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

Day 3: Up and Running


Students set up experiments to test the effects of compost tea on plant growth, learn about plant development, then monitor their experiments for 3-5 weeks.

Lesson Overview

Students will be able to: set up an experiment according to plans, know the parts of a seed and how seeds develop into a mature plant; understand where plants get nutrients and energy as they grow; accurately make and keep records of observations and measurements; exchange and reflect on information with their peers.

Session 1- 40 min and Session 2 - 40 min

Session 1

For the class:

  • newsprint poster of experiment design plan (see lesson "Plans and  Peer Reviews, lesson 2")
  • large bucket or dishpan
  • several measuring cups or 8 oz. plastic cups
  • cleanup supplies: broom, whisk broom, dustpan, paper towels, sponges, bucket of water

For each group:

  • set of experiment materials:

24 6-oz plastic cups
approximately 9 cups of vermiculite
plastic bag, 1-gallon size
24 radish seeds
mini paper cups
12 pot lables
permanent marker

Session 2

For the class:

  • compost tea materials:

See Lesson Resources below for further details.

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
ELA 1- Language to collect and interpret information and understand generalizations
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1B Scientific Inquiry
5A Diversity of Life
5D Interdependence of Life
5E Flow of Matter and Energy
8A Agriculture
12D Communication Skills

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

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