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How Do My Vegetables Grow?

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Keywords: gardening, digital storytelling, plants
Subject(s): Writing, Reading, Science, Math
Grade 1
School: Harper Elementary, Riverdale, GA
Planned By: Janet Newton
Original Author: Janet Newton, Riverdale
Engaging the Students – The students will be given three samples of soil (schoolyard soil, worm castings, and store bought potting soil). In pairs they will look through each type of soil. Students will take pictures of each type of soil. They will place pictures in their journals and write a description of each soil and anything they find in it. Discuss with students their descriptions of the soil and what they think it means.
Day 1 – Introduce idea to students with hook. Students write observations in their journals. Help students write hypothesis. Guide students in making plans for the investigation.

Day 2 – Quickly review hypothesis and plans for investigation. Students are divided into 6 groups of 4 students. Each group gets 2 planter boxes with three sections. The planter box will be a 3’x3’ wood box. There will be one section that is 3’x1 ½’ and two 1 ½’x1 ½’ sections. One box stays outside and one box stays inside. Each group puts schoolyard soil in one square of the inside planting box, worm casting in another square of the box, and potting soil in another square. Students plant and water seeds in the three squares of the planting box. Three groups plant lettuce seeds and three groups plant radish seeds. The class goes outside and the students repeat the process in the outside plant boxes. The outside plant boxes will be located against a wall in an outside courtyard area. This area is sunny but also has some shade. Again the students will take pictures to document the experiment.

Day 3 – The students water the plants twice a week (Mondays and Fridays) and monitor their growth. Students watch plants to check for growth. When the plants begin to grow the students will count the leaves, take measurements of the heights, the thickness of the stems, and observe the color of the plants. They will use a recording sheet to keep track of their measurements and write other observations in their journals. Students will observe plants for 30 days taking measurements and recording results. They will also take pictures of their plants at various stages of growth. At the end of 30 days (if the project takes longer than 30 days it is okay), students make graphs showing the results.

Students will use the pictures they took during the experiment to create a digital storytelling presentation about the process and what they learned. they will share their digital stories with other classes as well as and with the school through the morning news.
I believe this will be a high interest project for my students that will be beneficial at different levels including allowing my students to be exposed to technology they would not otherwise use.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students use Math skills to measure plants and keep track of the number of leaves the plant has. Students will also use Writing and Language Arts skills to write descriptions of the dirt and their plants as they grow. Finally, Reading skills such as comparing and identifying cause and effect will also be used throughout the project.
1.Will plants will grow better in the sun or shade?
2.Do plants grow better with fertilizer or without it?
Links: link to gardening information
Materials: Mobile Labs, Point and Shoot, Flash/USB Drives, Memory Cards, Animation
Other Items: 6 trowels, $3.50 each, total of $21.00
13 sheets of 3’x3’ plywood, $9.72 each, total of $126.36
16 12 –foot 1”x 6” wood boards, $9.72 each, total of $155.52
3 Potting Soil, $5.00 each, total of $15.00
1 Worm Castings, $18.00 each, total of $18.00
2 Radish seeds, $2.00 each, total of $4.00
2 Lettuce Seeds, $2.00 each, total of $4.00
12 Hand lenses, $3.00 each, total of $36.00