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Unit Plan: Cycles: From Rot to Radishes Lesson: 1 Time: 1 hour Setting: Classroom Objectives:

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.


Students will be able to: Understand 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.


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 Files:
Benchmarks for Science Literacy: 1B Scientific Inquiry 5D Interdependence of Life 5E Flow of Matter and Energy NYS Standards: MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Next Generation Science Standards
Science and Engineering Practices: Asking questions and defining problems Planning and carrying out investigations

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.