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Subject: Math / Science / Social Studies / MSTe

Grade Level: 2nd


The purpose of this project is to find the best conditions for growing plants. Through this venue students will develop an understanding of how math, science and technology are interrelated and can be used to solve real life problems. They will use technology to interact with EMO botanists,(a sixth grade partner class), and a partner school in Africa, using hydroponics and conventional methods, in order to grow plants for a real life purpose. The students will use BNL scientists as a real life link in their investigations. They will create a problem statement, develop a plan, test their ideas and use construction technology as well as computer technology as a tool for research, planning, recording data and communication.

Learner Description/Environment:

Second grade students will be in heterogeneous cooperative groupings. These cooperative groups will contain ESL, mainstreamed special education, at risk and general population children. The students will determine the problem they would like to investigate, set up an outline of the investigation, and carry out the investigation. They will use many sources of information for their investigation, including the one classroom computer to interact with EMO botanists, BNL scientists and BNL web pages, as well as their partner school in Africa. They will construct and use a Growlab and a hydroponics lab for their parallel investigations with their partner school in Africa. they will report their results to The Emo botanists.

Time Frame: Three months


Our second grade curriculum encompasses the factors that effect plant growth. The students will be asked by EMO botanists, (6th graders from East Moriches), to investigate optimum ways to grow plants in an alien environment very similar to that of Long Island. This will therefore lead to an investigation of Long Island geography. The students will use construction technology to construct a Growlab and a hydroponics lab. The students will work within cooperative groups using mathematical and scientific analysis to study the effects of temperature, water, light, nutrients and soil the student the student Vs hydroponics. They will compare and contrast how changing variables effect the growth of living things. The students will conduct parallel experiments with a partner school in Africa through Bradley Hydroponics, who uses this project to grow food for their community. The students will develop a design portfolio that will include the problem, design plan, and outcomes of their research. Students will develop problem solving skills and reasoning strategies. Students will use measurement to collect data, they will make predictions using the data and form solutions to the problem presented. In this project students will predict, research, estimate, graph and analyze to solve a real world problem. They will tour a hydroponics lab at BNL and interact with BNL scientists. As part of the second grade curriculum the students will compare and contrast the differences and similarities between their own community and their partner school in Africa. The students will incorporate technology by using computers to communicate with the Emo botanists, BNL scientists, hydroponics lab, hydroponics web page, and the partner school in Africa. Computer technology will be used as a tool for research, planning, and recording data.

Learner Outcomes:

· Students will develop an understanding of math, science, and technology concepts of seed growth.
· Students will develop an understanding of community and its elements.
· Students will understand the similarities and differences of their community and their partner community.
· Students will develop problem-solving skills through the investigation of seed growth.
· Students will make connections from academics to the real world.
· Students will work in cooperative groups and use teamwork to solve real problems.
· Students will develop an understanding of the interrelationships of environmental factors.
· Students will develop an understanding of what the best conditions are for growing specific plants.
· Students will research, predict, estimate, record and organize results on a graph.
· Students will use math, science, technology reasoning and problem solving to explain their solutions.
· Students will use a design portfolio to show in written form their investigations.
· Students will explain their data to their partner school through written and graphical information.


Alignment with Standards:

This project aligns with the following New York State Learning Standards:

· Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment.
· Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human needs.
· Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.
· Students will listen, speak, read and write for information and understanding. Students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations, and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts.
· Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of communities and their needs.
· Students will use number sense and numeration to develop an understanding of the multiple uses of numbers in the real world, the use of numbers to communicate mathematically, and the use of numbers in the development of mathematical ideas.

Structure of the Learning:


This project is framed within the student scenario that the EMO botanists have asked the students to investigate the best way to grow plants for a space mission to a planet that has a climate very similar to theirs on Long Island. They will design an investigation and carry it out using a growlab and a hydroponics lab. They will use the computer to do research where they will interact with BNL, Emo botanists, an African partner school, and Bradley Hydroponics. They will use computer technology to keep data, journals, reports, and graphs of the investigation. This project requires multidisciplinary inquiry and investigation through science, social studies, math, and technology. Technology enhances and enriches this project by extending the learning environment beyond the school walls to BNL, Bradley Hydroponics, East Moriches and Africa. It makes current research information accessible to a second grade classroom with one computer hooked to the Internet. Assessment of the content learned is through the performance-based investigations. Can the student explain their idea and plan. Can they explain the problems as well as what worked. What are they going to redesign and where will they look for help? True assessment is not evaluation of the product but in the journey.


The students are given a real life problem to solve. They become the problem-solvers. The students working cooperatively to develop a design portfolio that will include the problem, design plan, and outcomes of their research. They plan and use current technologies to help solve their problem. They contact real scientists and other knowledgeable sources in order to accomplish their goals. The teachers act as facilitators throughout this process aiding the groups and learning becomes all-inclusive.

Product: The students will publish information about their findings about under what conditions plants grow best.


The students do assessment on many levels, by the students, by the teachers and also by the experts. The students assess themselves through their investigations and reporting out to their group. The groups assess themselves by reporting to the class. Both individual students and their groups assess themselves when they redesign their plans. The teacher assesses the student through the student explaining their project as well as through a rubric applied to their design portfolio. Sharing ideas and suggestions with the EMO botanists, BNL scientists, and the African partner school become a very interactive and valuable assessment tool. The students self assess what they have learned and how they can use it in their everyday life. The young scientists explain what they would do differently if they were to continue and redesign the investigation.

Project/Unit Evaluation: Student Rubric


Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.


Author(s): Pam Urso (Purso1@ix.netcom.com)
School: Ridge Elementary School, New York
Created: December 6th, 1998 - Updated: December 6, 1998
URL: /ntep/f98/projects/bnl/seed2/seed.htm