The Daily Dirt

FoodCorps: A Peek Into The Lesson Planning Process


FoodCorps Service Member Rachel Waldron confronts the tricky business of contacting teachers during their already full schedules. The following email is her attempt to lesson plan on the go with a middle school agriscience teacher from the Clarke County School District.

Alright! This week has been a whirlwind what with the Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services of the USDA visiting a few days ago. My plan for next week’s lesson is as follows and includes a handy-dandy supplies list:

As a follow-up to last week’s plant part lesson, this week we will focus particularly on seeds and germination. How do plants actually grow and what do they need to survive? How do plants help people and how do humans, in turn, help plants? I want to make garden journals with the kids so that we can track the progress of their growing seeds over time.

I was thinking they could draw pictures and take notes on the growth of their seeds every few days after planting. Maybe they could also measure the height of their plants, count the seeds that have sprouted, note when seed leaves and then true leaves develop, etc.

Then, I want to do an actual planting activity. I’ve got pea seeds which are great since they grow so quickly; I thought we could use those. I will talk about how to plant seeds–planting depth, maybe touch on seasonality, reinforce what seeds need to grow and explain how we will help the seeds throughout their growth cycle. I will come up with a simple representation of this maintenance plan for the kids to put in their own garden journals.

I will also have back-up seed sorting activities if time permits. I have a ton of out-of-date  vegetable seeds that are great for making comparisons and contrasts. Its a great opener to talking about seed families, seed dispersal, etc. I still need to do a little more development on this part of the lesson before Monday…

As for supplies, we will definitely need some, but I’m hoping that a lot of these things are already in your classroom and/or greenhouse. Anything you don’t already have I will pick up this weekend. I have seeds, for sure. We will also need soil and planting containers (something like those 6 cell plastic ones, I would like each kid to plant several seeds) for the planting portion of the lesson. For the journals, we will need sheets of construction paper (one per student) and white copy paper (probably 3 per student), a stapler to put them together and markers for decorating the covers of the journals.

What do you think would be the best location for this? Obviously if the weather is yucky, we can do it inside, but I would like to get outside with the kids if possible. Would there be room to do this in the greenhouse or out in the garden?

Would it be possible for me to either come before school on Monday or during your first period lesson in order to set up? I don’t think that there will be a ton of set up required, but I will need to do at least some before the first class arrives at 9:30.

I apologize for the long email — my plans always get more detailed when I actually go to write them down. Just let me know what supplies you already have, and I will prepare the rest. I can’t wait to work with your classes again this coming week!


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