I would like to just do this with my regular class of 5th grade students. I would like to go off of my presentation that I did about flowers, and do a section of the unit where the kids plant their own plants. They will be the Wisconsin Fast Plants, which only take a few weeks to grow. There will be 3 different soil types for this experiment; top soil, peat, and sand.
I would like to start the project out by making having them get out their iPads and making a few predictions; how tall their plant will be, how many flowers it will have, and how many leaves it will have on excel. Also as they go along, and make them measurements every week I would like them to keep updating the all these aspects of their plant in the excel spreadsheet.
We can then plant the flowers, probably at least three in each student’s pot so if one doesn’t grow they won’t be disappointed. However, I would be very careful to leave out one part of the experiment and leave it for them to figure out on their own. I would like to also make a Google doc and ask all of the students a question. What will constant in the experiment will be? Is there something that will be the same throughout everyone’s plant? Then after they all come up with their own ideas and get them down in a document I want to bring them up on the board and have everyone explain what they wrote down. Hopefully they would get to the idea that the amount of light and water each plant would get is going to be the same so that every plant has an equal opportunity to grow just as well as the next.
Then I would like them all to collaboratively work on a PowerPoint together. There will be slides so each of the different soil types, I would like the students to write about their soil type and explain why they think that type would grow the best plant, or even why it wouldn’t. Next I want to bring it up on the board and show everyone their classmate’s ideas. I really like the idea of everyone working on the same document to build community and then being able to bring it up on the board and having it up on everyone’s iPads to be able to talk about it as a class.