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Finland Inspired Unit


After reviewing everything I had seen, experienced and learned in Finland I decided that
the best way to synthesize the educational philosophies I saw would be student focused learning.
Because of that I felt the best way to try and apply those skills to a U.S. classroom would be to
create a unit that could be completely customizable to the students in your classroom. Below is
an overview of my lessons. I have tried to connect my unit to most major subjects to show how
to differentiate in a variety subject areas. As well as incorporate a lot of integration between
subjects which was a pattern common in Finnish classes I visited and that I read about. I also
focused on experiential lessons and making things as hands on as possible. Throughout each
learning guide I have written in footnotes to explain my reasoning and to give options of how to
customise the lesson to each classroom.
4th Grade Science Unit on Local Plants, Soil and Growing
Understanding: Understanding how to grow plants gives you a deeper connection to your food.
Essential Question: Is it important to learn to learn to grow plants?
Lesson #1: The Layers of the Soil
Page 2
subject(s): Science and Visual Arts
time: 40 minutes
Lesson #2: Where to Plant in Utah and Why?
Page 4
subject(s): Science and Social Studies
Time: 60 minutes
Lesson #3: Plants of Utah
Page 9
subject(s): Science and English Language Arts
Time: 40 minutes
Lesson #4: What to plant and why?
Page 12
subject(s): Science and Health Education
Time: 45 minutes
Lesson #5: Making a Classroom Garden
Page 15
subject(s): Math, Science and English Language
Time: 2 class periods and ongoing data gathering
Additional lesson from previous unit to give context: Dance and Landforms Page

Lesson #1
Lesson Title: The Layers of the Soil

Grade Level: 4th


State Standards Connection:
Science
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
a. Observe simple objects and patterns and report
their observations.
c. Make simple predictions and inferences based
upon observations.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
a. Know science information specified for their
grade level.
Standard 3: Students will understand the basic properties of rocks, the processes
involved in the formation of soils, and the needs of plants provided by soil.
Objective 3: Observe the basic components of soil and relate the
components to plant growth.
b. Diagram or model a soil profile showing topsoil,
subsoil, and bedrock, and how the layers differ in composition.
Visual Arts
Standard 4 (Contextualizing): The student will interpret and apply visual arts in
relation to cultures, history, and all learning.
Objective 3: Recognize the connections of visual arts to all
learning.
b. Explain how scientific information can be
communicated by visual art.
Specific Lesson Objective: Students will be able to make predictions and effectively
communicate their finding about which layer of soil goes in what order.
Lesson Purpose: For students to gain an understanding of the soil make up.
Vocabulary Focus:
topsoil
bedrock
subsoil
Materials:
bags/clear tupperware with bedrock (or as close as you can recreate it)
bags/clear tupperware with topsoil
bags/clear tupperware with subsoil
science journals
containers that will be used as mini gardens for the students
Anticipated Time Frame: 40 minutes
Engage and Launch: (5 minutes)

Tell a story about digging in your yard to put in sprinklers and the different things
you dug through. You can talk about where you found worms and how as you got deeper
you had to dig the more rocks you hit.
think pair share1 Ask the kids if they think they know why that is? If they have
noticed this before?
Have the kids get out their science journals and explain that they will be drawing
labeled pictures, writing predictions and working together as a table group2 but everyone
will need the information recorded in their own math journal.
Teacher Role: Asks questions, assesses prior knowledge, provide information needed for
explore phase
Student Role: Gains interest, calls upon prior knowledge, develops a need to know,
identifies a problem to solve
Explore/Do: (10 minutes)
Hand each group a bag of each type of soil. Have them do a quick sketch3 of the
soils.
Have them look closely at each type of soil and make observations about what
types of materials make up the soil, is it more rocks? more plants?
Have them draw another sketch of what order they think the layers would be if
they were still in the ground. Make sure they also write their reasoning for it did their
observations from the previous question help them pick the order?
Teacher Role: Makes open suggestions; Questions and probes; Provides feedback; Assesses
understanding and processes
Student Role: Explores resources and materials; Hypothesizes and predicts; Records
observations and ideas; Seeks possibilities by thinking creatively
Explain/Summarize: (10 minutes)
Gather the class for a discussion about their observations and predictions.
Explain
topsoil- the fertile upper part of the soil. The closest to the surface
soil.
subsoil- the bed of earth or earthy material immediately under the
surface soil.
bedrock- the bottom most layer of soil, the solid rock base.
See if the students can predict where plants grow best and let this lead to a brief
discussion of how they came to that conclusion.
1 You can pair the students up in groups based on similar ability or different in order to get the best
results from your class.

2 They dont have to work in table groups if those are too large or not as efficient as assigned groups.
3 This is to appeal to visual as well as kinesthetic learners

Teacher Role: Asks for clarification and evidence from students; Enhances or clarifies
student explanations; uses students experiences as a basis for explaining new concepts;
provides new vocabulary; evaluates student explanations.
Student Role: Clarifies understandings discovered; Shares understandings for feedback;
Communicates understanding using recorded observations (writing and drawings); Forms
generalizations; Seeks new explanations
Elaborate/Extend: (10 minutes)
Explain that the students will all be putting together their own mini gardens.
Give each of the students a container4 have them work with their groups to use the
soil that was in the bags to fill their container.
Teacher Role: Asks questions; Poses new problems and issues; Offers alternative
explanations
Student Role: Applies new knowledge by performing related tasks; Asks questions; Plans
and carries out new project; Records observations and explanations
Evaluate/Assess: (5 minutes)
Have the students draw and label a picture of their container in their journal
Have them write a 3,2,1 in their journals5
3 things they would like to plant/do with their container
2 things they learned
1 question they have or one idea to do next
Teacher Role: Observe and assess students; Asks open-ended questions; Allows students to
assess their own learning and skills
Student Role: Demonstrate an understanding of a skill or concepts; Evaluates his/her own
progress and knowledge; Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence,
and previously accepted explanations

Lesson #2
Lesson Title: Where to Plant in Utah and Why?
Grade Level: 4th
State Standards Connections:
4 This can be one container per table, per pair or per person depending on if your class can/needs to
work on working together.

5 These questions can be revised depending on your students previous knowledge and if they seemed to
be understanding more or less than expected. They can also be modified to a 1,1,1 question for students
who struggle with writing or need a bit more modification or a 3,3,3 for early finishers.

Science
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
c. Make simple predictions and inferences based
upon observations.
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
a. Demonstrate a sense of curiosity about nature.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
a. Know science information specified for their
grade level.
Standard 5: Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah's
wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment.
Objective 2: Describe the common plants and animals found in
Utah environments and how these organisms have adapted to the environment in
which they live.
a. Identify common plants and animals that inhabit
Utah's forests, wetlands, and deserts
Social Studies
Standard 1: Students will understand the relationship between the physical
geography in Utah and human life.
Objective 2
Analyze how physical geography affects human life
in Utah.
Time: 60 minutes
Specific Lesson Objective: Students will be able to make connections between where plants
are found, why they grow best there and how those differences affected how people settled
Utah
Lesson Purpose: For students to understand that different plants grow best in different places
and those places have influenced where people live now.
Key Vocabulary:
sagebrush, pinyon pine, Utah juniper, spruce, fir, oak brush, quaking aspen, cottonwood, cattail,
bulrush, prickly pear cactus
Materials:

Pictures / plants (online or in person) of the vocabulary words


Pictures / examples of crops the early settlers grew
Topographic map of Utah
Science journals
Projector / doc cam
A large outline of the state of utah on the floor made out of tape

Background information
This lesson is part of a unit that comes after the students have learned about the three
landforms of Utah (Uintah Basin, Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau).
Engage and Launch: (15 minutes)
Have students get out of their seats and create a living map of Utah (from
previous unit attached on page 19)6
Have them take their seats and do a think pair share within their tables of what are
some characteristics of the different landforms.
Bring the class back together and share out brief definitions of the different
landforms.
Ask if any of them have heard the phrase, this is the place before. Talk about
how when the pioneers first came here they looked out over the valley and decided they
wanted to settle here. Make sure to show on them where the pioneers came in and relate it
to the landforms so they know where you are talking about.
Teacher Role: Asks questions, assesses prior knowledge, provide information needed for
explore phase
Student Role: Gains interest, calls upon prior knowledge, develops a need to know,
identifies a problem to solve
Explore/Do: (30 minutes)7
Ask the students why they may have wanted to settle in the valley?
Project a topographical map of Utah on the board
Once they have been reminded of the different landforms and the idea that a
landscape was so powerful to make people stop wanting to move have the students talk
within their tables and go over where they would want to live in our state if they could
pick anywhere.
1. Make sure they have at least three reasons why and have them
write these in their journals
2. Also make sure at least one of those reasons has something to do
with the landforms/environment
3. Once they have talked to their groups and written their reasons
have them go to the large map and stand where they would like to live.
6 To engage the students kinesthetic mind and to give them a chance to move. Students in Finland get
hours more recess and free time within a week and many of the teachers credit that for why their students
are so engaged in their lessons, are good students and are happy to come to school. Building this
movement time into everyday lessons in our classrooms could create the idea of a fun and creative
learning environment which was considered invaluable in Finland.

7 This part could also be done in centers:


The work with the topographic map and large floor map
Guessing which landform and region the plants belong to
Guessing which crops prefer which area

Bring the class back together and discuss why they choose where they did8. Tie it
into the plants and different types of crops you may be able to grow in the different areas.
1. For example:
if they say they like the valley because they are
close to the water ask what they could use the water for?
If they say they want to be in the desert because it is
warm ask if they think it would be a good place to grown food because of
the sun
Pull out the pictures of the different plants of utah and ask if the students think
they can guess what area they may come from. Hand out plants/pictures to each group
and have them write which region they come from and why9.
Switch the pictures out with photos/examples of crops the early settlers planted
and grew and repeat the activity.
Teacher Role: Makes open suggestions; Questions and probes; Provides feedback; Assesses
understanding and processes
Student Role: Explores resources and materials; Hypothesizes and predicts; Records
observations and ideas; Seeks possibilities by thinking creatively
Explain/Summarize: (10 minutes)
Gather the class10 for a discussion about their findings go over similarities and
differences.
Explain:
How some plants prefer different climates
How some plants prefer different amounts of light
Teacher Role: Asks for clarification and evidence from students; Enhances or clarifies
student explanations; uses students experiences as a basis for explaining new concepts;
provides new vocabulary; evaluates student explanations.
Student Role: Clarifies understandings discovered; Shares understandings for feedback;
Communicates understanding using recorded observations (writing and drawings); Forms
generalizations; Seeks new explanations
Elaborate/Extend: (7 minutes)

8 Bringing in the kids personal connections and preferences is a way to connect and let their comments
direct the lesson while still staying on topic. This lets you differentiate based on interest and get to know
your students better.

9 Students can be asked to write one copy per group or individually and they may also be given the
option of drawing a picture in their science journal.

10 You can also have students do a think pair share, or have each group present their observations to the
class.

have students write why they think the settlers choose what is now the Salt Lake
Valley to settle using at least one reason having to do with plants and one reason having
to do with landscape
Have them also write down which of all the different types of plants they looked
at were their favorites (pick 3)
Teacher Role: Asks questions; Poses new problems and issues; Offers alternative
explanations
Student Role: Applies new knowledge by performing related tasks; Asks questions; Plans
and carries out new project; Records observations and explanations
Evaluate/Assess: (ongoing)
Use the activity they did in extend as an exit ticket
Look over the writings from throughout the lesson and double check that they
were keeping up11.
Informal assessments as you walk around and oversee each group and fill out
form below12 to mark and make sure everyone is involved
Write down predictions
Writing observations (each
person)
Is everyone actively
engaged?
Working together?

Teacher Role: Observe and assess students; Asks open-ended questions; Allows students to
assess their own learning and skills
Student Role: Demonstrate an understanding of a skill or concepts; Evaluates his/her own
progress and knowledge; Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence,
and previously accepted explanations
Lesson #3
Lesson Title: Plants of Utah
Grade Level: 4th
State Standards Connection
Science
11 This is also a good time to be able to make suggestions and individual accommodations. Let them
know that for the next activity they should push themselves to find 5 reasons the settlers stayed or only
write their favorite plant instead of top three.

12 This form can be used anytime the students are working in small groups.

Intended Learning Outcomes:


1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
c. Make simple predictions and inferences based
upon observations.
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
a. Demonstrate a sense of curiosity about nature.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
a. Know science information specified for their
grade level.
Standard 5: Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah's
wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment.
Objective 2: Describe the common plants and animals found in
Utah environments and how these organisms have adapted to the environment in
which they live.
a. Identify common plants and animals that inhabit
Utah's forests, wetlands, and deserts
English Language
Reading: Informational Text Standard 2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported
by key details; summarize the text.
Writing Standard 2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey
ideas and information clearly.
Speaking and Listening Standard 4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an
organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to
support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
Specific Lesson Objective: Students will be able to communicate facts and information about
native plants and where they grow in Utah
Lesson Purpose: For students to gain an understanding of a native plant(s) and communicate
those ideas
Vocabulary Focus:
sagebrush, pinyon pine, Utah juniper, spruce, fir, oak brush, quaking aspen,
cottonwood, cattail, bulrush, prickly pear cactus
Materials:
Access to youtube
Science journals
Books about the native plants
Pictures of the vocabulary words (or Red Butte Gradens has a box that you can
check out with most of these plants dried in frames that the students can look at with
facts)
Magnifying glasses

10

Large poster board/chart paper


Anticipated Time Frame: 40 minutes
Engage and Launch: (10 minutes)
Watch time lapse video of plants growing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsgHYfulv2g (desert)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcrbQEmfX5k (torrey pine)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4GcG1St37E (cactus)
Review the different plants that you first heard about last class. Also talk about
what you know it takes to grow things
Teacher Role: Asks questions, assesses prior knowledge, provide information needed for
explore phase
Student Role: Gains interest, calls upon prior knowledge, develops a need to know,
identifies a problem to solve
Explore/Do: (15-20 minutes)
Have the students get into groups and look over pictures to place them into where
they think they would be found13.
Once they have done that assign each group 1 or 2 of the native plants to research.
They will record their findings in their science journals they should include:
A sketch of the plant(s)
Where they are found
How much sun it likes (if they can)
How much water it likes (if they can)
Some of the basic characteristics so it can easily be identified
The students will have to present these ideas to the class14 so they will need to
work within their groups to create posters to share with the rest of the class.
Teacher Role: Makes open suggestions; Questions and probes; Provides feedback; Assesses
understanding and processes
Student Role: Explores resources and materials; Hypothesizes and predicts; Records
observations and ideas; Seeks possibilities by thinking creatively
Explain/Summarize: (10-15 minutes)
Have the kids come together to present their information about their plants.
Make any corrections as needed and make sure to allow time for
questions from their peers

13 This is similar to the last lesson so dont spend much time on it but it allows you the chance to see
how much they remember as well as give you a jumping off point to start the lesson.

14 Or they can present as individuals to part of the class so everyone finds the information but isnt
worried about the large group or this helps if you are pressed with time.

11

Once they have presented have the students group the plants based on region
where they are found.15
See what kinds of similarities there are between plants that grow in the same
region not only based on the information but also based on the description and
observations about the plants.
Teacher Role: Asks for clarification and evidence from students; Enhances or clarifies
student explanations; uses students experiences as a basis for explaining new concepts;
provides new vocabulary; evaluates student explanations.
Student Role: Clarifies understandings discovered; Shares understandings for feedback;
Communicates understanding using recorded observations (writing and drawings); Forms
generalizations; Seeks new explanations
Elaborate/Extend: (5 minutes)
Ask the students to explain where they would place the different kinds of plants if
you were to grow them at school.
For example
Desert plants may do well near a classroom window
where they get lots of sun and not rain
Forest plants may do better outside but near the
school, this way they get shade from the school but more moisture
Throughout the lesson assess how students are working within small groups and
do a quick checklist as the present that they met all the qualifications.
Their homework would be to do a short write up on the plant as if to an alien who
couldnt see it. Thus making them explain the look as much as where to find it.
Teacher Role: Asks questions; Poses new problems and issues; Offers alternative
explanations
Student Role: Applies new knowledge by performing related tasks; Asks questions; Plans
and carries out new project; Records observations and explanations
Evaluate/Assess: (ongoing)
Throughout the lesson assess how students are working within small groups and
do a quick checklist as the present that they met all the qualifications.
Check their homework
Teacher Role: Observe and assess students; Asks open-ended questions; Allows students to
assess their own learning and skills
Student Role: Demonstrate an understanding of a skill or concepts; Evaluates his/her own
progress and knowledge; Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence,
and previously accepted explanations
15 They could even be groups by placing them in the correct region on the tape map on the floor that was
created for the first lesson and unit before.

12

Lesson #4
Lesson Title: What to Plant and Why?
Grade Level: 4th
State Standards Connection:
Science
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
c. Make simple predictions and inferences based
upon observations.
h. Use observations to construct a reasonable
explanation.
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
a. Demonstrate a sense of curiosity about nature.
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and
Reasoning
b. Report observation with pictures, sentences, and
models.
Standard 5: Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah's
wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment.
Objective 2: Describe the common plants and animals found in
Utah environments and how these organisms have adapted to the environment in
which they live.
a. Identify common plants and animals that inhabit
Utah's forests, wetlands, and deserts
Health Education
Standard 6: The students will understand how a healthy diet and exercise can
increase the likelihood of physical and mental wellness.
Objective 1: Specify key vitamins and minerals and their
functions
C. Name foods rich in key vitamins and minerals.
D. Identify nutritional problems related to vitamin
and/or mineral deficiencies.
Time: 45 minutes

13

Specific Lesson Objective: Students will be able to identify nutritious fruits and vegetables and
be able to effectively explain what vitamins they contain/ why they are healthy as well as how to
grow them
Lesson Purpose: For students to gain an understanding of a healthy foods they can grow
themselves
Key Vocabulary:
Vitamin, antioxidant, fiber, protiens and carbs (introduced in earlier lesson), carrots, radish,
lettuce, beets, green peas, partial sun, full sun, shade
Materials:
Science Journals
Basic map of where they could put a classroom garden (this could mean a map of
your whole school or just a map of the classroom or perhaps something in between
including the classroom and certain parts of the school).
Doc-Cam or overhead
Book: The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
Pictures of the vegetables talked about in the book and large chart paper (one set
per group)
Before the Lesson: Go over expectations for working in groups and review classroom rules if
needed.
Phase I (5 minutes):
I will assess prior knowledge by asking if they know why it is important to eat
fruits and vegetables? If they have a garden at their home or if they are a part of a
community garden.
Relate to the reasons they have a garden, check in and see if they
grow foods see if they eat food that they or someone they know grows
Ask if they feel different when they eat more fruits and vegetables
than when they dont?
Introduce vocabulary words relating to fruits and vegetables, their vitamins and
sun preferences yet
Transition to Phase II:
Have students get out their science journal and do a quick think pair share to
review what they learned in the last lesson about plants having different preferences to
grow best.
Read the book asking questions along the way, make sure you pick excerpts to
read it can be hard to read cover to cover but the information is worth it

14

Ask about meals the kids have had with these food
When she talks about where foods like to grow relate it back to
where they could grow around your school
Phase II (20 minutes):
Have students get into groups. Give each group a piece of large chart paper
already separated into multiple sections16. The picture below shows one way to organize
the students papers.

Label the categories based on light needed, growing season and what types of
health benefits and vitamins they contain.
Give the students a map of the school and go through together17 and draw in
where gets full sun where gets partial using the symbols commonly used on plants (image

below)

Transition to phase III:


Explain final project and go over expectations for group work as needed.
Phase III (20 minutes):

16 You can have this done or let students do it themselves. Also you can organize it like shown in the
picture or a venn diagram style. You can also give students photos of the plants and vegetables or you
can have them write the name in the category depending on your kids.

17 You can have students guess where each symbol would go first or go through as a whole class

15

Have the students work in groups18 to come up with where they would plant the
vegetables on the school grounds. Their plans should include
Include at least 519 of the plants we talked about today
drawing in flower beds
Drawing and labeling what plant goes where
The reasons for planting them where they are
The sun levels in each location on the map
At least 1 health benefit of the plant they picked
Make sure the students know the material and feel comfortable to present their
garden proposals at the beginning of next class

Lesson #5
Lesson Title: Making a Classroom Garden
Grade Level: 4th
State Standards Connection
Mathematics
4.MD.A Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements
from a larger unit to a smaller unit.
3.
Apply the area and perimeter formulas for
rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the
width of a rectangular room given the area of the flooring and the length,
by viewing the area formula as a multiplication equation with an unknown
factor.
4.MD.B Represent and interpret data
4.
Make a line plot to display a data set of
measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems
involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information
presented in line plots. For example, from a line plot find and interpret the
difference in length between the longest and shortest specimens in an
insect collection.
Science
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
18 Students can come up with one map per person or per group
19 This number can be adjusted if you add more or less plants that you cover and for struggling and high
achieving students

16

e. Use instruments to measure length, temperature,


volume, and weight using appropriate units.
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and
Reasoning
a. Record data accurately when given the
appropriate form and format (e.g., table, graph, chart).
b. Report observation with pictures, sentences, and
models.
Standard 3: Students will understand the basic properties of rocks, the processes
involved in the formation of soils, and the needs of plants provided by soil.
Objective 3: Observe the basic components of soil and relate the
components to plant growth.
b. Diagram or model a soil profile showing topsoil,
subsoil, and bedrock, and how the layers differ in composition.
English Language
Speaking and Listening Standard 4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an
organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to
support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
Writing Standard 10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research,
reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)
for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Specific Lesson Objective: For students to gain an the skills to be able to explain how to make a
garden for themselves or to explain how to make one to someone else
Lesson Purpose: Students will be able to effectively communicate why it is important to eat
healthy food and how to grow it yourself
Vocabulary Focus:
area , perimeter20, volume
Materials:
Science Journals
Graph paper
The students maps of their community garden ideas
Soil
seads/plants native and vegetables
Wood
Nails
Hammers
parent/para volunteers for each group the second day
Anticipated Time Frame: 2 class periods and gather data throughout the year
20 Students will have already been introduced to these concepts but this is when they will be applying
them in a real world context.

17

Engage and Launch: (20 minutes)


Explain that as a class you will be voting on a plan for a school/classroom garden.
You can either pick one group's idea or take parts of multiple proposals and combine
them to create the final project.
Have the students get back into their groups from last lesson and quickly review
their classroom garden proposals
Have the groups present their proposals and ask questions assessing their
knowledge.
pick/come up with final garden layout
Teacher Role: Asks questions, assesses prior knowledge, provide information needed for
explore phase
Student Role: Gains interest, calls upon prior knowledge, develops a need to know,
identifies a problem to solve
Explore/Do: (15-20 minutes)
Assign each group one part of the garden to work on.
The size of the raised beds (area and perimeter)
How much soil is needed21
What types of plants would grow best in the light in the area they
are assigned
All of the types of plants that could grow in that area both
vegetables, fruits and native Utah plants talked about in lesson #2
Teacher Role: Makes open suggestions; Questions and probes; Provides feedback; Assesses
understanding and processes
Student Role: Explores resources and materials; Hypothesizes and predicts; Records
observations and ideas; Seeks possibilities by thinking creatively
Explain/Summarize: (30 minutes)
Have the groups present to each other to help answer any questions or isseues the
groups have run into
Go over any questions they might have
Review soil composition and create a supply list for soil
Teacher Role: Asks for clarification and evidence from students; Enhances or clarifies
student explanations; uses students experiences as a basis for explaining new concepts;
provides new vocabulary; evaluates student explanations.
Student Role: Clarifies understandings discovered; Shares understandings for feedback;
Communicates understanding using recorded observations (writing and drawings); Forms
generalizations; Seeks new explanations
Elaborate/Extend: (5-10 minutes day one 45 day two)
21 This could be area to fill each box or for students excelling this could be an introduction into volume.

18

Day 1:
Have each group create a supply list including how much wood they would need
(perimeter)
Have final plans which include labeled pictures, and supply list on graph paper
Day 2:
Go over safety rules when using tools22
Have groups work with the volunteer adult to build and fill their raised beds.
Have them take pictures along the way and draw diagrams of what they are doing
in their science journals
Plant the boxes and have them record what plants they planted and their initial
size, this will be an ongoing table that they will record the measurement, and growth
every week. Measurements will need to be recorded in their journals in metric units so
students will need to convert measurements as they go.23
Teacher Role: Asks questions; Poses new problems and issues; Offers alternative
explanations
Student Role: Applies new knowledge by performing related tasks; Asks questions; Plans
and carries out new project; Records observations and explanations
Evaluate/Assess: (ongoing)
Assess their presentations
Look over their proposed plans for their box make sure you can see work from
each student shown on this paper
Have students leave their journals so you can look over their tables, drawings and
work for all the problems
If you can have the each class put together a final presentation for the school to
explain the rules of the school garden, what is planted and how students from other
classes can get involved.
Teacher Role: Observe and assess students; Asks open-ended questions; Allows students to
assess their own learning and skills
Student Role: Demonstrate an understanding of a skill or concepts; Evaluates his/her own
progress and knowledge; Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence,

22 I believe letting the kids build what they have created helps solidify the concepts however I understand
this can be unrealistic for some students or some schools and their policies.

23 Students can be assigned one plant or a few in their box depending on their skill level.

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and previously accepted explanations


Dance and Landforms (from a previous unit)24
Grade Level: Fourth
Curriculum: social studies and dance
Core Objectives:
Social Studies
Standard 1
Objective 1 - Classify major physical geographic
attributes of Utah.
Dance
Standard 3
Objective 1 - Explore the process of making a
dance.
Standard 4
Objective 3 - Make connections between dance
and other disciplines.

Time: 45-60 minutes


Personal Objectives: Students will be able to identify the three major landforms that make up
Utah
Essential Questions: Why is it important to know the landforms that make up your state?
Key Vocabulary:
Landform, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau
Materials:
Pictures (online or in person) of the rocky mountains, great basin and colorado
plateau
Smart board (to pull up picture and write on it)
Each student should get a copy of the blank map of the state at the end of this plan
24 I actually taught this lesson in a fourth grade class last semester as one of my observed lessons. The
only thing I have modified since was I made it more dance based by adding the element of creating your
own dance. I did this in order to help kids get more attached to the movements and hopefully cement the
concepts into their brains. I also thought creating a dance would make it a fun way for them to get out
some energy in between class periods when we have a few minutes down time or a quick indoor recess
idea. Which is also why I want to use it to be part of the engage in lesson 2 of the current unit.

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A hard copy of the map with boundaries for your reference


Before the Lesson: Go over expectations for the assignment. Explain that at points they will be
asked to get up and interact with each other and they will need to be respectful.
Phase I:
I will assess prior knowledge by talking to them about what they think a landform
is and asking questions like:
When you fly into Utah what are some big landmarks/landforms
you see?
How do you think those landforms connect to what weve been
talking about in science? (ie wetlands, deserts and forests)
Use their ideas and answers to introduce vocabulary. Show pictures of the new
vocabulary words.
Now some of you said we have the mountains, does anyone know
what mountain range we are a part of?
plateau- a land area having a relatively level surface considerably
raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
basin - a hollow or depression in the earth's surface, wholly or
partly surrounded by higher land
Transition to Phase II:
Get the kids into groups of 5-8 and spread them throughout the classroom
Phase II:
Have each group of kids come up with some sort of physical shape as a team to
represent each of the landforms.
give them a chance to show each group what they came up with
while they are doing this mark out the sate on the floor using paper or tape just to
show corners. This doesnt have to be the full outline.
Have the students take a seat and show them where these landforms meet on a
map of the state.
have the kids come together again in their groups and have them act as the three
landforms in the large map that you laid out on the floor.
Transition to phase III:
Explain that activity
Phase III:
The Activity:
have each group create a dance using any of the movements from

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their group or another to represent the different landforms.


they will have to represent where the landform is seen in the state
so they can use the large map you made on the floor out of tape.
They can also include animals you might find in those areas or
activities you may do. but they MUST include the three landforms in the correct
locations on the map.
After each group shows there dance to the others each student will be given a
blank map that they will be asked to draw in the boundaries of the landforms in. This will
serve as an exit ticket
*To extend this we could use teaching the dances to the other groups as a warm up for P.E or as a
quick 5 minute down time activity