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Unit Plan: Cycles: From Rot to RadishesLesson: 3 Time: Session 1 (40 min) and Session 2 (40 min) Setting: Classroom
3-5, 6-8Schoolyard Ecology
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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.


    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

    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 for further details.

    Lesson Files

    Up and Running

    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

    NYS Standards

    MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science, ELA 1- Language to collect and interpret information and understand generalizations
    Next Generation Science Standards

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Patterns, Cause and effect

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS1C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms, LS2B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
    New York State Science Learning Standards

    Performance Expectations

    MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem., MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and protecting ecosystem stability.*

    Hogan, Kathleen. Eco-Inquiry: A Guide to Ecological Learning Experiences for the Upper Elementary/Middle Grades. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, PO Box 1840, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840., 1994.