Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Change Over Time

Originally Written for Fifth Grade

Study the adaptations and evolution of living organisms and their interactions with climate, soil, plants, animals, and seasons. 5th grade consists of 8 modules with lab pages in English and Spanish.

View 5th Grade Teacher Guide for a table of contents of all modules, scope & sequence, and gardening appendices.

$2.00 per Module – PDF Download

Life Lab Science was written to align with previous national science standards. We have grouped the following units in their original grade level band. These suggested grade levels may or may not align with your current grade level content.

Each module download includes a letter to parents to prepare for the module, a song, multiple lessons, and appendices/lab pages in English and Spanish.

Return to all K-5 Units Page

Changes (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students observe different ways things change and begin to consider the causes of change. 

Science Concept: Students explore the notion that all things living and non living-change over time. 

Process Skills: Students practice observation skills in collecting data.

Life Science: Living things change over time. 

Earth Science: The physical environment changes in observable ways. 

Physical Science: Matter has observable properties. Changes can be measured. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Science happens all around and affects each one of us in some way each day. Understand­ing new technologies as well as new learning strategies will help us participate actively in our rapidly changing society.

Change is something that we cannot ignore. In the course of a day, we are bombarded with so many sensory experiences that we pay attention only when there is change. We may sit for hours with the constant hum of a motor and not hear it. Only when it suddenly becomes silent do we stop to listen and wonder what happened. Change catches our attention. 

Much of science focuses on change. Through observing and analyzing change, we can come to understand what is happening today, can specu­late about what happened in the past, and can predict what may happen in the future. Many of these changes are not dramatic; they may be subtle. One thing is certain, however: All things-living and non living-change with time. 

This unit introduces students to the year’s science theme, Change Over Time. Through activities that help students look for and analyze changes in their own world, in themselves, in everyday objects, and in the garden, students deepen their understanding of change as a process that occurs over time. For those students new to Life Lab this year, the unit also introduces Super Sleuth, Life Lab’s method of recording students’ predictions, observations, tests, and results of experiments and investi­gations. This method helps students investigate the changes in their world as scientists do. 

In addition, the activities in this unit help students develop a variety of cooperative skills. They learn to listen to each other, to share ideas, and to reach decisions together. Stu­dents practice these skills by working with partners and in small groups. They will have opportunities to develop these skills throughout the year in more and more challenging activities. For teachers and students new to Life Lab, this unit introduces the garden as a Living Laboratory. Students not only become more aware of changes, but they also learn how to use t h e garden as a scientific laboratory. In every unit you will find helpful references to the garden resource book, Gardening Know-How for the ’90s, which will answer your questions and expand your knowledge of basic gardening techniques.

Iv- Song: “Take The Time To Wonder” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart 

4- Unit Planner

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter 

9- Small Change (making observations)

12- Find Someone Who … (identifying changes)

15- Here’s Looking At You, Kid (recognizing

changes over time; making a timeline) 

19- Tell It Like It Is (exploring one-and

two-way communication)

22- Discovery Center: Tools of the Trade

(using science tools) 

26- Changes in the Night (exploring changes

in the garden)

30- Just Add Water (investigating physical

and chemical changes) 

34- Before … and After (examining objects to

identify changes.)

38- Assessment Checklist 

Student Lab Book Section

40- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know

41- About Changes? 

43- Find Someone Who

45- Here’s Looking At You, Kid 

47- Discovery Center: Tools of the Trade

52- Just Add Water 

54- Cluing into Changes

55- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- Changes in the Night 

8- Seasonal Change 

59- Life LabB eat: Focus on Changes 

64- Index 

Adaptations (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students examine examples of adaptations that plant and animal species have developed over time. 

Science Exploration: Students investigate ways plants and ani­mals are adapted to survive in their particular habitats. 

Process Skills: Students make observations, collect data, orga­nize the data, and communicate their ideas about what they observed.

Life Science: An adaptation is a trait that enables a living organism to survive. All living things have a variety of adapta­tions that increase their fitness and ability to survive in specific environments. 

Physical Science: Motion is affected by weight, buoyancy, and shape. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Culture influences seed selection by choosing which seeds to plant and by modifying habitats to meet the needs of those seeds.

You have heard the expression of being “all thumbs.” Imagine for a moment that you were not able to use your thumbs at all. Hold your thumbs tightly against your index fingers and try buttoning or unbuttoning a shirt, holding and writing with a pencil, or peeling and eating a banana. All of a sudden you can see how important your thumbs are! 

Humans and other primates have what are called opposable thumbs. Because our thumbs are opposite the rest of our fingers, we are able to manipulate objects with our hands, making it easier for us to grab and hold food and to use tools. The oppos­able thumb is just one example of an adaptation-a feature of a living thing that helps improve its chances for survival. 

In the first unit, students were introduced to the year’s theme, Change Over Time, by examining a variety of changes. Through an exploration of adaptations, this unit lays the groundwork for students to consider changes that occur over much longer peri­ods of time. Adaptations develop over time-sometimes mil­lions of years-through a process of natural selection. Each individual of a species has slight differences from others in the same species. Some of these differences may increase an indi­vidual’s chances to survive and reproduce in its environment. Those that survive sometimes pass on to their offspring the characteristics that enabled them to do well in that environ­ment. Thus, generation after generation, characteristics that enhance survival become more and more common. In this way, the individuals that are better suited to an environment are “selected” and continue to change; those less suited die out. An understanding of adaptations and good gardening go hand-in-hand. Students will learn that specific plants and animals are suited to live in a particular habitat. Help students apply this information  to their gardening methods. For example, you might investigate what plants are best adapted to your climate and why. Are they drought tolerant or can they survive cold winters? The concept of adaptations will be explored throughout the year as students investigate ow living things have adapted to seasons, climate, habitat, and each other.

Iv- Song: “We’re Animals” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart 

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature

8- Parent Letter 

9- A Habitat Is Where … (exploring how living

things survive in their habitats)

12- Humble Weeds (making observations

about adaptations;collecting seeds)

15- Discovery Center: Seed for Yourself

(exploring seed characteristics)

18- Hanging in Air (experimenting with

airborne seeds) 

22- Disappearing Act (investigating

camouflage an adaptation) 

25- Designer Beings (designing a creature

adapted for a particular habitat)

28- Assessment Checklist

Student Lab Book Section

32- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Pre assessment: What Do You Know

33- About Adaptations?

35- A Habitat Is Where 

36- Discovery Center: Seed for Yourself 

37- Hanging in Air 

40- Designer Beings 

Post assessment: Cluing into

43- Adaptations

45- Field Log

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- Humble Weeds 

5- Humble Weeds Field Notes

7- Beaks That Speak 

49- Life Lab Beat: Focus on Adaptations 

54- Index

Energy and Change (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students examine heat energy and consider how energy is involved in change.


Science Exploration: Students explore ways that heat energy changes things, focusing on sunlight as a source of heat. 


Process Skills: Students practice inferring ideas from data they collect and from reasoning.

Life Science: Green plants use energy from sunlight to produce food. 

Earth Science: The sun emits sunlight, which is a source of energy. 

Physical Science: Energy is involved when matter moves or changes. Heat is a form of energy. When sunlight is absorbed, it transforms to heat. When energy is transferred from one form to another, change occurs in matter. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Alternative energy sources help conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Technologies are advancing to use energy more efficiently as our society learns to face a growing population and its impact on air, water, and land.

Everything we do and everything that happens to us involves energy. Energy is what makes things work. You may depend on your battery-operated alarm clock to wake you up in the morn­ing, or your breakfast cereal to power your body until lunch, and on the energy released by burning gasoline to get you to work via bus or car. Light, sound, heat, and electricity are all different forms of energy. All of these forms are similar in that one form can change into another. Most of what happens in the universe-from the growth and decay of living things to the workings of machines and computers to the collapsing and exploding of stars-involves one form of energy being transformed into another. 

Wherever there is change, energy is involved. In looking at energy as a part of change, students build on the theme of Change Over Time. In this unit, students focus on heat energy and examine ways heat changes things. In the following units particularly Seasonal Change, and Weather and Climate Changes-students will build on the foundation of energy as they explore how heat energy from sunlight affects the living and non living elements of our planet. 

Energy is not something we can see, though all around us we see evidence that it exists. Through activities in this unit, stu­dents practice making inferences-giving explanations based on their observations. By examining data they collect about heat energy in experiments, and through reasoning, students begin to form an understanding of what energy is and how it works. 

In the garden, students can explore the importance of energy to all living things. For example, green plants use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into food. The energy in this food is in turn passed to other living things through the food chain. Many late fall gardening ideas can be found in the In the Garden sections of this unit.

Iv- Song: “Nature Rap” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart 

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter 

9- Energy Words (categorizing energy-related


12- The Heat Is On (observing changes caused

by heat energy)

16- Heat On The Go (investigating heat energy


19- A Lot Of Hot Air (exploring ways to trap


23- Hot Colors ( comparing sunlight absorption

of different colors) 

26- Keeping Things Warm (experimenting

with different kinds of insulation) 

30- Solar Box Challenge (designing and

testing solar collectors)

34- Assessment Checklist 

Student Lab Book Section

38- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know

39- About Energy And Change? 

40- Energy Words 

41- The Heat Is On

46- Heat On The Go

49- Hot Colors 

52- Keeping Things Warm 

54- Postassessment: Cluing Into Energy

and Change 

57- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- A Lot Of Hot Air 

4- Solar Box Challenge 

7- Feel The Heat 

8- Easy Detail 

Life Lab Beat: Focus on

61- Energy and Change 

66- Index

Seasonal Change (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students consider the causes of seasonal changes and observe changes in sunlight over short periods (daily changes) and longer periods (seasonal changes). They look for ways in which living things have adapted to survive and to take advan­tage of seasonal changes. 

Science Exploration: Students explore Earth’s rotation and how the Earth’s orbit around the sun and the tilt of its axis cause sea­sonal changes. 

Process Skills: Students make periodic observations of natural phenomena and use models to explain phenomena they observe.

Life Science: Living things are adapted to seasonal variations in the environment. 

Earth Science: The Earth rotates on its axis once each day. Sea­sons result from the Earth’s orbit around the sun and the tilt of the Earth’s axis. The closer the sun is to the horizon, the less solar energy is received per unit time. The characteristics of sea­sons vary with latitude. 

Physical Science: The sun is a source of energy. From one season to the next, the amount of available solar energy at a given location on Earth changes. This energy is strongest when the energy receiver directly faces the sun. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Problem solving gives stu­dents an opportunity to make predictions, do research, and eventually come to an educated solution to a “mystery.” This process can be applied to many aspects of their lives.

Most people would agree that the different seasons of the year inspire delight and remind us that living is about changing. With seasonal changes in temperature and weather, living things respond with their own changes, including falling leaves, migrating birds, and spring-blooming bulbs. These sea­sonal changes can be beautiful, interesting, and just plain fun. Seasons can also be reassuring: They remind us of the cycles of life. As we experience the seasonal pleasures of the passing months of the year, we become connected to the natural rhythms of the world around us. 

This unit is about the seasons of the year, but it is not a typical study of the four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. Instead, the unit uses this familiar topic to introduce the abstract concept of movement in the solar system. By focusing on the Earth’s rotation on its axis and its revolution around the sun, the unit helps students understand the reasons we have seasons. Through modeling activities and observations over time, students learn that the seasonal changes they observe are caused by astronomical phenomena such as the relationship between the Earth’s position and the sun. Students develop skill in using models as a tool for studying objects and processes that are remote in time and space. They also continue to practice making inferences based on reasoning.  In the Energy and Change unit, students explored the sun’s heat energy and how it affects living and nonliving things. In this unit , students examine how change in the amount of available sunlight at a given location is the underlying cause of seasons. In the Weather and Climate Changes unit, students build on this notion as they investigate ways that changes in heat energy from the sun affect weather. Seasons and gardening are intricately connected. Usually, we plant in the spring, grow in the summer, harvest in the fall, and let the garden fallow in winter. In fact, the word season comes from the Latin verb serere, meaning “to sow.” 

Iv- Song: “Nocturnal Animals” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart 

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter 

9- Mysteries (collecting data)

12- Turn, Turn, Turn (investigating the earth’s


16- Sun Clock (measuring shadows)

20- A Reason for Seasons (making a model of

the earth’s orbit) 

24- Seasonal Sun Tracking (collecting data

about shadows) 

29- Seasonal Adaptations (exploring seasonal

adaptations and writing legends)

34- Mysteries Solved (compiling data and

sharing observations.)

37- Assessment Checklist

Student Lab Book Section

40- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know ·

41- About Seasonal Change?

43- Mysteries 

49- Turn, Turn, Turn 

52- A Reason for Seasons 

54- Seasonal Adaptations 

56- Mysteries Solved 

Postassessment: Cluing into

60- Seasonal Change 

61- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log

2- Inside Out 

4- SunClock 

5- Sun Clock Observations

7- Seasonal Sun Tracking

65- Life Lab Beat: Focus on Seasonal Change 

70- Index 

Weather and Climate Changes (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Weather in an area changes in what is typically a yearly pattern called climate. Climates have changed over long periods of time, affecting living things. 

Science Exploration: Complex interactions between earth’s air, water, and land masses create different climates. Different living things are adapted to different types of climates. 

Process Skills: Students practice synthesizing information and inferring ideas from data. 

Life Science: Plants and animals are adapted to the climates in which they live. 

Earth Science: Climate is the typical pattern of seasonal weather that a particular region experiences over time. Some climatic differences are due to the orientation of the earth to the sun, which causes the various regions of the earth to be heated differently.

Physical Science: Gasses can push against the things they touch. This is called air pressure. Air flows from areas of higher pres­sure to areas of lower pressure. Winds result from differences in air pressure. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Weather and climate influ­ence human activity. Meteorologists use sophisticated equip­ment for predicting weather.

If you live in Miami, you don’t expect snow for Christmas. If you live in Alaska, you don’t expect to broil in August. This is because you know that different parts of our planet have dif­ferent climates. A climate is the typical weather for a given place over a period of time. Knowing about an area’s climate can give an idea about what to expect in terms of temperature or precip­itation at a certain time of year. In this unit, students examine some causes for climates and weather variation. Climates are created by a complex interaction between earth’s masses of air, water, and land. To help students understand some of these interactions, the unit involves them in monitoring their local weather in a class weather station, explor­ing air pressure, studying climate and weather maps, and mod­eling the earth’s movement around the sun. These various activities provide opportunities for students with different learn­ing styles to explore the concepts at different learning levels. 

Students learn that one of the major reasons for climatic differ­ences is the tilt of the earth’s axis in relation to the sun. This builds on students’ learning in the Seasonal Change unit, in which they explored the movement of the earth around the sun. The unit also builds on students’ learning from the Energy and Change unit as they explore how the sun’s heat energy drives the wind patterns that are typical for earth. In addition, students build on their learning from the Adaptations unit as they con­sider specific adaptations organisms have for living in their native climate. 

As every gardener knows, consideration of the local climate is a critical factor for a successful garden. Knowing expected cli­mate conditions can help you plant garden plants that will thrive in your area and can help you determine the best plant­ing times for various species. Because this unit was designed for mid-winter, when most school gardens lie dormant, the activities take place indoors, away from the garden. Look in the Digging Deeper and the In the Garden sections for specific ideas about how to connect the unit to your garden activities.

Iv- Song: “Water Cycle Boogie” 

1- Introduction

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart 

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter

9- Climate Wheel (identifying characteristics

of climate) 

12- Comparing Climates (compiling data

about climate) 

15- Discovery Center: The Pressure Is Up

(exploring air pressure)

21- Sunny with a Chance of Birthday Cake

(experimenting with air pressure)

24- Earth Climates (investigating sunlight

and wind) 

28- Hot Spots (comparing land and water


31- Palm Trees in Alaska? (relating climate

and adaptation)

34- Climate Wise (creating contrasting weather


37- Assessment Checklist

Student Lab Book Section

40- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know

41- About Weather and Climate Changes? 

45- Climate Wheel 

46- Comparing Climates 

55- Discovery Center: The Pressure is Up 

63- Sunny with a Chance of Birthday Cake 

65- Earth Climates 

71- Hot Spots 

74- Palm Trees In Alaska? 

78- Climate Wise 

Postassessment: Cluing Into

81- Weather and Climate Changes 

83- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- Facing Vases and Other Magic Shapes

4- Build a Weather Station

8- Weathered Garden

Life Lab Beat: Focus on Weather and

87- Climate Changes 

93- Index 

Soil Changes (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Soils change over time as a result of living and non living processes such as freezing, weathering, the activities of soil organisms, and erosion. 

Science Explorations: Science Exploration: Through laboratory experiments that model natural phenomena, students learn how soil is formed and changes.  

Process Skills: Students practice synthesizing data and making inferences from data.

Life Science: Living things in soil have adaptations that enable them to survive in their soil habitat. Living things interact with the soil and can change it over time. 

Earth Science: Soil is formed and changes as a result of many mechanical and chemical processes. Soil is formed from parti­cles of rock mixed with organic matter from living and once living things. Soil erosion is the gradual wearing away by water, wind, or ice. 

Physical Science: Physical processes such as friction and the forces of wind and water cause soil formation and erosion. 

Science, Technology, and Society: Topsoil is a valuable natural resource that can be depleted by human use. We can learn ways to conserve it. 

Take a handful of soil and examine it closely. Smell it, feel it, and rub it between your fingers. What is this stuff that we build our houses on, raise our food in, and mine minerals from?

Soil is the thin layer of loose material that covers much of the land areas of the earth, and it is the material that supports plant life. We depend on it to produce our food and forests. Although it may seem unchanging and lifeless, soil is actually a dynamic mixture of rock materials that is teeming with living things. A teaspoon of soil can contain millions of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, as well as earthworms, insects, and spiders. Soils are the product of physical, chemical, and biological processes. They contain rocks and minerals and organic mater­ial from living or once-living things. Soils are slowly but contin­ually changing.

To get a sense of the formation of your local soil, dig a soil pro­file (a hole approximately 1 meter deep) and examine the differ­ences in color and organic matter in the different layers. Toward the bottom you might find solid rock-the parent material from which your soil has formed over hundreds of years. As the parent rock was weathered through different processes, it chipped away into the sand, silt, and clay that form the particle texture of your soil. Organic materials-living and once-living plants and animals-mix with the soil’s top layers, forming the nutrient base and providing the richness that allows us to grow a diversity of plants.

By examining how soil is formed and other ways it changes, students learn the importance of this vital resource. In this unit they are introduced to the notion that some natural processes take place over very long periods of time. For example, it may take hundreds of years to form one inch of soil from rock.

Soils are formed over such long periods of time that it is not possible to directly observe this process over the course of a few weeks. In this unit, students practice an important science skill. Using data to make inferences about phenomena that cannot be observed directly.

Iv- Song: “Dirt Made My Lunch” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals

3- Activity Chart

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter 

9- Soil Maker (examinings oil) 

12- Busting Up (investigating how plants break

down rock) 

17- Freeze! (investigating the effects of freezing

and thawing) 

21- They Toil in the Soil (observing how

earthworms affects soil)

25- Water Erosion (investigating how water

affects soil)

29- Blowing in the Wind (investigating how

wind affects soil) 

32- Fossil Leaves (exploring and creating fossil


35- The Adventures of Super Soil (writing

about soil) 

37- Assessment Checklist 

Student Lab Book Section

40- Calendar

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know

41- About Soil Changes?

43- Busting Up 

46- They Toil in the Soil

56- Fossil Leaves 

Postassessment: Cluing Into

57- Soil Changes 

59- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- Facing Vases and Other Magic Shapes

4- Water Erosion 

8- Earthworm Hunt 

63- Life Lab Beat: Focus on Soil Changes 

69- Index

Growing Together (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students examine changes in the garden over time and put into perspective the changes that occur over a short time and over a longer time. 

Science Exploration: By exploring different time scales of change, students build on their understanding that the earth and its inhabitants are constantly changing. Students begin to recog­nize that the earth is very old and that by observing the earth and its life today, we can learn about how it was in the past. 

Process Skills: Students synthesize what they have learned about changes in the garden and in nature and apply their learning to some garden problems.

Life Science: Living things change over time. Different kinds of changes occur over different scales of time: for example, it may take millions of years for a new species to evolve but only a few minutes for a single plant to be devoured by a deer. 

Earth Science: The earth changes over time. The geologic time scale is used to place geologic events, such as the formation of . the Grand Canyon, in a time sequence.

Physical Science: Different units of time are appropriate for describing different events. Scientists use various tools and methods to measure these scales of time. 

Science, Technology, and Society: In order to plan for a sus­tainable future it is important to understand how the earth and living things on the earth have evolved and continue to evolve over time. 

Depending on how you look at it, time can move very fast or very slow. We all are familiar with how time seems to drag when we are bored or uncomfortable and yet flies when we are having fun. In addition to time seeming to change speeds, the events that can happen over time change dramatically, depend­ing on the time scale. For example, on the scale of a human life­time, a plant may grow imperceptibly over the course of a day. On a geologic scale, a plant species evolves into another species in response to changes in the environment that take place over millions of years. 

Throughout the year, students have been learning about changes in the garden and in the natural world around them: changes in heat, sunlight, seasons, weather, soil, and between living things. In this unit, students get a chance to reflect on and apply their learning. Focusing on the Change Over Time theme, students explore different scales of time as they consider vari­ous changes in the garden. Children this age may be confused about how long ago past events happened and how long they took to occur. Timelines are one way to classify time. Through activities in which students make timelines of different garden changes, the unit helps them sort out the timing and duration of garden events and paves the way for a better understanding of time scales. 

To culminate the year, students also prepare to provide next year’s class with gifts to start them in the garden: plants to harvest and a  compost pile to enrich the soil. These activities help students see the garden and their learning as ongoing and ever changing.

Iv- Song: “Everything Needs A Home” 

1- Introduction 

2- Student Goals 

3- Activity Chart

4- Unit Planner 

6- Recommended Literature 

8- Parent Letter 

9- Garden History (compiling chronological


13- Planning for a Fall Harvest (determining

suitable plantings for climate and time

of harvest) 

17- Planting for Fall (planting a garden and

preparing seed cards)

20- A Gift of Compost (building a compost pile) 

24- ​​Garden History Timeline (creating a

garden timeline)

27- A Brief History of the Earth (creating a

timeline to reflect the history of the Earth) 

31- This Year’s Timeline ( creating a timeline

to reflect Life Lab learning) 

35- Assessment Checklist 

Student Lab Book Section

38- Calendar 

Lab Sheets

Preassessment: What Do You Know

39- About Change Over Time?

40- GardenHistory

42- Planning’for a Fall Harvest 

45- Vegetable Planting Guide

Postassessment: Cluing Into

46- Change Over Time 

49- Field Log 

1- Reflections from a Naturalist’s Field Log 

2- Negative Space

3- Rule of Thumb 

4- Planning for a Fall Harvest 

6- Planting for Fall 

53- Life Lab Beat: Focus on Change Over Time 

60- Index 

Change Over Time (Originally Written For Fifth grade)

Theme: Students explore the garden through sensory awareness activities and garden projects such as digging, planting, watering, and harvesting. 

Science Explorations: Students gain an understanding of how they can use their senses to learn about the world around them. 

Process Skills: Students develop cooperative skills by participat­ing in activities and working together to grow a garden.

In this unit, students explore a variety of activities that focus on developing sensory awareness and on growing plants. 

Life Science: Plants have different growing requirements. Work in the garden causes changes that can be described. 

Earth Science: Soil can be wet or dry. Tools can be used to dig in soil. Water can wash away soil. 

Physical Science: Water has physical properties that can be de­scribed. 

Science, Technology, and Society: People can grow food. They can eat it raw or cooked. Different tools are used for different jobs. 

Step into the morning freshness of a garden, and your senses come alive. A rainbow of colors surrounds you as you listen to the birds chirp, smell freshly-turned soil, and feel the velvety texture of a petal. With little conscious effort, your eyes, ears, nose, and hands have begun to explore the natural world. 

Through the activities and free exploration stations provided in this unit, children learn to use their senses to investigate the natural world. The garden becomes a living laboratory, where students can expand their sensory awareness. In future units, students will continue to explore the garden as they investigate water, soil, plants, and animals. Lessons in each unit are either organized as free exploration stations, called Explorer Posts, or teacher-directed activities. Explorer Posts give children the opportunity to freely explore a skill or a material, while the activities present a directed exploration of science concepts and process skills. 

Some gardening projects in this unit are ongoing; others are sea­sonal. All of the information you will need for each gardening activity is included in the lesson or can be found in Gardening Know­How for the ’90s, by Dick Raymond. Make time for gardening activities, even if your garden consists of a planting box. No matter how small the garden, it will become a focus for learning important lessons about caring for living things and cooperating to achieve a common goal. 

This unit marks the start of a year of exploration for you and your students. Use the Planner in each unit to guide your exploration, but feel free to strike out on your own. Choose the activities that best suit your students, your teaching style, and the season of the year. All of the lessons provide opportunities for cooperative learning and challenge students to solve problems and share discoveries. 

2- Song: “Take the Time to Wonder” 

3- Introduction

4- Student Goals 

5- Activity Chart 

7- Unit Planner 

8- Recommended Literature 

9- Parent Letter 

10- Hello, Garden (touring the class garden) 

13- Explorer Post 1: Through the Looking Glass (exploring magnifying lenses).

15- Garden Shape Search (honing observation skill) 

18- Rattling Roundup (developing listening skills). 

21- Know Your Nose (developing sense of smell) 

24- Mirrors (practicing cooperation skills). 

27- Ball Balance (problems solving with a partner)

29- Explorer Post 2: Harvest Time (harvesting and

exploring vegetables).

31- Tools Together (using and sharing garden tools). 

34- Explorer Post 3: Garden Store (pretending to market crops). 

36- Grow a Garden (sowing seeds in the garden) 

39- Alphabet Garden (growing a plant for each letter of the alphabet). 


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