need to think about the creatures that these plants might attract such as ladybirds, ground beetles, or birds.

Reflect on the Learning

With the students, review the friendly gardens they designed.

  • Would you plant a garden using companion planting? Why/why not?

Reflect on the learning outcomes for the lesson. Allow the students to talk about and share ideas that are still unclear. This is also a time to reflect on the learning and to signal the focus for the next lesson, where students will learn about composting, which helps create healthy soil for growing fruit and vegetables.