From Seed to Seed:
Plant Science for K-8 Educators

 

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B. Curriculum Activities

Throughout the course, we provide student-centered, experiential activities to support students' grasp of certain plant concepts. We hope that you will use these activities to spark student interest in science and plants, modifying and expanding them as you become more comfortable with the material. Please share your experiences, new ideas, and modifications dave@garden.org with us so we can enlighten other teachers with your stories.

Each activity links to the science, geography, health, history, language arts, and mathematics national standards being addressed. The standards that are addressed in this course-as a whole-are outlined and described in section II. National Standards. At the top of each individual activity is a "National Standards" section, which lists the standards that are addressed in that particular activity. As described in the next section, by clicking on a specific national standard within this list, you will be returned to the complete description of that standard in section II.


The activities are categorized into two age groups: K-4 and 5-8. These classifications correspond to those used in the National Science Education Standards. Activities designated K-8 are appropriate for all grades and include suggestions for making the activities more challenging for older students. By clicking on the ACTIVITY buttons throughout the course, you can access the activity that corresponds to the subject matter being presented.

Each activity begins with a section titled "Planting the Seed." This section includes probing questions intended to encourage students to share their ideas and reveal their preconceptions so you can better focus the activity. These questions-and any others that we suggest you ask your students-are in italics. The National Science Education Standards (www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/) emphasize that "from the earliest grades, students should experience science in a form that engages them in the active construction of ideas and explanations and enhances their opportunities to develop the abilities of doing science." Many of the activities presented in this course are designed to encourage this teaching of science as inquiry. Following the National Science Education Standards, the activities encourage students to "begin with a question, design an investigation, gather evidence, formulate an answer to the original question, and communicate the investigative process and results." To help you guide the investigative process, we have included "Teacher Information," "Necessary Materials," and "Procedure" sections. Although many of the activities present step-by-step procedures, the intent is for students, whenever appropriate, to design their own investigations. Each activity ends with "Harvesting the Crop." Here, we provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge by applying it to new or expanded situations.

The activities were designed using Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. As a result, these activities prize all of the abilities that a learner possesses. Through the activities, students will be encouraged to further develop their 1) reading and writing skills through conducting library/computer research, keeping a journal, and making presentations (linguistic intelligence); 2) motor skills through gardening and cooking activities (bodily/kinesthetic intelligence); 3) mathematical and logical thinking skills by measuring/charting plant growth and designing practical experiments (logical/mathematical intelligence); 4) artistic capabilities by drawing and building models of plants (spatial/visual intelligence); 5) ability to work together (interpersonal intelligence); and 6) ability to observe, understand, and organize the characteristics of and patterns in the natural environment (naturalist intelligence).

 

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