April 26, 2016

Botany and Garden Inquiry (First Grade)

Last week our students had the opportunity to participate in a lesson from the Botany on Your Plate curriculum (as adapted by myself and my grade level teammate). We first gave students botany journals of their own to decorate, and together as a whole grade, we made a chart to record all the different ways we used plants while discussing what botany is and the job of a botanist. (We paired this first part of the lesson with The Magic School Bus's episode Get's Planted.) Before we began the second portion of our lesson, we asked students to predict which of the veggies they thought they're whole class would like the most.

Botany on Our Plates


Each student got their own pieces of our vegetable selection: carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, celery, green beans, and cauliflower. First, they drew what the veggie looks like on the outside, then we sliced them in half for the children to draw what they saw on the inside. They practiced writing descriptive words for the veggies to compare their differences, and then finally, they got to eat them! 

Botany on Our Plates

Botany on Our Plates

While we worked our way through each vegetable, we kept a tally graph of the data on which ones we liked best. At the end of the activity we were then able to discuss our data and if it had matched our predictions at the beginning: Carrots for the win!

Botany on Our Plates

Following up with the day's activity, we moved on later in the week to examine some herbs...

Botany Inquiry

Students had the opportunity to explore three different herbs--mint, sage, and rosemary--after having read selected poems from Anna's Garden Songs for our current study on botany and gardening. Before I gave each student their specimen we conversed on how these different herbs have and can be used. Students then had to use their five senses to then write descriptive words about each herb. Here's how a couple of students described sage:
"It feels soft and fuzzy--kind of like how the leaves on pumpkins feel soft sometimes."
 "It smells a little like mint, but it smells more like the stew my mom makes for dinner."
"It's furry-like and reminds me of fall."
Botany Inquiry

From there, we moved on to making some garden maps...

Garden Maps

Garden Word Wall

The students first sketched and labeled their maps with the help of our nomenclature cards (you can get some nice ones like those shown above here), followed by adding all the color using watercolors. 

Garden Maps

Here were some of our final products... 

Garden Maps

Garden Maps

Garden Maps

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