Eco-Inquiry, an ecology curriculum for grades 5-8 helps teachers transform their classrooms into centers of ecological research.

Day 1: A Challenge from GROW


Students observe soil samples, talk about where soil nutrients come from, receive a letter from a company that wants to know if dead plants can be used as fertilizer, then develop research questions.

Lesson Overview

Students will be able to: Understands that nutrients are the invisible building blocks that make up all living things, know that all living things need nutrients to grow and stay healthy, have ideas about where nutrients in soil come from, form a research question.

1 hour

For the class:

  • house plant

For each group of 3-4 students:

  • small clear bag or container of poor soil, such as sand or clay
  • small clear bag or container of good potting or garden soil

For each student:

  • copy of the letter from GROW



See Lesson Resources below for further details.

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1B Scientific Inquiry
5D Interdependence of Life
5E Flow of Matter and Energy

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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