National Teacher Enhancement Project

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The purpose of this three-month project is to find the best conditions for growing plants. Students create a problem statement, develop a study plan, test their ideas and use construction technology and computer technology as tools for research, planning, recording data and communicating. Students develop an understanding of how math, science and technology are interrelated and can be used to solve real-life problems.
Introduction to Research:
The Seed Connection has the potential to be a regional project where students from a group of schools collaborate to look at the growing conditions for crops. Second grade students begin by learning about factors that effect plant growth. Sixth grade students begin by creating a school weather stationand keeping weather records. (See Weather Watchers.) When the second graders have completed their experiments growing plants, they work with the sixth graders to determine regional weather patterns by tapping into a regional network of school weather stations. They compare and contrast how changing variables of temperature, water, light, nutrients and soil affect the plant growth throughout the region.

This project is most interesting when the region has diverse ecosystems. Originally, this study was designed for students on Long Island which has wonderfully divers ecosystems with widely differing growing conditions that students can appreciate through field trips and communicating with nearby schools.

Teachers guide the student research study using the student Website. The homepage includes a letter to the second graders from the sixth graders as the invitation to learn and links to other pages that support the research.

Learner Outcomes: Students will: Research Question:
Students can develop research questions related to plant growth. In particular, the site leads them to consider the effect of different factors--light, soil, water, etc.--on plant growth and apply what they have learned by thinking about why different plants grow better in some areas than in others.
The students publish information about their findings about under what conditions plants grow best.
We provide two rubrics, one for the teacher to assess the learner outcomes above and one for students to complete. NTEP provides other research rubrics that the teacher may use with any of the projects. In addition, at the beginning of the unit the teacher may set guidelines for assessing daily work, for example through a student journal.

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: Pam Urso, Ridge Elementary School, New York; Edited by Marge Bardeen NTEP II PI.
Web Maintainer:
Created: December 6, 1998 - Updated: January 31, 2000
URL: /ntep/f98/projects/bnl/seed2/index.html