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Improving Math & Science Learning: Flower Power

Flower Power

How it works: 

This hands-on unit takes a discovery approach to the understanding of flowers, their structures, how they reproduce, how they are classified, and what conditions their seeds thrive in. This unit is aimed towards the upper elementary grades (3-6) and should be conducted during late May into June since most of the activities require the accessibility of flower specimens that bloom this time of year for observations. As a result of this unit, students will be able to name and locate flower structures, classify flowers through observation of their structures, understand and appreciate the importance of the pollination and fertilization process, and discover the environmental conditions which affect the growth of plants. Students will also be using different kinds of resources for exploration such as the computer and the Internet. The teacher will be responsible for teaching students how to use the these resources before conducting the unit. It is also recommended that before a unit is started, that the teacher needs to gauge the knowledge students already have about the subject, what they want to know and what they learned through a discussion with the students as an introduction to the unit.

Their responses should be charted on a KWL graphic organizer and displayed in the classroom. As for the assessment piece, students will be collecting observations work in a folder as well as keeping notes of what they learned in a science journal. Note that the science journal is a place for students to keep questions as well as observations. Reading them periodically will not only assess what they know, but also what their interests on the subject are.

Standards Addressed by This Unit:
New York State's Learning Standards being addressed in this unit are that students will 
  • Use scientific inquiry to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions. 
  • Access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies. 
  • Understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.
  • Apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.
  • Understand the relationships and common themes that connect science and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.
  • Apply the knowledge and thinking skills of science and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.

Software Materials Used:
The computer, the Internet, digital camera, scanner, videotapes, computer software such as AppleWorks (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Draw)

Students:
This unit is targeting students in upper elementary grades (3-6) who has
some skills to do research work on the Internet. Students should also have
some knowledge to use computer software to write journals, make charts, and
draw pictures and designs.

Overall:
This is a hands-on science study that uses a discovery approach to understand the subject of study - flowers. Students will utilize the
Internet as an important resource to explore, discover, confirm, and implement their studies. They will also be introduced to the use of digital camera and the scanner to create and compile their portfolio.

Tips:
At the start of the project, have a session to find out what students  already know and what they would like to know more about the subject. Chart the findings and display in the classroom as reference throughout the unit of study. Require students to keep study journals and portfolio folders.

Lessons:
Inside a Flower
Soil Investigation
Flower Investigation
Fruit or Vegetable?
Where Am I?
Seed Dissection
Flowers Galore
Pollination & Fertilization
Flowers & Their Families
Plant Parts & Their Jobs
Identifying Flower Families through Flower Shapes
Brooklyn Botanical Garden Scavenger Hunt
Bibliography

Rosemarie Young is a teacher in P.S.1M of the New York City Public Schools' Community School District Two in Manhattan. She has taught first graders and third graders. She is an avid gardener and often tested her "Flower Power" project ideas before implementing them in her classroom. She also get many ideas by searching on the Internet.  Currently, she is doing research on tadpoles and frogs to prepare for her next project.

Subjects:
Science and Arts

Estimated Class Periods To Complete:
10 or more

Beginning Grade
Level:
 3

Ending Grade Level: 
6

e-mail Rosemarie

 

 

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