Advanced Preparation: basil starts (1 plant per group of two), small hand shovels, watering can
I gather the students on the carpet and explain to them that we will plant our first crop (basil) in the garden today. They will watch a quick video on how to plant the basil start and then head out to the garden and work in teams of two to plant. Once back in the classroom, they will use their science notebooks to record their information on how to plant starts. This information will be used as notes for their final assessment (see below).
Planting a garden is not part of our districts curriculum but rather a part of our school's culture. Each year every class is given a crop or two to plant in the garden. The garden is tended to throughout the summer and the crops are used in our school lunch. The garden lessons in this unit will tie into their learning of plant needs and will culminate with a "How To" Poster on Gardening
The students gather on the carpet and face the Smart board with their science notebooks. I explain to them the task at hand and show them this quick video.
"You all did a fantastic job of working in the garden yesterday. Who can tell me what we did out there yesterday? Go ahead and look at yesterday's notebook entry before you answer."
I am choosing to review the steps from the previous day to reinforce the steps and to help prepare them for the final assessment (three lessons from this one). By having them review their notebook entries, it will reinforce the idea that they can refer to their notes and also let them decide if their notes are clear enough.
"Since you did such a great job, we can start to plant some of our crops today. The garden committee has asked us to plant basil plants. These plants will be used to make pesto sauce for our school lunches."
I show them the starts.
"We will be planting these starts. Before we do, I would like you to watch the following video. The video will describe to you how we will plant them in the garden today."
I have the students partner up with their science buddy and give each of them a basil plant. I want them to quickly sketch the plant and label the plant parts. I am doing this to connect the learning from the beginning of the unit to today's lesson.
"I would like you to partner up and take one plant per group. You need to set up your science notebook for today's lesson and then create a diagram of your plant. I then want you to label your diagram with the correct plant part names."
Once the students are done, I take them out to the garden. I gather them around the plot that will be used for the basil plants. I want to review what they will be doing and discuss the idea of the whole being twice the diameter of the plant. They will us rulers to figure this out as well as leaving a foot and a half between each plant.
"Let's review the steps that the lady in the video said we needed to follow to plant the basil. What did she mean by double the diameter? How can we figure that out? You will need to use this ruler when you are planting."
I have each team plant their plant and water it.
Most of the students will not know the word or meaning of the word diameter. I draw a circle on the board that has a diameter of 3 inches. I use a ruler to show them that the diameter is 3 inches. I explain to them what diameter means and ask them to figure out how to double the diameter.
The students return to the classroom. Once there, I ask them to take out their science notebooks and have them write about the work they did in the garden. They can use words and pictures to explain their work and the steps that they did today. These entries will serve as reference notes when they write their procedural piece on day 5 (see explanation in the next section).
"I would like you to open up your notebooks for today's entry. Today's focus is 'working in the garden, day 2.' Once your notebook is set up, I would like you to explain what you did today. You can use words and pictures to help explain what you accomplished."
As I stated in the Setting the Stage section of this lesson, This (planting a garden) is not a mandated curriculum by our district. It is a school collaboration that happens on a yearly basis. It becomes a community affair with kids and families taking care of it over the summer.
There is no set assessment required for this mini-unit. So, I use it as an opportunity to assess the students' ability to wrote a procedural piece. At the end of the mini-unit, they will be asked to write a piece that explains the steps in planting and maintaining a garden. I will allow the students to use their notes from their science notebook entries to help support their writing. This assignment will happen on Day 5 of the mini-unit.
On Day 4, I use the results of the plant need experiment to tie in how all of the garden steps help plants get the things they need to survive.