- Grade level: Upper Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
This unit is designed to encourage students to develop the scientific skills of observation, predicting, controlling variables, experimenting, inferring and recording information as they study the effects of water, soil, and sunlight on growing plants. Lesson #4 incorporates Internet access by sharing the results of these experiments with others outside the classroom.
- Predict outcomes of scientific experiments.
- Conduct a scientific experiment with control groups.
- Plant seeds to observe, measure, and compare growth across groups.
- Gather, record, analyze, and share data with other classrooms.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: none.
- Special software requirements: none.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or higher.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: What Makes a Healthy Plant? Students will make inferences, form a hypothesis and a plan to test their hypothesis about what makes a healthy plan.
- Lesson Two: Planting. Student groups will conduct experiments with plant seedlings to test the effects of sunlight, water, and soil on the growth of these plans.
- Lesson Three: Collecting and Recording Data. Plants will be measured and compared to a control plant. Students will keep a journal to record their data in a Science Journal.
- Lesson Four: Sharing and Validating Results. Students will collaborate with another classroom via the Internet to share data, questions, results, and to check the validity of their testing procedures.
Relation to Standards
The "Growing plants" Unit was designed with the National Science Education Standards Project in mind and meets objectives outlined in the K-12 science standards.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with Internet access. To accommodate classrooms which don't have access to a computer lab with full Internet access, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
Students can alternate between library research and Internet research. This allows some students to work on the computer using the Internet to do research while others use more tradtional printed resources.
Student research teams can download portions of Websites that are related to their research theme and print copies for all students to use. If you have the capability, you can use either an LCD panel and overhead projector or a video-monitor to project the computer screen for the larger group. This would allow the group to share the interactive nature of the Web, while conducting some basic discussions of what the sites have to offer.
If you have other computers with copies of Netscape, but without an Internet hook-up, you can download portions of Websites and save them to a disc to load onto the computers not connected to the Internet. Students can then open and view the downloaded files within Netscape. This will not allow students to have the full interactive experience of the Web, but will allow them to explore in smaller groups some of the information that is found on the web.