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Earth Science Curriculum

An important component of any K-4 Earth Science Curriculum is teaching the properties of earth materials. Earth materials consist of rocks, soils, water and the gases of the atmosphere. One of the main goals is for children to understand the many different forms these materials can take, and how we use them as resources for everything we do on earth. At the primary level, the study of earth materials very often leads to simple planting experiments.

Children naturally love dirt and are eager to participate in anything as stimulating and hands-on as planting seeds. An interesting way to add a twist to this experience is to incorporate some simple planting experiments. This exposes the children to the steps of the scientific method, and gives them ample opportunities for developing observation and description skills, key skills for any scientific investigation. All that is needed for these experiments are dry lima bean seeds, ziploc bags, paper towels and potting soil. In addition, it is important to provide each child with some type of plant journal to write and draw detailed observations and descriptions of what they are seeing. Each child needs to decide on the experiment that they want to do for themselves.

Some examples might be putting the lima bean in the bag with a wet paper towel and hanging it on the window, or putting the lima bean in the bag with soil and water and putting it in a dark place. In their journals they should include a hypothesis (what they think will happen), detailed observations on a daily basis with drawings and/or words, and a conclusion. It is really interesting for them to compare each others experiments and come up with some general conclusions in the end about what growing conditions work best. These experiments help them to learn a key component of their earth science curriculum, and help them feel like true scientists.

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