Activity Introduction

hero- wheelbarrowQuick summary: The Enviroweek Green Thumb Action encourages students to create and care for green spaces. Students will be inspired to increase schoolyard biodiversity and care for existing green spaces. This resource is presented in three parts composed of individual activities.

Part 1 – Tune In: Students investigate the things plants need for survival by experimenting with seeds.

Part 2 – Act: Students plan and develop their own Green Thumb Challenge by “greening up” an area of their school or caring for an existing planting site.

Part 3 – Share: Students share their experiences and inspire other to take action.

EW_logo_2016Following this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in Enviroweek. You’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change. Simply sign in using your Cool Australia login details.

Learning goals:

  • Students begin to understand what plants need for survival.
  • Students begin to take some responsibility for local biodiversity.
  • Students plan simple projects for protecting local biodiversity.
  • Students communicate the importance of local biodiversity with the wider school community.

Year level: Primary (Foundation – Year 6).

Topic: Enviroweek – Green Thumb

Duration of activity:

Tune in

Act

Share

45 mins + a week of observation time

60 mins planning plus + Enviroweek

45 mins

Resources required: soil, seeds, tubs, tray, water, juice/milk and spoons, for each older students a printed copy of - Plant growth experiment observation and instruction sheet.

Homework and extension opportunities: Students may choose to investigate areas around their homes for animal habitats.

Safety: Students and teachers should take care to protect themselves when planting. Use equipment safety and watch out for biting insects.

Hot Tip: Try to get the whole school taking part in the Green Thumb Challenge for Enviroweek. You may need to seek approval from the Principal.

Keywords: conservation, habitat, ecosystem, student actions, biodiversity, animals, plants

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Foundation Science:

  • Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002)
  • Science involves exploring and observing the world using the senses (ACSHE013)

Year 1 Science:

  • Living things live in different places where their needs are met (ACSSU211)
  • Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables (ACSIS027)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS029)

Year 2 Science:

  • Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS042)
  • Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables (ACSIS040)

Foundation to Year 2 Visual Arts

  • Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design, including considering ideas in artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAVAM106)
  • Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107)
  • Create and display artworks to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAVAM108)

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)
  • Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends (ACSIS057)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215)
  • Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS060)

Year 4 Science

  • Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
  • Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends (ACSIS068)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS216)
  • Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS071)

Years 3 & 4 Visual Arts

  • Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks (ACAVAM111)
  • Present artworks and describe how they have used visual conventions to represent their ideas (ACAVAM112)

Year 5 Science

  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS086)
  • Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS090)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS218)
  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (ACSIS091)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS103)
  • Decide which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104)
  • Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS107)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS221)
  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (ACSIS108)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Years 5 & 6 Visual Arts

  • Develop and apply techniques and processes when making their artworks (ACAVAM115)
  • Plan the display of artworks to enhance their meaning for an audience (ACAVAM116)

Syllabus Outcomes: STe-4WS, ST1-4WS, ST2-4WS, ST3-4WS, STe-8NE, ST1-10LW, ST2-10LW, ST1-11LW, VAS1.1, VAS1.2, VAS2.1, VAS2.2, VAS3.1, VAS3.2

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priorities: Sustainability OI2.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Hero - vegetablesTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goals: In this activity students take action to increase the biodiversity of the school by planting and looking after a tree, shrub or grasses. They begin by conducting an experiment around planting seeds to see how seeds grow and what types of 'drinks' seeds need to grow into healthy plants. Students then communicate what they’ve done with the wider school community by creating a biodiversity diorama.

Teacher content information: For information about biodiversity - what it is, how it helps us and what we are doing to protect it, read this short article.

In this activity, students are to investigate plant life cycles and deduce what resources plants need for survival. Each student can plant their own seeds to water and grow into seedlings in preparation for planting in Enviroweek. Older children can experiment with different 'drinks' for their seeds, testing which substances in certain quantities creates the healthiest seedlings.

For some

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Student Worksheet

Let's get growing

Instructions for planting

1. Collect your small tubs (ensure that they have small holes in the bottom).
2. Place some gravel in the bottom and fill the rest of the container up with soil using a spoon.
3. Create a small hole in each tub with your finger about 2-3 cm deep. Place your seed inside, cover with soil and press the soil down lightly.
4. On each container write your name and the type of seed you planted. You could use sticky labels for this task.
5. Place your tubs in sunlight and water it once or twice a day.
6. At the end of each day record your observations (such as growth, no growth, looking healthy, looking unhealthy, colour of leaves etc) using the Growth Chart below.

Table 1: Growth chart

 

Seed 1

Seed 2

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

What do plants need to survive?

Act - Enviroweek Green Thumb Project Action Planning

In groups, you are to design

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