The Q&A Archives: Educational Information

Question: I am an elementary school teacher that is teaching about plants for the first time. I am looking for resources that I can use for my fifth graders. Can you reccommend activities that would be appropriate for my classroom?

Answer: How exciting! Plants are a great way to teach children about life cycles, the environment, taking responsibility, and so much more!<br><br>National Gardening Association's education department has been working with schools for many years. Their catalog "Teaching Tools to Help Young Minds Grow" is filled with information and resources, including their curriculum "GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds". Visit NGA's website at -- see the "Kids and Classrooms" page (or call 1-800-538-7476). Consider subscribing to "Growing Ideas: A Journal of Garden-Based Learning".<br><br>One interesting activity is to let students explore just what makes up soil. Take some soil (you can use soil from just one source, or bring soil from several different sources to compare.) Have the students spend some time investigating just what makes up soil--have them separate out the components and try to identify each type, keeping a chart or other data recording device. Then, have them take a clean jar, fill it two-thirds with water, and add soil until the jar is almost full. Place the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously. Then let the jar sit until the soil is settled. Have students observe the various layers of soil that result. (This is more fully described in the activity "Soil Sort" from the curriculum guide described above.)<br><br>Good luck with your new adventures!

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