Curriculum

How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow?

How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow?

How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 2 standards. It has a focus on life science, with a secondary focus on engineering design. In this module, students:

  • Ask questions about what plant habitats have that help plants live, grow, and reproduce
  • Investigate whether plants need light and water to grow
  • Design a hand pollinator based on bee structure and function
  • Analyze data about plant and animal ranges to identify patterns
  • Engage in argumentation, based on information from a map, about the best place for new plants in a schoolyard
  • Construct an explanation for why there are fewer and fewer grand spider orchids every year

Below are digital resources that support teaching this module.

Lesson 1: Plants and Places

Ada Asks: Introduction (1:17)
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This video introduces the module with photos of plants in different habitats.

Grand Spider Orchid
Download PDF
This file introduces the module phenomenon of an orchid in Australia that is facing population decline.

Lesson 2: Plant Parts

Tomato Plant Parts
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This file shows photos of tomato plant parts.

Lesson 3: Plan It Out

Radish Growth (0:15)
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This video shows time-lapse footage of radish seedlings growing.

Taping Labels to Dishes
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This file shows students how to tape labels onto their petri dishes so that the labels remain visible throughout the investigation.

Lesson 4: Sunshine and Rain

Claim and Evidence
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This file shows an example of using claim and evidence to answer a question.

Orchid Habitat
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This file shows the grand spider orchid habitat and range.

Lesson 5: Flower to Flower

Plenty of Pollinators (1:07)
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This video shows different types of animals pollinating flowers.

Orchid Pollinator
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This file shows a photo of the specific wasp species that is the only pollinator for the grand spider orchid.

Orchid Pollination (0:40)
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This video shows a wasp and orchid interacting.

Beautiful Blooms
https://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibitions/beautiful-blooms/pollination
This website shows stamps of pollinators and plants.

Lesson 6: A Gardener’s Gadget

Ada Asks: A Gardener's Gadget (2:22)
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This video introduces the problem of declining native pollinator populations and how hand pollinators might provide a solution.

Design a Hand Pollinator
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This file provides the directions for designing a hand pollinator.

Lesson 7: Hitching a Ride

Traveling Plants
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This file shows photos of habitats with a wide variety of plants mixed together.

Mammals (0:41)
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This video shows mammals with fur walking around their habitats.

Wind (0:34)
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This video shows wind blowing.

Seeds
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This file shows images of the three kinds of seeds used in the activity. It also shows images of both kinds of mystery seeds, and images of orchid seeds.

Lesson 8: Home on the Range

Home on the Range
Play simulation
This simulation enables students to explore where animals and plants live and how their ranges overlap.

Orchid System
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This file shows where the grand spider orchid and wasp ranges overlap and photos of the two different kinds of habitats.

Lesson 9: Place That Plant! Part 1

Ada Asks: Science Challenge (1:57)
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This video introduces the Science Challenge.

Schoolyard Map
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This file shows the schoolyard map students will use in the Science Challenge.

Kit Tips & Tricks