FREE Elementary Curriculum, Ready for Use!

May 31, 2011 | 4:05 pm

The Nutrients for Life Foundation recently launched its elementary version of the successful middle and high school plant and soil science curriculum, “Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century.” It was developed with, and tested by, science teachers like you.

What will my students learn?

How does the curriculum meet science standards?

What’s Next?

How do I get a copy of the curriculum?

 

What will my students learn?

The elementary curriculum is made up of five lessons that teach your students about the essential nutrients plants need to grow, why it’s important to improve the health of soil and how to relate those nutrients to their own growth. The lessons are as follows:

  • Plants Around You
  • Properties of Soil
  • Plant Soil Interactions
  • Plant Growth Affects the Soil
  • How Does Your Garden Grow

To learn more about the lessons included in our elementary curriculum, click here for the full outline.

How does the curriculum meet science standards?

Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century supports teachers in their efforts to reform science education in the spirit of the National Academy of Science’s 1996 National Science Education Standards (NSES). The content is explicitly standards-based. A few of the specific standards that the curriculum meets are:

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry
  • The characteristics of organisms
  • Life cycles of organisms
  • Organisms and their environment
  • Properties of earth materials
  • Types of resources
  • Changes in environments

(For a full list of standards met, review Table 003 in the curriculum.)

The suggested teaching strategies in all of the lessons support you as you work to meet the teaching standards outlined in the National Science Education Standards. This module helps science teachers plan an inquiry-based science program by providing short-term objectives for students. It also includes planning tools for teaching the module, such as conceptual flow of the lessons and suggested timelines. The focus on active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning in the lessons helps support the development of student understanding and nurtures a community of science learners.

The structure of the lessons enables you to guide and facilitate learning. All the activities encourage and support student inquiry, promote discourse among students, and challenge students to accept and share responsibility for their learning. The use of the BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study) 5E Instructional Model, combined with active, collaborative learning, allows you to respond effectively to students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles. The module is fully annotated, with suggestions for how you can encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry and foster curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism.

What’s Next?

The Nutrients for Life foundation is currently working on a virtual classroom piece to complement the curriculum. The virtual classroom will feature Dee McKenna as the host, who is also the author of our blog. Dee will interview horticulturists, farmers, and more to help students relate the information they learn in the classroom to the real world. As a master gardener, former agricultural educator, and a stay at home mom with three girls who like to play in her garden, Dee will add value to each lesson you teach in the classroom.

How do I get a copy of the curriculum?

Our curriculum is available free of charge to anyone who requests it. Visit our curriculum page online to order a hard copy that will be delivered to you or you can download an electronic version instantly.