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Investigating Plants


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Keywords: plants, SCIENCE, photography
Subject(s): Science
Grades 1 through 2
School: Highland Elementary School, Cheshire, CT
Planned By: Erica Bordonaro
Original Author: Erica Bordonaro, Cheshire

In a previous lesson, students have completed a KWL chart that includes their previous knowledge of plants and questions they want answered. They will fill in what they have learned throughout the course of this lesson/unit.

1.) To initiate this lesson, ask students to share their previous knowledge about plants. Have them discuss types of plants they have seen and where they have seen them. Explain that today, students will study plants in their surrounding environment in order to learn more about them. Explain that they will have to think about the following questions as they investigate: What do all plants have in common? How are plants different?

2.) Tell students that the class will go outdoors to look for different types of plants. Discuss safety issues and rules such as no touching the plants and staying with the class. Place students in groups of three or four and demonstrate how they will use a digital camera to take close up photographs of different types of plants. Remind them that their photographs will later be used in a class discussion.

3.) Give students time to capture photographs in the outdoor nature center behind the school. (A nearby playground or garden can be used if your school does not have an outdoor nature center.)

4.) After enough photographs have been taken, load them onto a computer to be shown on a SMART Board. Display exemplary photographs on the SMART Notebook and have students discuss what is similar about all of the plants. Have volunteers circle the similarities with the digital pen. Label them accordingly and discuss how these parts help the plant. Repeat this procedure for the differences among the plants.

5.) Ask students to think about why there are so many different types of plants in one area and how they may have gotten there. Tell students they will discuss these questions in the next lesson. Save the pictures and print the ones displayed in class to be used in a follow-up assessment.
Comments
Using the photographs that students took of the actual plants in their surrounding environment will create a more meaningful and real-life experience.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The photographs can be used as a writing prompt in which students can imagine how the plants came to be. Students can read non-fiction texts about plants to further learn about plant parts and habitats.
Follow-Up
Have students compare two or more of the plant photographs by drawing a circle around the parts that are similar and a check mark near parts that are different. Have them write what they learned under the photographs.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Wildlife, Digital SLR, Mobile Labs, Camera Bags, xD Memory Cards, Flash/USB Drives