Advanced Preparation: Kale seeds, pumpkin seeds, or seeds of your choice, small hand shovels, watering can, rulers, popsicle sticks
I gather the students on the carpet and show them a quick video on how to plant a seed. We will then head out to the garden and work in two teams to plant our seeds. Once back in the classroom, they will use their science notebooks to record their information on how to plant seeds. This information will be used as notes for their final assessment (see below). I finish the lesson by reading the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.
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
I gather the students on the carpet and show the video about planting a seed.. I am choosing to use this video to set the stage for today's focus. The video does a great job of modeling the seed to plant process.
"I want to start today's lesson by watching a video. Once it is done, I will go over what our focus for today will be."
I show the video to the class. I find that my group this year responds well to videos. I use them as a hook for most of my science lessons.
"Today, we will head out to the garden to plant our other two crops. We will be planting kale and pumpkins. Unlike yesterday, when we used small plants, we will be planting these crops with seeds."
I have the students make a circle on the carpet and hand out their science notebooks.
"I want you to set up your science notebook for today's entry. The focus is Planting A Garden: Seeds."
"Before we head out, I am going to break you up into two teams. One team will be in charge of planting pumpkin seeds and the other will be in charge of planting Kale seeds."
In order to give each student a chance to plant, I am splitting them into two teams.
"Now that you are in your teams, I want to give you some information about your seeds. If you are planting a pumpkin, you will dig a hole with your finger that is 1/2 inch deep. You will place 3 seeds in the hole and then lightly cover it with soil. I want you to put a popsicle stick int he ground next to your seed. The next person will measure two feet from that seed and plant three more seeds."
"The kale group will also dig a 1/2 inch hole. However, you will place two seeds in the whole and loosely cover them with soil. You will also put in a popsicle stick and the next person will plant their seeds 12 inches from the popsicle stick."
"I want you to write down the planting information for your seed in your notebook. This way you will know what to do when you get out there."
The students then head out and plant. I will encourage the students to work together to use the rulers to correctly space the seeds. I will put 18 inches between each row of seeds but will help them with that part.
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 and continue to write in today's entry. I would like you to explain what you did today. You can use words and pictures to help explain what you accomplished."
To reinforce today's concept of planting seeds, I will read Eric Carle's book The Tiny Seed. I am choosing to use this book because it reviews the basic concept of a seed being planted and growing into a plant.
As I am reading, I ask questions about the steps that the child is doing in the book. I want them to identify the planting, weeding, and watering of the seed/plant.
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. Today, I will be looking for entries that outline the steps o planting seeds and the reason they need soil, water, and sun.