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This lesson provides students with the opportunity to observe and describe plants as they grow from seeds.
For each student:
This activity is designed to provide students with the opportunity to observe and describe plants as they grow from seeds. It is recommended that you teach All Sorts of Seeds! prior to this activity so that students have had the opportunity to manipulate seeds. Students will also have the chance to use many process skills throughout this unit. You may teach the process skills in isolation, earlier in the school year, or concurrent with this activity (i.e. symbolization, observation, description, prediction, data collection, investigation, classification, segmentation and blending, problem solving, forming conclusions).
For this activity, group students in two different ways. They should be grouped into teams of four to five students. Give each team a name (e.g., “Team 1” or “Blue Team”). Alternately employ the jigsaw grouping strategy as well. This requires you to assign each member of each team a letter. Subsequently, in “Team 1,” you will have Student A, Student B, Student C, and Student D. To form the jigsaw groups, instead of the teams, ask students to group by their assigned letter, instead of team name. So, all “A’s” would become a group, and so on.
|Team 1||Team 2||Team 3||Team 4||Team 5|
||Student A||Student A||Student A||Student A|
||Student B||Student B||Student B||Student B|
||Student C||Student C||Student C||Student C|
|Student D||Student D||Student D||Student D||Student D|
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Pass out a lima bean (pre-soaked), toothpick, paper-towel/plate and hand lens to each student. Instruct them to investigate the lima bean seed. Students may use the toothpick to pry open the cotyledons and reveal the embryonic plant (root and leaf are visible).
Ask questions to guide student discussion about their investigation. For example: What do you notice about this lima bean? How does it feel on the outside? What does it look like on the inside? What do you see? Do you know what it is? Do you know what it is called? Why do you think it is part of the bean/seed?
Supply scientific vocabulary as is relevant to the discussion (e.g., seed coat, cotyledons [seed food], embryonic root, embryonic seed, etc.). Students sketch and write about their seed dissection in their journals.
Shepardson, D. P. (1999). Learning Science in a First Grade Science Activity: A Vygotskian Perspective. Science Education, 83(5), 621-637.
Classroom vignettes and child interviews illustrate that teachers can mediate students’ learning by enacting these roles within the context of an activity: facilitator, guide and supporter, active participant and evaluator. As the teacher mediates, children construct their own knowledge.
Laplante, B. (1997). Teachers’ Beliefs and Instructional Strategies in Science: Pushing Analysis Further. Science Education, 81(3), 227-293.
“School science,” a version of science taught by many teachers, is remarkably different from science “as it is actually done.” This study of teaching strategies used by teachers illustrates the profound impact that a teacher’s own perception of science learning can have on student learning. Two vignettes punctuate the crucial necessity for inquiry as a process of leading students to the construction of science-related knowledge.