‘I Wonder’ how plants grow

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First grade students in David Reilly’s class at the C.A. Reinhard are wondering and figuring out how plants grow through participation in several virtual field trips to Crossroads Farm in Malverne. The virtual field trips and study of seeds, farming and crop growth are part of a science unit named “I Wonder.”

“I tell my students that scientists use this essential question when they begin to study something important,” Mr. Reilly said.

Under the direction of farmers Mary Jean McCarthy and Susan Salem and using Google Meet technology, the students questioned how a seed grows on the farm. Ms. McCarthy took the students on a tour of the farm’s greenhouse, which housed onion, cotton, melon, sunflower, pumpkin, corn and pea seeds. They also learned that the farm does not use chemicals on their plants because of the effect on humans and animals. The students were also encouraged to participate in an imaginary enactment of what it would be like to be a seed while listening to Ms. McCarthy’s information about the journey from seed to plant.

In a second field trip to the farm, Mr. Reilly’s students focused on how scientists sketch and take notes when they have “I wonders” that question how things work. After the field trip, the students were instructed to make their own sketches, depicting the elements that affect the growth of a plant.

In addition to the virtual field trips, the students were encouraged to plant their own garden, using seeds left on their doorstep by Mr. Reilly, co-teacher Theresa Padula and teaching assistant Jennifer Siano.