The Radish Partyby: Jeff Piotrowski, Tammy Mildenstein, Kathy Dungan, and Carol Brewer

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

The Radish Party inquiry is designed to teach the importance and relevance of soil organic matter to young students. In this investigation, students grow radishes in three different kinds of soils: sand, sand plus nutrients, and potting soil (soil that includes organic matter). The experience described here was conducted with first- and second-grade students, but the investigation can be adapted for students at other grade levels as well.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:18 PM

This article introduces an excellent inquiry-based science lesson that engages students in studying soil while growing radishes. In this standards-based activity, students explore the relationship between soil composition and plant growth. Additionally, students record their results in journals and discuss their predictions and results in groups. This is an excellent inquiry-based lesson with fantastic cross-curricular ties. I look forward to try this with my students soon!

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:27 PM

This article was written for 1st & 2nd grade students, however it can be modified for other grade levels. In this investigation, students grow radishes in three different kinds of soils.The Radish Party inquiry, is designed to teach the importance and relevance of soil. One key idea gained from this activity is that soil comes from both the weathering of rocks (an inorganic portion) and the decomposition of plants and animals (an organic portion). The author initiates discussion with a set of grade-appropriate questions. Another key idea this article helps develop is for students to understand that plants get their nutrients and water from the soil. Students predict, observe/measure, draw their observations, and at the end of the activity, the students analyze their data, and see if their results matched their original prediction. Students are then asked to compare and contrast the various plants grown in the different types of soil. This activity is easy to implement, inexpensive, and can be modified in many different ways to accommodate all the diverse students within the classroom.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

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