Have Your Promising Scientists Designed Their Own Research? | Science in the City

Apr 12, 2013

Have Your Promising Scientists Designed Their Own Research?

The weather is finally turning nicer, at least here. I'm not sure if its here to stay, but in my own house I have tomato seedlings and broccoli seedlings sprouting. Outside I planted some spinach (protected) and the bulbs are coming up. I love this time of year!

It also reminded me of a really cool lab that I did last year with my 7th graders that would be very easily adapted to many different age and grade levels, and was a great way to start the year. It easily built in many lab skills such as measuring, designing an experiment, observations, organizing data, and even graphing. It's really up to you where you go with it.

We first read a story to do with plants, and seeds, and brainstormed all the things plants need to survive. We then thought about how we could make the plants grow better or differently. Each student (or pair of students), had to decide on one thing that they were testing (spacing, amt of water, type of soil, type of container, etc). We wrote our procedure, planted the seeds, and took observations. We graphed our data. It's basic, but incorporates so many science skills that kids are using naturally. It gives a place to connect them to.

One of my favorites was this. She was testing the amount of sunlight. She put one cup of seeds in the window, and one in a closet.

This could easily lead into its own whole lesson!

Although this was a lesson that I did to start the year off, it would also be a great summarizing, end of the year, springtime lesson. Maybe the seeds could even be planted outside somewhere, especially depending upon your climate and when your school year goes. It's a very engaging lesson to kids, and easy to incorporate skills, or direct it where you want it to go. Another plus -- needs very little equipment.

And check out her pictures! I just think they are pretty cool :)


  1. I love teaching students plants leading up to Mother's Day and letting them take them home as gifts. You can have them decorate containers either ahead of time or start in Dixie cups and repot them later. (Always grow a few extra, just in case there are casualties!)

    1. Those are great ideas! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Great idea! I do a similar lesson with my 3rd graders, where we make predictions about whether a plant will grow without watering it for a week, putting it a cupboard, and covering it with saran wrap. It always fun to see how the plants grow (or don't) and its even more fun to see my kiddos react to the experiments!

    I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles


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