Lesson Plan

A Forest Year Soil Unit

Trail in the park
Trail in the park
NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
First Grade
Subject:
Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Community, Conservation, Earth Science, Ecology, Environment, Landscapes
Duration:
one year
Setting:
in the park
National/State Standards:
4.6 Understanding Place; 7.11 Analysis:Students analyze and understand living and non-living systems;  7.13 Organisms, Evolution, and Interdependence; 7.15 Theories, Systems, and Forces
Keywords:
Sense of Place, soils, geology, organisms, Evolution, community, environment, hertiage, heritage, solar system, systems, geologic forces

Overview

Through the study of their natural environment, the children develop a strong attachment to and respect for the land. Weekly visits over the course of a year foster an awareness of the natural rhythms of the seasons. Empathy for the natural world and a sense of place results from direct study of the forest. The children become aware of the interdependency of plants, animals, and people as they learn about the forest ecosystem. The unit was developed to meet the district science requirement.

Objective(s)

This interdisciplinary study incorporates all academic areas and involves weekly visits to the forest. Through the study of their natural environment, the children develop a strong attachment to and respect for the land. Weekly visits over the course of a year foster an awareness of the natural rhythms of the seasons. Empathy for the natural world and a sense of place results from direct study of the forest. The children become aware of the interdependency of plants, animals, and people as they learn about the forest ecosystem. As children observe and study together, they develop communication and problem-solving skills. A deepening sense of community and trust develops among the children as a result of their collaboration. Children make sense of their world through direct experience, which is provided in abundance through the forest study.
The Soils Unit will be taught in the spring, after the children have had extensive experiences in the forest. In this unit the children will study the characteristics of rocks and soil, how soil can affect plant growth, erosion, and the role that soil plays in the forest ecosystem. The unit was developed to meet the requirements of our district science curriculum.



Procedure

 

Lesson One:
Everybody Needs a Rock
*Pebble Pass
*Pebble Pick Up
*Sharing Circle
*Rock Treasure Hunt

Lesson Two:
*Hidden Colors
*Hard as a Rock
*Weigh In
*Sand Makers
*Testing Rocks

Lesson Three:
*What is in Soil?
*Introducing Sand, Clay, and Humus
*SoiI Soakers
*Soil Recipe
*Soil Shakes
*Soil in the Forest
*Soil Sampling

Lesson Four:
*Lie Down and Look
*Forest Foray
*Digging Deeper
*Puppet show
*The Rotten Truth
*Rotting Log Look
*Bark Beetle Investigation
*Buried Treasure
*Wiggle Worms
*As the Worm Turns
*The Wonderful Worm
*The World Beneath Your Feet

Lesson Five:
*Growing Plants in Different Soils
*Why do Plants Have Roots in Soil?
*How Plants Grow
*Uprooted Tree
*Soil in the Forest
*Forest Web of Life
*Web of Life Mandala

Lesson Six:
*Shaping the Land
*Erosion Puppet Show
*Splash
*Rock and Roll
*Swept Away
*Slipping Soil
*Erosion Hunt
*If I were a Fish

Assessment

Final Assessment

journal writing
rubric
drawing rubric
anecdotal notes





Additional Resources

Resources/Materials: Trowels, clipboards, pencils, observation worksheets, journal paper, Forest Foray cards, puppets: Elli Eft, Papa Newt, Dead Leaf, Wendy Worm, Freddy Fungus, Mildred Millipede, Sammy Shrew

Procedure:
In the Forest:

1.     See "Forest Floor," pp. 75-79, in Hands On Nature. Do the following activities from that lesson: "Puppet Show," "Lie Down and Look," "Digging Deeper," and "Forest Foray." When the students do "Digging Deeper" they can record their observations on a worksheet.

2.     Magic Spots: Have the students lie on the forest floor. They lie there quietly for five minutes and then share what they noticed about the forest floor in a sharing circle.

3.     Read "Fallen Star's Ears," a Native American legend, pp. 75-76, in Keepers of Life. Discuss the story with the students. Discussion questions are on p. 82.

In the Classroom:

4.     Discuss with the students what they learned about the forest floor. Write their observations on the KWL chart. The students reflect on the focusing question and write and draw what they noticed about the forest floor in their science journals.