Engage: The teacher will begin the lesson by asking the students the following questions. (The teacher can create flash cards if desired.)
- What do you know about plants?
- What do plants need to grow?
- Have you ever planted a garden? If so, what kind?
- Have you ever heard of a green thumb or know someone who has a green thumb?
- The teacher should have the students turn and talk in small groups or in pairs as they answer the questions.
- The teacher should walk around the classroom listening intently as the students discuss the questions. During this time, the teacher should assure the students there are no right or wrong answers, however, the class is simply discussing.
- After about 5-7 minutes the teacher should divide the students into groups of four. Tell the students they are going to become gardeners for the next two weeks.
- Provide each group of students with a gardening kit (soil, seeds, water, 2-planters (flat) popsicle sticks, rulers, gloves, goggles).
- Allow the students to plant their seeds into the soil inside of both planters.
- Have the students space out the seeds by having Popsicle sticks, or something to mark where the last seed was placed, and a ruler to measure where the next seed will go.
- Have the students to water both planters, and to label each planter with their names.
- Place one planter in a sunny place. Place the other in a dark closet, drawer, or dark place.
- Water each planter daily with small amounts of water. After the students water their planters, make sure they return them to their proper places.
- As a class create a large t-chart comparing the seeds in each planter for each group.
- Allow the students to use different measurements such as inches, centimeters, and feet to measure the daily growth of their plants.
- Have the students watch each planter’s growth and compare over a five to ten day period.
Ask the students questions such as:
- Why is the plant growing?
- Why aren't the plants growing?
- How are they plants able to grow in the dark?
- Allow the students to write their answers in their science journals.
- The students will continue to work in groups as they are provided reading materials on plants.
- The teacher will need to provide the students with articles, trade books, internet sources, and resources on plants. (see technology resource section)
- The students should begin researching information on plants and gathering the information to create a group book on plants and photosynthesis.
- The teacher will provide the students with a research sheet-http://bit.ly/28LIeLH to guide the students learning as they research information on plants in their small groups. (The research sheet is optional, as teacher may choose to use the research sheet as a guide)
- After the students have completed their research the teacher will bring the students together to discuss the information they have learned. The teacher will reinforce the vocabulary terms: photosynthesis, carbon dioxide, and oxygen with the students.
- Provide each group with the following items: water, two zip bags, a napkin, various seeds, and no soil.
- Label each bag. Bag A - water; Bag B - no water. Place both zip bags in the sun with a napkin and seeds inside of the zip bag, but only water one of the napkins inside of the zip bag.
- Over a period of time have the students observe what will happen (or what won’t happen!) to the seeds inside of the zip bags.
- Have students predict what they think will happen to the different groups of plants inside of the zip bags daily.
- Turn the zip bags from the front to the back to notice if there are any variations.
- Allow the students to create a two-fold t-chart as a graphic organizer to document the information observed over the period of time.
- The students should label one side of the organizer bag "A-water" and the other side of the organizer bag "B-no water."