A 60 minute lesson in which students will plant seeds following the procedure of the scientific method.
This science experiment takes place over the course of several weeks. Students will need to observe their developing seedlings and record their observations frequently over the course of the unit.
Prior to conducting the lesson, decide upon the ratio of students to planters. This will determine the quantities of equipment. Also, select the type of seed to be used and soil types to be offered. The teacher may decide to place soil in planters ahead of time.
Several types of soil
Review the decisions made in the previous lesson with regards to the materials required for the experiment.
Review the terms ‘constant’ and ‘variable’ and discuss what these will be in the experiment. Assist the students to complete these sections on the first worksheet in the experiment booklet.
Show the students the materials and equipment needed to plant the seeds. Allow the students to record these on the appropriate section of the worksheet.
As a class, come to a consensus about the amount and frequency of watering, the best place to position the planters and how the students will measure growth. Guide these discussions, ensuring that the decisions made will promote optimum growth and will effectively test the hypothesis.
Monitor and support the students as they plant their seeds, following the method on the first page of the experiment booklet. Observations of the developing seedlings will be ongoing over the next few weeks. The frequency of observations is at the teacher’s discretion.
As the experiment progresses, encourage the students to record their observations in the results section of the experiment booklet. Rather than simply focusing on the size of the developing seedling, encourage them to describe a variety of observable changes e.g. shape of leaves, roots getting stronger, thicker stems.
At the end of the set time period, allow the students to complete the discussion section of the experimentbooklet. Ensure that the students select people who used a different soil type to theirs and encourage them to illustrate the differences between the samples.
Encourage the students to independently write a conclusion for the experiment, explaining whether or not their hypothesis was correct.
Refer back to the hypothesis: Seeds grow better in some soils than in others. Discuss if the statement is true or false. Use the observations from the experiment to support a conclusion.
At the conclusion of the experiment, collect the students’ experiment booklets. These could be included in a portfolio of work samples and used to assess the students’ understanding of the unit objectives.
Encourage more capable students to consider the results of this experiment if there was more than one variable e.g. if the amount of water given was not consistent and the soil types differed.
Offer adult support for less confident students when planting their seeds.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities