Elementary Science

Environmental Science

My fourth graders will begin working on a classroom garden. I hope to incorporate life, environmental, and health science into this unit. We are currently working on investigations on what soil will be best for the vegetables we wish to grow here in Hawaii. I hope to include ideas of sustainable farming and eating local in this unit, both for the good of the environment and for our general health. Any ideas and/or resources that would tie these concepts together would be greatly appreciated!

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

I found an article in my library that I think may be of help to you. I have attached it. Good luck with your unit.

Attachments

Second-Grade Soil Scientists (Journal Article)

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48550 Activity Points

Thanks Betty, I like this article and yes, it will help! Paula

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

Paula, I searched the Learning Center and thought these two articles may be of some help to you. Let me try to attach them again. Kathy

Kathy Sparrow
Kathy Sparrow
47040 Activity Points

Paula, I searched the Learning Center and my library. I thought these articles may be of some help to you. Sorry, Paula, there's a glitch in the LC right now. Here are the titles of the articles. From Garden to Table, by Hillary Rubenstein, et. al. Thought for Food: Students learn science with healthy eating by Kay Berglund Farm to Table and Beyond: Helping Students Make Sense of the Global Food System, by Pamela Koch, et. al. Kathy

Kathy Sparrow
Kathy Sparrow
47040 Activity Points

Hi Kathy, Thanks, I will check these articles out...they sound perfect for what I'm thinking of doing with the kids! Paula

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

Hi Paula - Good luck with your project - it sounds wonderful!

The September issue of Science & Children features articles about health and nutrition. I attended a great session at the NSTA Conference titled "The Little Things" about testing schoolyard soil for microbes and they posted a website. Session materials are .

There are discussions going on in the general science & teaching forum "School Gardens" and another in Life Science "How Does Your Garden Grow?". One of the people in the chat, Randolph Florendo is from Hawaii too!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Hi Paula, What a great idea! I've attached an article that details a project where students grow tulips and then input the data about their garden onto a website. What I really liked about this project was that my students not only learned about the plant life cycle, but we since we compared our tulips to students in other states and countries we could also talk about geography, climates, etc. I'm not sure if tulips will grow in Hawaii, but maybe you can "trick" the bulbs by putting them in the fridge? Good luck with everything! Maureen

Attachments

Tracking Through the Tulips (Journal Article)

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Hi Paula,

What a great idea! Here's a link to an article that details a project where students grow tulips and then input the data about their garden onto a website. What I really liked about this project was that my students not only learned about the plant life cycle, but we since we compared our tulips to students in other states and countries we could also talk about geography, climates, etc. I'm not sure if tulips will grow in Hawaii, but maybe you can "trick" the bulbs by putting them in the fridge?

Good luck with everything!

Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Paula and Maureen -

I love the Journey North Tulip Garden project. The link to this free resource is: learner.org/jnorth/

Kathy Renfrew recently posted a mobile app version for ipads and iphones too which is great for learning out in the garden!

Participation is free, but you do need to sign up by the deadline and you need to plant Red Emporer Tulips. I have a small test garden and I've used this website for years to purchase just enough bulbs since my local garden store doesn't ever carry them.

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Wow, I am going to use these resources for sure. I have started the process but definitely need the background info/articles and resources for kids as this is the first time I've had a ready-made garden plot just waiting to be used at school! I totally appreciate all of your input! Paula

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

Hi Paula, Awesome. We did this experiment with my 4th graders last year at Makaha Elementary School. The students researched and experimented using beans (it grew the fastest) to determine which type of soil would beans grow best in. The three types of soil they used were: 1 (dirt/soil from the Makaha Ahupua'a, Sand from the beach, and compost from the store) The findings were very interesting as the students wanted to find out about the land and its usage. Their connections they made about farming were connected to land development and the dependency Hawaii has on imported produce. Students collected data with the IPADs and ITOUCHs, recording, photographing and documenting on a weekly basis for 3 months. The findings were then presented at a farm open house in Makaha (next to the school - Hoa Aina O Makaha) with student made brochures, drawings of land usage and audio and video presentations on the IPAD's for visitors. Happy to share more about the process.

Eugene Pascual
Eugene Pascual
1075 Activity Points

Aloha! I also did something very similar, except we planted Naupaka using 2 different types of soil: 1) store bought. 2) Soil by the beach. I had the kids use magnifying glass to observe the difference between the two soils and record their observation. They measured and continued to log their observations. At the end, they were able to figure out which one was the best because of the amount of mineral it contained. I also used this to scaffold the scientific method at the beginning of the school year.

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

The entire Kindergarten grade level at my school always does their planting unit in April. We use the planting as experiments, usually using herbs and beans because they tend to have the most success. Each student plants their individual plant and takes care of it while tracking it's growth. When the unit is over, the students are always so excited because they know there was a reason why they were taking such good care of their plants - each student takes home the plant they grew as a present for their mom for Mother's Day. The students are always so proud of themselves and the mom's adore their gift.

Arleen Bourcier
Arleen Bourcier
1570 Activity Points

The first grade students at my school plant flowers called "Brassica." It is a plant that grows fast so the students are able to see the complete plant life cycle. The students enjoy seeing new seed pods grow. I like all of the ideas posted on this forum about using different soils and comparing the plants. I want to try using store bought soil, dirt with added compost and sand for an inquiry project with my students. I've also tried to keep plants under a light and in the closet for the students to see that it is important for plants to have a light source.

Erica Kawamura
Erica Kawamura
1500 Activity Points

Yes! I love this thread! I have a very ugly (LOL) patch of dirt in front of my classroom that is calling my name. However, I have an awful green thumb. Any thoughts for easy to grow/manage/pretty plants that will survive well in a tropical climate? Maybe something that produces something that we could see or use? Would love to include this in an earth science unit for the kids. Maybe including them would help to keep them alive?

Kellee Kelly
Kellee Kelly
7800 Activity Points

I took one class last Spring and this website has a wealth of information. I like the idea of planting seeds in 3 mediums(dirt outside, sand and soil from a store). I will extend a lesson in my plant unit to include the different mediums. I always put a seed in the closet so they are able to see what happens with no light. I also like the idea of planting tulips outside in my small garden area and notate what happens. Hopefully one of the tulips will grow in Hawaii, if not, that will be a discussion as to why the tulip did not grow. It will also give us data to discuss. Thank you for the great ideas!

Patricia Reid
Patricia Reid
1850 Activity Points

I took one class last Spring and this website has a wealth of information. I like the idea of planting seeds in 3 mediums(dirt outside, sand and soil from a store). I will extend a lesson in my plant unit to include the different mediums. I always put a seed in the closet so they are able to see what happens with no light. I also like the idea of planting tulips outside in my small garden area and notate what happens. Hopefully one of the tulips will grow in Hawaii, if not, that will be a discussion as to why the tulip did not grow. It will also give us data to discuss. Thank you for the great ideas!

Patricia Reid
Patricia Reid
1850 Activity Points

I don't know if this will help, or if it is even allowed on your campus, but at our school, we can ask our custodians for permission to plant plants in different areas on campus. I'm planning on placing different types of plants in different locations and students will keep journals on their plants. For example, our watermelon plant will be in an area where it will get shade in the morning and it will be in a wet area where the sprinklers are located on the slope of a hill. Our hot Hawaiian chili peppers will be in our garden box where they will get a lot of sun. We will also have some hydroponic vines in class. One of our 5th grade science standards is to help students understand variables. This will be a complex project, but with student groups observing plants in different areas, we should have some good information to discuss variables needed for successful growth of each plant. There is also a great interactive videos on Discovery Education adjusting variables for successful tomato growth. Is there anything like that on a link through NSTA? I would like to use it if it exists.

Joy Agard
Joy Agard
2190 Activity Points

Kellee -

I can't begin to imagine the joys and differences between planting in New York and your school yard but I will pass on a resource that I have had really good luck with: our local master gardener program has ben terrific for help information, even volunteers. Here is a link I found by you for Master Gardeners

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Thanks! There are a ton of resources on this thread that will really help! The kids would really enjoy doing something like this.

Kellee Kelly
Kellee Kelly
7800 Activity Points

Wow! Reading about all these available resources has got me motivated to start my own garden. However I don't have my own plot on campus. Any ideas as too how I can start? What materials do I need? My classroom is on the second floor.

Janice Eala
Janice Eala
1565 Activity Points

It is amazing how much you can do with planting. It is always great to integrate planting with technology and math. Students get to observe and apply the scientific method, which includes graphs, measurement, table, charts, using a balance, and a microscope to observe the different types of soil. I always begin the school year with planting to scaffold the scientific method. This seems to ignite their interest and curiosity as they also begin to apply what they learn in math and make meaningful connections between science and math. I think to tie the concept of which plant will do best in what climate; it might be beneficial to have students explore climate patterns. This interactive activity can be located in "Ocean's Effect on Weather & Climate" SciPack. This activity, "NSTA Science Interactive: Climate Zones", allows students to explore Earth's different climate zones. Students are to click on any place on the map and it describes what the climate is like in that particular area on the map. Based on that information, students can predict what kind of plant would be suitable in the area.

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

I would like to thank all who responded with the great resources for beginning our classroom garden. It's going really well. We are charting growth and doing investigations on incorporating a second garden portion to the garden. Next, I am thinking of doing a lesson on the path of foods, from the farm to the plate. There are some nice online resources I've found, but I'm also looking for movie clips, videos, and books/articles to use for this lesson. If anyone has any ideas, that would be great!

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

Here's some tips from the American Community Gardening Association about how to start a community garden with students. An extension might be to include a worm composting unit. The book Worms Eat My Garbage is an excellent resource.

Patty McGinnis
Patricia McGinnis
25580 Activity Points

I have just started to use Discovery Education to find videos to show to my students. I came across a video, "How Plants Are Useful To People" on the following website: http://app.discoveryeducation.com/core:player/view/assetGuid/F327F0AB-94FA-492C-8475-964C3226C63E A book that you might consider reading to your students about composting is, "Garden Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story" by Linda Glaser. Another book which shows the process of how rice is harvested is called, "The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper" by Richard Sobol.

Erica Kawamura
Erica Kawamura
1500 Activity Points

To promote environmentally friendly cleaning products, I had the kids clean some of their desks with Clorox wipes and others with lime and water. They then got to observe which product cleaned best using their senses (smell, touch, and see). Then they compared between the two products. After the fall break, I will have them write their opinion and support it by two reasons. Next, they will draw a picture of what their green product will look like, and try to persuade school community to consider “green” alternative cleaning solutions. It was interesting to see student’s reaction today, the classroom smelled fresh and clean. I am attaching the Lesson Plan that inspired me from one of the SciPacks.

Attachments

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

Thank you Shahinaz for your post. I LOVE the idea of using green products and I think its great that you not only brought green cleaning into the classroom, but you provided your students with an opportunity to compare two different cleaners, one "green" and one not. I think its important to expose our students to different types of natural alternatives as well as make them aware of the harmful effects that some of the things that are common to them have to the environment. I intend to use a variation of the lesson you provided in my classroom. Thank you so much for sharing!

Shanae Hatchell
Shanae Hatchell
5820 Activity Points

As we are about to begin our unit on the ecosystem, I am still searching for ideas on how to bring this concept to Hawaii. I am thinking of having students tie in the food chain with coral reefs and have them search using various websites to identify the importance of coral reefs to the ecosystem. I would also like them to learn how humans impact the coral reef ecosystem. I intend to have them form their own food webs using yarn. I did this activity last year, and it helped them understand the concept. I noticed that it is important to incorporate hands on activities in my lessons as it helps students internalize what they learn. I also intend to incorporate art as my students love to draw. Any other suggestions will be appreciated!

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

Aloha Shahinaz, I love the idea of green cleaning products and appreciate the lesson plan you attached. How is it going so far? Our classroom garden is thriving, and the kids are enjoying watching this process. Next, I would like to have them read various articles on pollution, choose a topic (air, water, land), research local issues in Hawaii, then write a persuasive essay for an audience of their choosing on how to help with these problems here on the islands. Have you come across any resources that compile "kid-friendly" ecology articles? I am trying to get a data base together to make the initial readings a bit easier for them. Any references would be appreciated. Thanks for the great ideas!

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

Aloha Paula, We are still in the process of reading an article about pollution and recycling. I am incorporating LA standards such as text features, vocabulary, and cause and effect. At the same time, some students are trying to invent their own green cleaning product at home. Students are excited and beginning to understand what green means and the importance of recycling. It is a long process, but I think it is worth it as students are able to connect to real life situations. It also helps promote responsible citizens who care about the environment especially after being educated on the harms it, which in turn affects the life of every human being. I will keep you posted!

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

@Shahinaz, I love it, thanks for sharing! My unit is going well. Students are researching ways they can help with their chosen problems here in Hawaii. I had them focus on local issues as a starting point so they can expand to planetary issues later. I am also taking the Science in Movies course through NSTA and used clips from Fern Gully: the Last Rainforest in the class as well as clips from the Lorax. For Fern Gully, we did a comparison and contrast with the book Beyond Ohia Valley, which looks at local issues such as invasive animals to our native rainforests on the island. Students then chose an issue to research and that is where we are now. I will use the real life examples of creating their own green products, I really like that idea for this grade level. Thanks for sharing! Paula

Paula Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2640 Activity Points

As we are approaching our 4th grade Science HSA, I am trying to focus on 4th grade science standards. One of the standards focuses on how technology affect our environment. So I am trying to integrate science into language art, writing, and art, and at the same time cover more than one science standard. I thought of tying in technology with how it affects the ecosystem would be a great idea. I am also focusing on coral reefs since they are a big part of Hawaii. To build background knowledge, I am using Harcourt story “Mimicry and Camouflage” to explain the ecosystem. I just feel overwhelmed and the need to cover so many standards in such a very short time. I am attaching a lesson plan on coral reefs for any who may be interested.

Attachments

Shahinaz Nassar
Shahinaz Nassar
2320 Activity Points

Since this thread started with soil science I will post my collection of resources for others to use. The thread by have diverged but perhaps there is still interest.


Soil Science Collection
(14 items)
NASA soil Science Educators Page
     -User Uploaded Resource
Soil Science Society of America
     -User Uploaded Resource
Soil Science (Fertilizer)
     -User Uploaded Resource

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68535 Activity Points

Shahinaz, Thank you for your post! I am still currently in school and I do my internship next semester, but I really love the lesson you attached! I think it is so important to teach students about green ideas and alternatives. This is the perfect lesson to get students thinking about alternative methods to items they may use in their everyday lives. I really would love to incorporate a lesson like this in my classroom one day.

Alyssa Foligno
Alyssa Foligno
2795 Activity Points

I think it will be helpful to build a garden for a specific purpose. For an example, the rain garden absorbs urban rain water runoff. Depending on the kind of environment your school is surrounded in, you can build a garden that supports it.

Angela Cho
Angela Cho
1350 Activity Points

I think it is great you are starting a garden. A lot of community gardens where I live, in Illinois donate a portion of the crops to local food pantries. I have been using the Burpee app on my ipad for a guide to help me plant. On the app, you can enter your zip code and the app will tell you how to plant different vegetables based on your location. I looked online and Burpee's website is different however, they provide a page for educators with various lesson plans. http://www.burpeehomegardens.com/ICanGrow/_ICanGrowCurriculum.aspx Hope this helps!

Ashley Behringer
Ashley Behringer
425 Activity Points

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