A global inquiry…

Year 5 students at my school are inquiring into how the growth and survival of plants are affected by environmental conditions. The world is helping them out!

Click here to add to the learning!

Some of the students’ thinking, based on what they have observed  so far:

  • We noticed that so many plants look similar but they are all unique in their own way (Nadz and Steph)
  • We notice that three of these plants were from the exact same place yet looked different in every way. (Gidon and Brad)
  • I wonder how the leaves would change if they were put in an environment that they were not used to.
  • I wonder why the plants in california change colour every season and the ones in Canada don’t. (Jack)
  • We think it’s because California changes weather conditions … In canada it is always cold and the weather doesn’t change so the leaves don’t either. (Nicky and Gabi)
  • I  found out that a plant can grow in the snow and the funny thing is that the plant is a cactus and the cactus is usually grown in the desert. How does a plant survive in the snow? (Ryley)
  • We noticed that all the leaves are different shapes and sizes. All the leaves were made to help the plant survive in the weather which it lives in whether its hot weather, cold weather, hot and dry weather or cold and moist weather. We wonder how plants adapt to the environment. We wonder if plants can actually see the world around them. (Bunny and Dana)
  • We saw that plants in the dry areas look like they are dying but they are still alive. So, how do plants survive without water or how to plants survive with only little water? (Ellie and Rikki)

And this wonderful question posted at 5B’s blog by Mr Webb and Room 8, New Zealand:

  • What if everyone following the blog planted the same thing at the same time, and then kept checking on the progress of how it was going to see if it got influenced by environmental factors?

13 thoughts on “A global inquiry…

  1. Wow I would really like to know what would happen as well if the seeds from the same plant where planted across the nations all at the same time. I wonder though if this could be possible with quarantine. If the seeds come from different plants but but different plant from same species /family would this be a fair test. I would love to be part of the observation of progress.


  2. I’ve added a couple of slides to the presentation … slightly different

    One slide is about the Meranti Tree in Singapore … which includes an interview I did with a tree … was part of a teachers’ workshop I ran in Singapore on Podcasting … they role played a tree.

    The second slide is about rice in north thailand .. in fact the field next to my house … I’ve included a video of elephants ploughing the rice fields … you’ll find lots of videos of rice in different stages by searching my youtube channel http://youtube.com/shamblesguru

    Sorry I missed the #globaled11 session … real world demands ;-( … hopefully your students will enjoy the multimedia aspects of these slides ….

    p.s. I couldn’t resist including “Flat Stanley” from a #globaled11 presentation yesterday … I have the free Flat Stanley App on my iPad and iPhone now that I know about him.


    1. Thanks!! The teacher said they loved the tree
      interview and some asked if they could present their inquiry findings that way 🙂

      I sat with a group who were fascinated by the rice video and want to take that inquiry further.


    1. I love good inquiry! Was in that class today while groups generated all the ideas and questions they could from that presentation with the plants from around the world. The plan was to do an adapted form of the Generate Sort Connect thinking routine. They were so engaged the teachers could have gone home and no one would have noticed!


  3. Yes well I was thinking if there was a common plant that everyone could plant at the same time, and then give it the same amount of water and sunlight and then compare the growth rates, so the interaction between the students doing it would have to be regular, obviously temperature could be a variable that you would have to control with a bit of difficultly, but it would be interesting to see what else made a difference.
    Mr Webb, Room 8, Melville Intermediate, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.


  4. It is really interesting to receive so many comments regarding the experiment. Should we do a plant that generally grows in most of the countries, or can we grow a few different ones? It would be a great learning experience for the children who are grwing it this year as well as for the children who will join in next year. After looking at the slide show, my children are coming up with the adaptability and usage of different plants in Australia. Our previous unit was on aboriginal identity and Brad (in my class) talked about a plant which was used for making clothes for the aboriginal people. Children have started their own inquiries and it is amazing to observe their interest and involvement, more so due to the awareness of a world learning community.


  5. Hi Ed. I was just looking at the ideas posted and wondering about what generalisations the students have come up with. Were they able to come up with a synthesis of their findings? I’m interested in knowing how you processed this further as I find it very interesting. Did it also generate action amongst the students?


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