Cycle of a Germinating Seed

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Students will use the ShowMe application to organize information and structure communication regarding the sequence of germination.

Big Idea

Communicating information to others is one of the requirements of scientists. This lesson allows students to organize, create, and share what they have learned thus far.


10 minutes

Today's lesson is an opportunity for students to organize all they have learned and communicate it in a way that others find interesting and valuable. 

For that reason, I will open the lesson with this question, "How and why do scientists share their information to others that might not have any background knowledge?"

During this conversation, I will work to guide the students to understand that sometimes what scientists are studying may be confusing to others.  If this is the case, then the scientist must find ways other than text to "teach" their audience.  Illustrations or videos are good tools. 

To better make this point, I put this website up on the board and only show the article at first. I ask partners to read it with each other.  Then, I ask them what they learned.  I expect many will be confused.  I then will show them the video just after the text.  I will again ask what they learned and why it was easier to understand. 

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

The students in my class have some familiarity with the ShowMe app, which we will use to capture images today. I will walk them through how to use the camera function, drawing tools, and recording tool quickly.  I have included a YouTube training video here for you to watch if this is new for you.  Another piece of advice- I created a username and password that all of my students use when saving. That way, all of their videos are housed in one place and I can then watch them for assessment purposes without having to deal with 25 users!  It is also nice because the students can go into the account and view their peer's work.

After reviewing the tool, I will prompt the students to think about all they have learned about seed germination.  I will also ask them to remember that all of our seeds were put into spouters at the very same time, yet we have all different stages. Here will be a wonderful time to discuss that living things, including humans, develop at different rates and can be affected by their environment.

Next, students will be assigned an iPad with the mission of creating video to teach others about the stages of germination and the importance of each stage and each seed part.  

Active Engagement

30 minutes

As the students begin their photography of the germinating seeds, I will circulate and help them narrow their information, organize their plans, discuss questions, and listen to their conversations.  As I will use these videos as an assessment of current understanding, I will not be teaching mini lessons. 

As I worked with this group, I was able to discuss their plan and listen to them consider vocabulary they needed to use.  I also prompted them to consider putting more into their video as "teaching scientists." I did not require it, however.  They did, in the end, choose to do so.  You can find their final video at the end of this section.  I was able to identify that they didn't notice, or understand the stage of leaves developing by watching this clip.  That will be a quick fix tomorrow!

This group also made the same error in naming the stem, which tells me for sure that I need to help define the true leaf.  I was very pleased at the end of their presentation to see them organize their stages in a "cycle". 

This is the final presentation from the first group in the section.  They did a great job including vocabulary terms, a sequence of stages, and including the fact that the seeds were all started on the same day, but grow at different rates.

Sharing and Closing

5 minutes

As a sharing and closing technique, I let the students know that tomorrow they will each have their own iPads and will watch the other videos. When I do this for the first time, I have the children wear headphones and watch the presentations. 

As we progress during the year in our ability to make constructive comments, I have the students write notes to the authors of the presentations with agreements, disagreements, and helpful suggestions. This is an excellent way to cultivate Science Practice 7: Engaging in argument from evidence.