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Plants are AMAZING!

This year for grade 4 science, my daughter had to study plants. Rather than purchase a curriculum, I built a curriculum out of assorted resources. I absolutely love doing this kind of thing. It must be a personality quirk. I would much rather create my own curriculum than teach something out of a box. Which is funny because when I started my homeschool journey several years ago, I was terrified of doing my own thing. I guess that just goes to show you how you can grow as a homeschooler!

Here’s a peek at how I planned a complete unit on plants.

Check out this detailed homeschool unit study on plants! #homeschooling Click To Tweet

Notebooking

I always include a notebooking journal when we do unit studies. Notebooking is a fabulous way to document your child’s learning. It requires them to write their about their studies, thoughts, and experiences.

For the purpose of this unit study, I made a plant study notebooking journal with prompts which focus around the grade four curriculum standards here in Alberta. I included various questions, places for diagrams, and a collection of vocabulary words which my daughter had to research.

Check out this beautiful and complete 21-page plant study notebooking set!

Hands-on experiences

A unit on plants is the perfect opportunity for various hands-on experiences. My daughter did the following activities over the past eight weeks:

  • planted seeds
  • watered the garden
  • pulled weeds
  • picked peas and raspberries
  • investigated runners (from strawberry plants) in our backyard

Science experiments & exploration

We did a couple science experiments during this unit too. We planted sunflower seeds in three cups, then we cared for these plants in different ways:

  • one was left in a sunny location and regularly watered
  • one was left in a sunny location but not watered
  • one was watered but placed in a dark cupboard

Predictions were made and the plants were observed.

The other activity my girls enjoyed was looking at plant specimens with magnifying glasses and under the microscope. With one plant specimen, they were able to observe tiny aphids crawling on a leaf!

Books

Every quality unit study consists of a variety of books. Here are some of our favourite books that we explored throughout this unit:

Rowed the book “The Tree Lady”

We enjoyed rowing the book, The Tree Lady, which is a beautiful picture book about the life of American botanist, horticulturalist, and landscape architect, Katherine Olivia Sessions (also known as the “Mother of Balboa Park” in San Diego).

We did many of the suggested activities and both of my girls loved the stunning pictures in this book. There’s a fabulous, short YouTube video on Katherine Olivia Sessions HERE.

DVDs

There are so many educational plant DVDs available! Here are a few of our favourites which we watched during this unit:

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Plants

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Flowers

The Magic School Bus (assorted episodes)

YouTube videos

We also discovered some fabulous YouTube videos throughout this unit. I organized our favourites into a YouTube playlist.

Field trips

Our field trips for this unit included excursions to a local botanical garden, greenhouses, my parent’s lake lot, as well as walks through the river valley and local parks. We were also very fortunate to be able to attend a presentation at the library about plants!

Extra activities

I loved this online activity, The Great Plant Escape. My daughter had to answer the questions correctly to “solve” the mystery. This site also had some wonderful additional activity ideas (like instructions on how to grow lettuce indoors).

The National Geographic website has some great plant-related content for kids too. Here are a few of our favourites:

Reflect:

Have you done a unit study on plants? What kind of activities did you do? I invite you to tell us all about it and then share this post with your homeschool communities.

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of Deliberate Homeschooling, The Deliberate Mom and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about her homeschooling journey and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.
 
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