Garden-Based Learning: It's Just the Berries! Indoor and outdoor experiences engage students in plant science.

Contributor: James Rye, Sarah Rummel, Melissa Forinash, Alan Minor, and H.R. Scott

Type Category: Instructional Materials

Types: Activity, Article, Experiment/Lab Activity

Note: This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Description

This article discusses how students were engaged in a year-long project that integrated science, mathematics, and literacy. Utilizing a project-based learning (PBL) format entitled garden-based learning (GBL) students participated in open-ended questions, data collection, engineering, literature connections, and authentic gardening experiences with volunteers, teachers, and local university science education faculty members to determine the best way to grow strawberries indoors.

Intended Audience
Educator

Educational Level
Early Elementary

Language
English

Access Restrictions
Available by subscription - The right to view and/or download material, often for a set period of time, by way of a financial agreement between rights holders and authorized users.

Performance Expectation

2-LS2-1  Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.

Clarification Statement:

none

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment is limited to testing one variable at a time.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation

Students with their teachers support completed an investigation that allowed them to answer the question, "How best do we produce and care for strawberries all year long?"

Performance Expectation

K-2-ETS1-1  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Clarification Statement:

none

Assessment Boundary:

none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation

Students engaged in an extended investigation about how strawberries can be raised all year long. The driving question was the following: "How best do we produce and care for strawberries all year long?"

Science and Engineering Practice

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice

Students asked questions about the growth on strawberries from bare roots and identify problems based on the variables involved in the process.

Disciplinary Core Idea

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea

In the article teachers utilized strawberry and gourd seeds but the gourd seeds were not easy to germinate. When reading this article please note the strawberry activity was completed in the second grade classroom and the fourth graders completed the gourd seeds. The focus was on designing an indoor garden bed more so than focusing on plants needing water and light to grow. I would suggest that teachers use different variables for each plant. Perhaps have one plant have more or less water or another plant have more or less light to determine what plants need to grow. This could even limit the amount of exposure of the growth light. Other variables come into place when students are placing strawberry plants outside during the winter month. It's possible to have a discussion regarding less sunlight during the winter month then discuss how grow lights are helpful.

Disciplinary Core Idea

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea

Students learn about artificial lighting and assist in constructing an environment for raising strawberries indoors during the winter.

Crosscutting Concept

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept

Students learned how natural and designed objects work together to provide an ideal watering system for plants.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson addresses all three dimensions of learning as defined by the NGSS. This lesson meets the performance expectation for first grade, disciplinary core idea, and K-2 engineering design by having students investigate how strawberries can be raised all year long.
  • Instructional Supports: The resource includes a figure of a graphic organizer that students utilized to predict strawberries growth. It would have been helpful to include this graphic organizer on the NSTA Connections page; however, teachers can easily recreate this sheet.
  • Monitoring Student Progress: Students created a caretaker's guide for the strawberries based on observations they collected, but the figure is so small it is hard to determine what the student's expectations are for completing this guide. To monitor students' progress a teacher can create a rubric or template for students to journal and write about their experience. Another resource to use with this unit can be accessed using the following link: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool/connections/201504FAP-NoMorePlants.pdf This resource can be used as both a pre and post-assessment.
  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource did not contain any technology integration. To integrate technology, teachers can use digital notebooking or blog about this experience with their students by taking pictures and writing summaries of their experience.