I'm Rachel, a third grade teacher and Curriculum Designer at Poet Prints. I help teachers build classroom communities that are focused on inquiry, collaborative learning and kindness by providing them with resources that make planning a breeze. I love Bible-based learning, so I also share tips about faith in the classroom and teaching God's Word.
May 01, 2016
Inquiry Based Science
let it grow!
I am a big fan of hands-on learning. The less I can teach, and the more I can let
students discover for themselves the
better! When I was in university, I
completed my education degree in the inquiry-based cohort, and it has
absolutely impacted my teaching style.
There is just so much research suggesting that when students discover
things for themselves in a classroom environment, rather than have all of the
information ‘deposited’ lecture-style, they make genuine lifelong connections
to the learning.
This spring, we are learning about plants through a guided-inquiry unit. Guided
because I came up with the inquiry questions (true inquiry allows students to
come up with their own questions).
We began by learning some vocabulary and
key plant terms.
Then, I posed the question: “How do plants grow and change?” I put the question on a blank bulletin board,
and left room for us to answer as we moved through the unit.
Instead of handing them a worksheet with
the answers, we began to plant!
We planted beans, lettuce, scallions,
marigolds, and pansies.
Each student cared for an individual bean
plant, and tracked its growth, changes, and how they cared for it. In groups, they took turns being ‘gardeners’
for our group outdoor garden.
There were so many great AH-HA moments as we used our hands-on
garden as the focal point for our learning, and I think we learned more from
our mistakes than successes! My students
knew the concept of photosynthesis,
but only truly understood the importance of green leaves when their plants were
munched by local deer!
We finally figured out why plants need sunlight after our blinds were accidentally closed
over the weekend and our plants sat in the dark for 72 hours.
We tracked the changes on our plants, and
marveled at how resilient our bean
We could not believe at how our teeny-tiny
seeds turned into edible pieces of lettuce!
I cannot tell you how many parents have
sent me e-mails, or stopped in to let me know that they now have small gardens
in their houses/apartments that are being tended to by my third graders. It makes me smile to think that what we are learning in the classroom is already
turning into out-of-school continued education!
I’ve gathered together my whole unit into a
ready-to-go packet that you can pick up on Teachers Pay Teachers. It has everything you need: vocabulary, life
cycle worksheets, inquiry questions, student notebooks, and two