Second Grade Transdisciplinary Unit
Greenwich Public Schools
by Laurie Robben, Carolyn Sackstein, Karrie Vale, and Charril Pierce

Transdisciplinary: Transdisciplinary learning is the exploration of a relevant issue or problem that integrates the perspectives of multiple disciplines in order to connect new knowledge and deeper understanding to real life experiences. Transdisciplinary units culminate in authentic assessments with a genuine audience. Transdisciplinary units weave throughout the school day and are taught though multiple disciplines. Although content may be grounded in a discipline, the unit is not considered a science unit or social studies unit.

Inquiry: A student-centered, active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving. It's associated with the idea "involve me and I understand."

Subject/Discipline Areas: Science, Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Media, Art
Time Req: 4-6 weeks

Unit Essential Question: How is everything interconnected?
Unit Enduring Understanding: Living things are an important part of our environment.

Essential Questions:
Science: How do organisms interconnect to affect plant growth?
How are plants important to other living things?
Social Studies: What are some positive and negative effects of man on plants?
How do plants support survival of other living things?
Math: How does learning about measurement help me understand the earth and the growth of living things?
Language Arts: How can learning about non-fiction help us understand the earth's organisms?
Media: How can I use technology to communicate information?
Art: How do artists represent living things in their work?

Content Standards
2.2.a. The life cycles of flowering plants include seed germination, growth, and seed dispersal.
  1. Flowering plants progress through a sequenced life cycle. First, seeds sprout (germinate), then seedlings grow into adult plants with leaves and flowers. If the flowers are pollinated, seeds develop that will grow into new plants to continue the life cycle.
  2. Roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seed are structures that develop during different stages of the plant's life cycle.
  3. Seeds contain the beginning of a new plant (embryo) and the food (energy source) the new plant needs to grow until it is mature enough tot produce its own food. Different plant varieties produce seeds of difference size, color and shape.
  4. Environmental conditions, such as temperature, amount of light, amount of water and type of soil, affect seed germination and plant development.
  5. A plant's seed will grow into a new plant that resembles but is not identical to the parent plant or to other new plants. For example, marigold plants produce marigold seeds that grow into new marigold plants. Individual marigolds, however, vary in height, number of leaves, etc.
  6. Seedlings are young plants that produce the structures that will be needed by the plant to survive in its environment: Roots and leaves begin to grow and take in nutrients, water and air; and the stem starts to grow towards sunlight.
  7. Adult plants form more leaves that help the plant collect sunlight and air to make its food. They produce flowers that are the structures responsible for reproduction.
  8. Flowers have structures that produce pollen, attract pollinators and produce seeds that can grow into new plants. Some flowers have structures that develop into fruits, berries or nuts that contain the seeds that can grow into new plants.
  9. Some seeds fall to the ground and germinate close to the parent plant, other seeds are carried (dispersed) by wind, animals, or water to place far away. The structure of the seed is related to the way it is dispersed.

Students should be able to:
1. Use senses and simple tools to observe and describe the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of various plants (including trees, vegetables and grass).
2. Use magnifiers to observe and diagram the parts of a flower.
3. Describe the functions of roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds in completing a plant's life cycle.
4. Record observations and make conclusions about the sequence of stages in a flowering plant's life cycle.
5. Compare and contrast how seeds of different plants are adapted for dispersal by water, wind or animals.
6. Conduct a fair test to explore factors that affect seed germination and plant growth.

Performance Task:
As a final project, students will create and present a photostory demonstrating the growth of their plant. This may take the form of a book, digital book, or other digital vehicle (e.g. Students can choose format for final presentation.

Botany - Sample Performance

Observation Log