Autumn 2021 Plant Science

Auchinleck Primary School & St Patrick’s Primary School in partnership with teams from Auchinleck Community Development Initiative

These lessons are made possible thanks to funding from Covid-19 Outdoor Education Recovery Fund (YouthLink).

The following information is intended as a rough guide to resources to be used whilst carrying out the lessons set out in the lesson plans, the outcomes of which align to the evaluation plan.

The way each lesson is delivered can be fairly flexible as long as the basics of each outcome are covered. I would encourage pupils to ‘fall down the rabbit hole’ if a particular aspect of the lesson captures their curiosity. Teachers may also wish to combine the lessons with work they already had planned, for example, poems in ‘Literacy and English’ lessons or activities as part of a John Muir Award.

Lesson 1

In this lesson, pupils will create a ‘mini greenhouse’. Full instructions and points for discussion are included in the main worksheet. The video below demonstrates how to complete the activity.

Download worksheet: L1W1 Greenhouses Tutorial

Food miles

The STEM learning website has a range of resources about food miles. These will help pupils understand the fact that some food need to be transported to us from afar and growing their own, as they are now, can be a good way to avoid the pollution associated with transporting foods.

You will find worksheets, card sorting tasks and an interactive PowerPoint at this link.

You will also find videos and worksheets on the ‘Flying fruit’ activity page.

Temperature record

Lesson 1: Worksheet 2 provides space to record the temperatures inside 2 greenhouses. This allows pupils to compare temperatures of greenhouses positioned in different locations (which can be noted at the top of the sheet). Pupils should also record temperatures at different times of the day to see what impact this has on the temperature. As a bonus activity, pupils may wish to plot the temperatures on a graph. This will help them identify trends. Perhaps once the greenhouses reach a certain temperature, the lids should be unscrewed for ventilation.

Compost & Fertiliser

Younger children may enjoy watching a composting video with Peppa Pig

Here is another informative video about compost:

Compost contains peat, but this means that vital peat bogs are being destroyed. Peat is essential for storing carbon which would otherwise be in the atmosphere. If pupils want to learn more, the final section of the video below is about peat bogs:

Local peat bogs can be found on this map

For more information on the fascinating story of local peatland restoration, visit this page, which includes an informative video.

Pricking Out

Older pupils can prick out their seedling and plant them in the planters in the school garden. The first minute of the video below demonstrates the process, although you will be planting into the raised beds in the garden rather than a seed tray. The lettuce seedlings should be around 3cm tall before you transfer them to the garden.

Lesson 2

Pupils should be encouraged to explore a variety of local greenspaces to gain appreciation for the diversity of plants and animals as well as the interconnectedness between species.

Section 1

Younger children may enjoy going on a ‘fairy scavenger hunt’. This activity helps to engage young, imaginative minds in looking for a range of plant species. A visit to the fairy garden at The Knowe could complement this activity – please get in touch with me if you want this arranged. Worksheet for this activity can be found at this link.

Older pupils could engage in one or more of a range of spotting activities. Again, the Woodland Trust has a great selection of worksheets, some of which are themed specifically around Autumn. I’d recommend Leaf Hunt, Scavenger Hunt and Creepy Crawly Spotter sheets. These can be downloaded from this webpage.

Section 2

The locations that the above activities take place in form the next discussion point.

  • Which greenspaces do pupils enjoy visiting? Can pupils write a list/draw pictures of these places?
  • How do you feel when you visit these locations? Why? (For example, “I feel relaxed because I see tall tress and can hear the birds singing”)

Using Lesson 2: Worksheet 1 helps with this activity. Teachers should ask pupils to draw only, draw and annotate or write only depending on what they feel is appropriate for the class. These notes will be helpful when it comes to writing the poems. I’ve completed a worksheet in 2 different styles as an example, which you can see here, and the blank worksheet, which has space for 4 locations when printed double sided, can be downloaded from here.

(This discussion about local greenspaces can be linked to the section on local peat bog restoration in lesson 2 if this is of interest to the pupils.)

Section 3

Having gained an awareness of the need for bio-diversity and knowledge of a range of local greenspaces, pupils should use this to write a poem. The notes taken in the first 2 sections of the lesson will help pupils to write a poem based on what they discovered.

Inspiration for poems can be found in the provided books: ‘The Lost Words’ and ‘The Lost Spells’.

Teachers may well already be aware of the range of resources that go along with these books, I’ve hand-picked some that match the project and season. Having gained an understanding of these ‘poems/spells’, pupils should write a poem of their own. Teachers may wish pupils to follow the style set out in the book or use one of their own ideas they feel is more suitable for the class such as an acrostic poem or haiku. The poem can be part of an art project, with illustrations complementing the words, just as in the books.

The Lost Spells

Classes using this book may wish to give pupils keen to perform and recite poetry the opportunity to participate in the ‘Jackdaw Challenge’. Pupils who learn the Jackdaw Spell by heart and speak it aloud can be presented with a certificate. Information is ⅓ of the way down this page.

Teachers should use the Autumn Resources packs to help guide the lessons available in colour or black and white. It may be useful to have a discussion with pupils to gain an understanding of which creatures they are familiar with (eg. “Have you ever seen a moth flying around a lamp?”). This booklet provides a range of discussion points about the poems that teachers can pick and choose from, with the outcome being pupils writing their own ‘spell’.

The Lost Words

As with The Lost Spells there are lots of resources available that go along with the book. Teachers can pick and choose what’s relevant to what pupils are curious about and the season.

  • Perhaps they’re interested in a playground game… conker
  • A flower they’ve likely interacted with… dandelion
  • An animal they’ve likely seen swooping around the sky.. starling

Points for discussion can be found in the ‘Explorers Guide’ (links are at the top of this page)

Teachers can print out posters of the poems to put up around the classroom (links are at the top of this page)

If you want to get guidance on entering the mindset needed to write on of these poems, this blog may be helpful

If you would like some inspiration, check out these ideas.

Once poems are finished, encourage pupils to recite their poem to their family at home and share what they’ve learned about the natural world.

Evaluation should be carried out throughout the project as set out in the plan.

If teachers have any queries, the main points of contact between ACDI and your school are:

  • Pamela Yates (Auchinleck Primary School)
  • Amanda Rooney (St. Patrick’s Primary School)

We will keep in touch throughout the project.