TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Apr 26, 2020

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Garden Activity Guide: Soil - The Nature Conservancy

Grades
K to 12
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In this lesson plan, students use analysis techniques to learn about different types of soil and examine the relationship between plant growth and healthy soil. Links to resource materials,...more
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In this lesson plan, students use analysis techniques to learn about different types of soil and examine the relationship between plant growth and healthy soil. Links to resource materials, including videos, student handouts, and extension activities, are all included. Activities include student research and analysis of dry and moist soil features. Extension activities guide further learning through the examination of natural water filters and garden habitats. Lessons are correlated to Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

tag(s): habitats (115), plants (175), soil (21), water (140)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these hands-on investigative lessons to engage students in learning about types of soil. Have students document their learning by taking pictures and sharing videos of their investigations on your class website. Instead of printing student handouts, engage students by having them input information using mobile devices and classroom computers. Use a data visualization tool such as Chart Gizmo, reviewed here, to create customized graphs and charts. To create a customized learning unit for your students, use TES Teach Blendspace, reviewed here, to share websites, upload documents, and view videos all in one learning space.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Flowers Seeking Pollinators - California Academy of Sciences

Grades
2 to 7
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This 90-minute lesson plan incorporates the use of real data to teach students about plant reproduction and how pollinators are attracted to different types of flowers. The heart of...more
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This 90-minute lesson plan incorporates the use of real data to teach students about plant reproduction and how pollinators are attracted to different types of flowers. The heart of the lesson includes students creating an imaginary garden. In addition to the lesson instructions, this site contains links to printables used during lesson activities. The lesson provides correlations to Next Generation Science Standards.

tag(s): insects (75), plants (175), reproduction (8)

In the Classroom

In a perfect world, students would use this lesson as a starting point for planting and growing their imaginary garden. Although it might not be possible to plant a garden in every case, consider using portions of the lesson to let students grow a plant of their choice in the classroom. Enhance learning by using Edublog, reviewed here, or Adobe Spark in K-12, reviewed here, to document the growing process including failures and successes. Include images, videos, and student writing to document their learning.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Organic Seeds for Schools - GrowOrganic.com

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K to 8
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Sign up to receive free seeds to start your school's organic garden offered by Grow Organic. Complete the sign-up form by answering a few simple questions to receive a box ...more
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Sign up to receive free seeds to start your school's organic garden offered by Grow Organic. Complete the sign-up form by answering a few simple questions to receive a box containing a wide assortment of expired certified organic, non-GMO seed packets. Use the links found on this site to learn more about organic gardening through a series of free videos and articles.

tag(s): life cycles (25), nutrition (168), plants (175)

In the Classroom

Apply to receive seed packets for your new or existing school garden. If your school doesn't have space to plant a garden, research options for portable gardens using wheelbarrows, rolling carts, and other methods for moving plants as needed. Enhance students' learning about plants and planting methods, by asking them to research organic gardening. Use Canva Edu, reviewed here, to have students create flyers and posters sharing information learned. Document your class garden using Book Creator (available in Chrome and as an app), reviewed here. Add videos, student drawings, writing, images, and more to share the story of your garden with students and the community.

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Kitchen Garden Planner - Gardener's Supply Company

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K to 8
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Plan and design your perfect kitchen garden with the easy to use tools found on the Kitchen Garden Planner. Use the drop-down boxes to select a width and size for ...more
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Plan and design your perfect kitchen garden with the easy to use tools found on the Kitchen Garden Planner. Use the drop-down boxes to select a width and size for the grid to place plant options. After choosing the size of your garden, add items by dropping and dragging plants of your choice into your grid. Scroll through the provided list to select from a large variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs starting with Alpine Strawberries through Winter Squash. Save completed gardens to the site or use the links to print or email your garden plan.

tag(s): nutrition (168), plants (175)

In the Classroom

Use the garden planner in a variety of content areas. In math, use the grid system found on the site to reinforce multiplication and addition facts. In science, ask students to create vegetable gardens or fruit gardens as they learn about different types of plants. Have older students research planting zones to create a garden appropriate for your location or research methods used for organic gardening. After learning about plants and gardens, have students use a comic creation tool like ToonyTool, reviewed here, to create single frame cartoons. Create cartoons with gardening tips or plant facts.

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Plants Map - Bill Blevins

Grades
4 to 12
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Plants Map is an online resource for plant enthusiasts that allows you to create communities, personal plant libraries, and map personal gardens. Explore the site using a keyword search...more
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Plants Map is an online resource for plant enthusiasts that allows you to create communities, personal plant libraries, and map personal gardens. Explore the site using a keyword search or by browsing through the home page to view different plants and information such as locations and type of growth. Be sure to click on the link "What is Plants Map?" just below the sign-up box to view a video or web page with full details about using the site to create collections and your private maps. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable.

tag(s): communities (42), maps (292), plants (175)

In the Classroom

Share Plants Map on your interactive whiteboard or projector to locate and discover different kinds of plants. Click the map to find species near you. If you are lucky enough to have a school garden, Plants Map is the perfect site for planning, documenting, and sharing your garden with your students and community.

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How Does Your Garden Grow? A Project-Based Approach to Learning. - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Implement every aspect of the curriculum through gardening using this TeachersFirst special Help! I Lost My Library/Media Specialist article. Find suggested books (many with links for...more
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Implement every aspect of the curriculum through gardening using this TeachersFirst special Help! I Lost My Library/Media Specialist article. Find suggested books (many with links for activities for the book), background knowledge, a section on gathering information (with suggested activities), suggested activities for growing your garden, ISTE Standards for Students and AASL National School Library Standards, extension activities and more. The ideas and activties can range in grade levels from kindergarten to seventh grade. This is only one of many classroom-ready articles in our Help! I lost my library/media specialist!. If food and nutrition are more of a focus, you will want to check out this articlefrom the Help! I lost my library/media specialist! series.

tag(s): book lists (129), life cycles (25), plants (175), soil (21)

In the Classroom

After reading one or two of the suggested books as a class, brainstorm what students know about gardens using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider setting up stations around the room with the other recommended books and their activities; be sure to request some of the books on inter-library loan if you do not have them in your school. After completing the stations, return to the brainstorm and revise what students know about gardens and planting. Use some of the ideas from Gather Information to implement spring garden planting, literacy, and a growing understanding of science. Next step, planting! Use one or more of the ideas in this article for planting your garden. You might even consider working across grade levels and subjects and planning a school garden together. Your health/PE teacher will probably join in the effort! Follow through with one or more of the Show What You Know suggestions.

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Grow For It - North Carolina 4H

Grades
2 to 12
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Grow For It offers lessons and resources for exploring agriculture, natural resources, and insects! Download several different lessons correlated to Common Core and/or North...more
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Grow For It offers lessons and resources for exploring agriculture, natural resources, and insects! Download several different lessons correlated to Common Core and/or North Carolina Standards. Find teaching materials about gardening, insects, and soil erosion. Some lessons offer additional materials not included as part of teacher training, provided by 4H services. However, free materials include detailed lessons and activities worth exploring. Be sure to explore other links for grant opportunities, weekend projects, and a "Plant Geek Pledge."

tag(s): agriculture (56), ecosystems (89), erosion (18), insects (75), natural resources (58), nutrition (168), plants (175), soil (21)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans included on the Grow For It site as part of a plant or nutrition unit. Share ideas from the site with parents interested in helping set up a school or classroom garden. Once you have started your garden, engage students by having them upload a photo they have taken and add their voice to explain what they learned using a tool such as Blabberize, reviewed here. Ask a local 4H leader or Coop Extension Agent to come to your classroom to discuss local plants and gardening ideas.

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National Farm to School Network - Tides Center National Farm to School Network

Grades
K to 12
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The Farm to School Network is a resource connecting schools and local farms. The goal is to serve healthy school meals and offer food-related lessons and experiences. While not all...more
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The Farm to School Network is a resource connecting schools and local farms. The goal is to serve healthy school meals and offer food-related lessons and experiences. While not all schools have a local farm resource, the network offers short, 20 minute webinars available for free viewing at any time. Choose from archived resources such as School Composting Made Easy with FoodCorps and an Edible Schoolyard Project. Many webinars include slides to download to accompany the presentation. Be sure to sign up for the free newsletter to receive updates with new additions to the site.

tag(s): nutrition (168), plants (175)

In the Classroom

View webinars and share with other teachers or PTO/PTA as a resource for setting up and maintaining a school garden. Present the garden information to your school's Parent Teacher Organization as a possible after-school or supplemental activity. Make a school garden to put science into your students' hands.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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You Are What You Eat - Examining Nutrition through Literature - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 7
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Use this special article from TeacherFirst to refresh and enliven your health and nutrition unit. Discover many activities, books, and resources to use in your classroom or online in...more
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Use this special article from TeacherFirst to refresh and enliven your health and nutrition unit. Discover many activities, books, and resources to use in your classroom or online in your health and nutrition lessons, and also to implement in cross-curricular instruction. Employ both ISTE Standards for Students and AASL National School Library Standards. The ideas and activties can range in grade levels from kindergarten to seventh grade. This is only one of many classroom-ready articles in our Help! I lost my library/media specialist!.

tag(s): commoncore (95), nutrition (168)

In the Classroom

This is a thorough unit on food and nutrition. Start with activating prior knowledge on your interactive whiteboard or using your projector. Use Padlet, reviewed here, once students have sorted their favorites into categories and project the results on your whiteboard. When teaching science, social studies, or health content about nutrition, foods, plants, or farms, consider pairing fictional books along with informational texts (several are suggested) to maximize the potential of every unit of study. This article is a good starting point. What a perfect way to integrate healthy eating, whether during the holiday season or spring garden planting! Speaking of planting, whether you are considering or implementing a school garden unit you will want to check out this article.

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The Edible Schoolyard Project - Alice Waters

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K to 12
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Visit this incredible site to bring students of all ages into a positive relationship with food by connecting it with nature and culture. Discover a sustainable food curriculum that...more
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Visit this incredible site to bring students of all ages into a positive relationship with food by connecting it with nature and culture. Discover a sustainable food curriculum that includes Farm to School ideas and much more. This project shares a food curriculum for schools around the world to put into practice. Search and explore inspiring ideas, programs that work, and the voices of the movement. Add your own story or classroom to the project to share with others around the world.

tag(s): nutrition (168), plants (175)

In the Classroom

Use the search feature to find lessons by grade, topic, or even season. View videos available on The Edible Schoolyard to learn how to begin a classroom or school garden. Show the videos to parents to encourage help and participation. If your school doesn't have an area for planting a garden, be creative! Plant a small garden in a wagon to roll in and out each day! Create a class wiki and update your garden's growth through pictures and words each week. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Grow a Garden in a Glove - Museum of Science and Industry

Grades
3 to 9
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This site provides instructions (on 6 simple slides) on how to grow seeds in a plastic glove. It is an awesome project. Seed varieties could be adjusted to suit classroom ...more
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This site provides instructions (on 6 simple slides) on how to grow seeds in a plastic glove. It is an awesome project. Seed varieties could be adjusted to suit classroom needs. A nice feature of this site is that the directions are printable so if computer access is limited, the lab can still take place.

tag(s): photosynthesis (33), plants (175)

In the Classroom

This site could be used to study photosynthesis, seed germinations, and the basic requirements of life. Share the slides on your projector or interactive whiteboard. The teacher could set this up and grow the seeds and then show them to the students to begin an inquiry. This could lead to discussions on oxygen and carbon dioxide, limiting factors, environment, and growth. It could be used as a long term project where students journal the daily or weekly changes of the seeds. Replace paper journals and engage students by using a digital blog like Penzu, reviewed here; with Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. Enhance student learning by having cooperative learning groups take digital pictures of their progress and narrate the photos. Challenge students upload a photo they have taken and add their voice to chronicle the progress using a tool such as Blabberize, reviewed here.

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Gardening/Spring Flowers - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 9
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for gardening. Find interactive vocabulary activities using gardening vocabulary...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for gardening. Find interactive vocabulary activities using gardening vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): vocabulary (293)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students (or groups) create their own word puzzles to share as a class challenge as a student-run interactive whiteboard activity or share them on a class wiki.

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School Garden Curriculum - Calif. School Garden Network

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3 to 8
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Here's a complete curriculum for schools interested in starting a school garden. Created in California, teachers in other regions will likely need to make some adjustments to some of...more
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Here's a complete curriculum for schools interested in starting a school garden. Created in California, teachers in other regions will likely need to make some adjustments to some of the materials, but the site contains extensive resources for teachers to use in constructing their own lessons based on the gardening experience.

tag(s): plants (175)

In the Classroom

There are some great interdisciplinary opportunities here, but teachers will need to work thoughtfully to adapt the raw materials to local circumstances. Consider sharing information from this site with your school's parent/teacher organization to gain support and possible funding for a garden project. Gardening is a perfect topic for student blogs. Have students replace paper and pencil journals and use Edublog, reviewed here, to share the progress of their gardens including images and journal entries.

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Kids Gardening - National Gardening Association

Grades
3 to 8
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Get involved with gardening throughout the community using ideas from Kids Gardening! Explore news articles discussing different types of gardening, gardens in schools, and new ideas...more
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Get involved with gardening throughout the community using ideas from Kids Gardening! Explore news articles discussing different types of gardening, gardens in schools, and new ideas for successful gardening. Choose from the Family Gardening or School Gardening sections for how-to guides, lessons, and projects. Learn how to make the most of "gardening moments." Be sure to take some time to explore this site for many useful ideas for indoor and outdoor gardening projects.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grants (16), nutrition (168), plants (175)

In the Classroom

If you aren't lucky enough to have outdoor gardening space, take advantage of ideas offered for indoor gardens such as terrariums and container gardening. Be sure to check out the extensive lesson library to search by theme, standards, season, and more. Use the Growing Poems ideas from the site as part of your poetry or plant unit. After starting your garden project, have students create an annotated image of their plants including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Photocat, reviewed here. Be sure to check out the Grants & Fundraising link for information on raising money for your classroom or school garden!

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