In this lesson, students learn about composting and conduct an experiment to determine what type of soil is best for growing radishes.
After learning about composting, students will spend the next few weeks watching their radishes grow to determine if soil, compost, or a mix of both is best for radishes.
The lesson plan includes step-by-step instructions for the experiment, background information, and a materials list.
Students will be able to conduct an experiment over an extended period, make observations, and draw conclusions.
The radish plants will need sufficient sunlight or artificial light to grow, and all containers should have the same amount of light.
You will need radish seeds, containers, soil and compost for the experiment.
It is best to know the source of the soil before the experiment and avoid soil that may contain any lead or other contaminants.
In more advanced classes, students can plan, design, and conduct their own investigation or add additional tests or procedures to connect the topic to lessons about photosynthesis, cells, or limiting nutrients.
A single copy of the "Fruit and Vegetable Adjectives" handout can be provided per group or projected for the class to limit printing and paper use.
To assess students learning, have students graph their findings and write about what type of soil is best for radishes and why.
As a follow-up activity, you can create a school compost bin as a class to be used on campus for science projects or fundraisers.
This resource is a more in-depth lesson on radishes and teaches students about composting and how to experiment with the best growing conditions. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
ETS1: Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
5-LS1-1 Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.