Plants and Pollutionby: Eric Brunsell and J. William Hug

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Investigations with Wisconsin Fast Plants can make the subject matter come alive…or dead, depending on the experimental treatment. This became apparent when a university-based teacher educator and a fifth-grade teacher collaborated on a professional development experience aimed at increasing understanding of how science inquiry could be used effectively in diverse classrooms. This professional development experience centered on creating a unit for fifth-grade students as a part of a study of plant and animal cycles. While the unit included numerous activities, this article focuses on the inquiry portion of the study, as students investigated how pollutants might affect plants.

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Reviews (4)
  • on Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:40 PM

I really enjoyed this article because it was insightful and provided a good outline for planning a unit. The article focuses more on the aspect of pollution, but was helpful with some information on plants in general. I am planning for a school garden unit plan and still found this article helpful.


  • on Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:23 PM

This article is powerful for all students especially for fifth graders who are learning about plants and the animal cycle. Many activities, lesson plans are found in this article. It is helpful for me because this allowed me as a teacher to teach about population after my lesson on the part of the plants. The student will be able conduct activities, investigate, analyze and conclude how pollution might be affecting plants.

Diana Flores
Diana Flores

  • on Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:05 PM

This article contains daily specific lessons plans for a 16 day unit in which students test the effect of common pollutants on Wisconsin fast plants. Details concerning student journals and assessments are also included. Plants are a terrific way to generate student interest and Wisconsin fast plants are particularly useful fro developing inquiry projects. You will find this article useful as a guide for incorporating this valuable inquiry experience into your own classroom.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:26 PM

Your different days of unit learning is very considerable.


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