P1’s inquiry into plants as life-sustaining resources

Our P1 learners inquired into the central idea, ‘Our world depends on life-sustaining resources’ under the transdisciplinary theme, ‘Sharing the Planet’.

How did we do our inquiry?

Tuning in: “See, think, wonder “was used as an entry point for exploration and discussion as learners identified the picture provocation that showed bean sprouts. Their carefully considered observations were recorded to allow them to investigate further and ask questions. Student curiosity gave depth to our learning engagements as we included their questions to drive the inquiry.

Here are some student wonderings:

Is carrot a root or fruit? – Charline

Do all plants grow from seeds? – Diya

Why do plants need sunlight and water? – Mohamed

Why do bees do pollination? – Namanpreet

Finding out: Learners had a virtual garden visit with Ms. Shilpa as she explored the garden in her society to learn about the different types of plants. Next, Jayveer showed agency as he explained about the different kinds of plants in his garden. Ms. Sonia inspired our young learners to take some responsibility and grow some flowers and vegetables.

Sorting out: We inquired into the functions of roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits. Learners read the curated information slides shared by the teacher and learned to paraphrase by writing the important information gained using the visible thinking routine – 3-2-1 sheet where they wrote 3 new words, 2 facts and 1 illustration. We sorted veggies that grow below the ground or above the ground after listening to the read aloud- Tops and bottoms by Janet Stevens. Learners organized the veggies available at home into tops and bottoms.

Our virtual Google meet classroom was a wonderful catalyst for student questions and discussions. Learners observed the growth of onion, potato and garlic bulb grown by their teacher. They learned how plant parts can be used to regrow new plants. This made the children very excited about planting and growing their own plants.

Going further: Our students had the opportunity to plant in pots and test out their green thumbs. Together we each created a seed mini-book to observe and record data about plant growth and then later that day followed the steps to plant seeds. They shared their successes and failures and gave reasons why their plants did not sprout. Most believed it was due to too much or too little water. They were asked and redirected if they would like to try again and learn from their first experience.

This began a conversation about whose job it would be to take care of the plants. We talked about what it meant to be responsible (one of our related concepts) and what that looked like when caring for a plant. We went on two virtual garden tours; to Diya’s and Noyon’s gardens and interviewed their gardeners and learned some planting tips from them. Learners got an opportunity to learn about the gardening tools, growing plants from cuttings and tips on planting them. We discussed and co-constructed the question list for the gardeners to learn to care for plants.

  1. How many times do you water the plants? –  Hridhaan
  2. When do you add manure in the soil? – Diya
  3. Can we grow plants close to each other? – Jioh
  4. How many seeds do we need to add in a pot for a plant to grow? – Noyon
  5. How do plants give us air? -Aarav
  6. What time of the day do we need to water our plants? -Mohamed
  7. What kind of soil is best for planting? -Daniel

These first-hand learning experience helped them realize how plants must be handled with great care!

Local to Global connections: The teacher shared some interesting facts about the Indian national flower; the Lotus. Learners made connections by finding out and sharing information/facts about the national flowers of their countries.

Benefits of eating on a banana leaf were shared by the teachers and the learners shared their experiences as to how banana leaves are used in different ways. Some of our learners were risk-takers as they shared that they have never eaten food on banana leaf but would like to try it in the future. This is one thing to add to our list of face to face activities when we can return to school!

Charline: “Banana leaf is used to serve food in Thailand and China as well.”

Jayveer: “My mother uses banana leaf to cook fish.”

Taking action:

Learners reflected and made a promise to conserve our natural resources such as air, water and soil to make our planet a happy planet. The learners created posters to create awareness about recycling, growing a garden, saving electricity by switching off the lights and fans when not in use, using cloth bags for shopping, refusing to use plastic, reusing plastic, saving water etc.

We went on a treasure hunt at home to learn about the different uses of plant. Learners identified different items at home that were made using plants. After gaining knowledge about, how resources meet our needs, learners made responsible choices to make our Earth a happy planet. Learners were given different choices as to how can they take sustainable action giving them ownership of their learning and making connections with our school mission – Encourage Responsibility.

Focusing on our Definition of Learning and the principle of learning: “applicable”, here are some ideas and actions from our P1 learners:

Aarav: “I have cut two carrot tops to grow in my garden.”

Amy: ‘’I want to see what is coming out of the sweet potato”.

Charline:” I cut the onion and placed it in water with sticks. I hope it is going to grow.”

Daniel: “I chose to make handmade paper because there are many used papers in my house.”

Diya: “We collect all dry leaves from our garden and wet waste and give it to our society to make compost. We also separate things that we can recycle such as plastic, cardboard.”

Dongwon: “I made a composter for my plants.”

 Hridhaan: “I chose to make handmade paper because I wanted to use a mixer.”

Jude: “I planted a sweet potato and tomato seeds. I found a small worm in my soil.”

Mohamed: “I made a terrarium and placed my dinosaur next to it.”

Jioh: “I am making compost to make our Earth happy.”

Naman: “I have been growing and taking care of this potato plant for the past few days. Now it is big and strong.”

Noyon: “I am making compost because I want to help our Earth and make healthy snack for my plants.”

Raon:” I made handmade paper by recycling used paper. I am also growing lettuce plant”

Sua:” I chose to regrow vegetables because it is easy, and I can do it by myself and eat it.”

Omkaar: “I like to grow plants and my plants are growing big.”

Jayveer: “I planted seeds and I am taking care of my plants”

Giving students the opportunity to explore and actively engage with their learning gives them a more enriching experience and appreciation for what they are learning. Our grade 1 students are now better equipped to care for plants and the environment.

-Ms. Shilpa and Ms. Sonia

Team P1