Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines Do Plants Need Soil? - Section 4: Reflect & Apply


About three weeks later, students take the time to observe, discuss, and write about their findings during this investigation. First, we discuss each of the investigations set up today: 

Plants in Jars With & Without Light, Air, and or Water 
Surprisingly, there wasn't too much of a change between all of the plants in the jars. (I wonder if it would have worked better to use potted plants.) A the same time, there was a noticeable difference between the plant that had everything and the plants that were lacking in something. For example, the plant without water had a few dried up leaves that had fallen off and the plant without light had one very yellow leaf. The plant without air was unchanged. We discuss how difficult it is to remove ALL of the air using a baggie and tape. 


The celery plant took off! Here's a picture: Celery (After 3 Weeks). This was very powerful (and memorable) for students to observe. One student notices that so mold also formed at the base of the celery plant. I love how he points out, "Maybe the mold, which is a decomposer, is returning nutrients to the water so that the celery plant can grow healthier!"

Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potatoes still haven't sprouted, however, many potatoes are beginning to develop little root systems: Sweet Potato (After 3 Weeks). This shows that the sweet potatoes are growing... we're just not quite sure if they'll eventually sprout or not!  

Indian Corn

Students spend most of their time observing the indian corn by completing Observation Notes. Here are a couple student examples: Student A Observations and Student B Observations. As a side note, this was a pretty stinky project! Here are a few examples of what the corn looked like after three weeks. The addition of a multivitamin to some corn bags didn't seem to make a difference. Instead, the amount of water changed everything! If there was too much or too little, the corn didn't sprout.


Final Paragraphs

To link these investigations back up with NGSS Standard 5-LS1-1 (Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water) the students discuss how plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. We also talk about the importance of nutrient rich soil as the nutrients in soil are transported by water to plants. 

I then ask each student to summarize their findings by writing a paragraph, starting with the main idea sentence: Plants get the materials they need for growth mostly from the air and from the water. Here are a couple examples of student paragraphs: 


I am reminded of the importance of returning to investigations to make sure students have the opportunity to make observations and to think about how this observations can help them make sense of the world!  

  Writing Across the Disciplines: Three Weeks Later...
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Do Plants Need Soil?

Unit 2: Ecosystems
Lesson 14 of 28

Objective: SWBAT explain how plants get what they need to grow.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students will be investigating whether or not plants can grow without soil by watching a video on hydroponics gardening and completing three simple investigations.

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30 teachers like this lesson
Science, global warming, abiotic factors, ecosystem, plant, plant needs, hydroponics, investigation, decomposition, biotic
  70 minutes
sweet potatoes in jars
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