Implementation of "A Head Start Learning about Plants" program

Educator Name: Robin Goedderz
School Name: Oaklawn Elementary School

"A Head Start Learning about Plants" I will use ceramic planters shaped in the forms of a variety of human heads to interest students in grades K-5 in a whole school community-building, planting project. These planters will be placed in prominent locations throughout the school (by the front doors, in the main office, principal's office, cafeteria, media center, etc...) A team of 10 students (1-2 from each grade level, k-5) will be challenged to come together to choose plants to be placed in their planter. They will need to do research on the different plants to decide which plants will work best for their desired "hair" effect on the planter. For example, a spiky plant will give the effect of a "punk rocker" versus a long, trailing plant will give the effect of a girl with long hair. Student teams will become emotionally attached to their planter and will need to work together to meet the basic growing needs of their selected plants. They will design a weekly care schedule and responsibility chart for their plants. They will collect data on their plant's weekly growth and how much they have watered their plant. They will also use their classroom IPAD to take weekly pictures to document the growth of their plants. They will meet once a month throughout the school year to complete additional team-building type of academic challenges so that they continue to learn and also continue to bond and develop inter-grade friendships. These challenges will add more personality to their planter. Some examples include: An art challenge to design a necklace or earrings for their "bust", a literacy challenge would be to name their planter and give it human characteristics and to write a back story. A science challenge might be to add an herb or vegetable (cilantro or lettuce, for example) to the planter and write an invitation to other students to taste the herb during lunch time. The long-term goals of this innovative program are to develop strong bonds among students of all ages so that we reduce bullying on the playground and on our busses. In addition, two K-4 science objectives in The Wisconsin Model Academic Standards in Science will be met naturally and holistically by doing this project: F.4.1 Discover how each organism meets its basic needs for water, nutrients, protection, and energy in order to survive and F.4.2 Investigate how organisms, especially plants, respond to both internal cues (the need for water) and external cues (change in the environment). These science goals will be reinforced year after year because this program will continue each year.