Watch Me Grow

Student(s): Ashley Brooke Johnson
Date: April 20, 2013           Grade Level(s): 3rd
Instructor: Carla Stone          Email:
Teaching Assistant: Bella Tirtowalujo           Email:

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Name of Project: “Watch Me Grow”


Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

For this project, students will be learning about plants, specifically photosynthesis and the growth process of flowers. After learning about photosynthesis and plant growth, students will write a short story with illustrations about their life if they were a flower. Then, representatives from the Master Gardeners club will come into the class and give a short presentation about what flowers grow best in our area. This would occur around the beginning of April. They will then be paired with a student (students if fewer representatives than students), and the students will read their short stories to the Master Gardener. After the stories have been shared, the Master Gardeners teach the students how to plant an annual flower, having the students plant their own flower in a plastic cup. The flowers each student planted are kept in the classroom for daily care, observation, and recording the growth and measurements of the flowers. Students will take notes on daily observations of the growth of their individual plant, as well as measuring the height of their plant and drawing a sketch of what their flower looks like on Fridays. These observations and notes will be charted in the classroom on a graph by the students to compare each student’s flower.

In the middle of May, the students will travel to the fairgrounds to transplant their flowers to a flowerbed at the fairgrounds. The Master Gardeners will be present to help and teach the students how to safely transplant the flowers. This will beautify the fairgrounds and assists the Master Gardeners in replanting some of the flowerbeds, due to recent years’ hot weather and droughts.

Each student has the opportunity to record their class project throughout each stage using the class camera. Students will also work together to write a news report to be published in the local newspaper.

Upon return from the fairgrounds, students will be asked to illustration and write about their favorite part of the project, as well as writing about what they learned. This is the reflection portion of the service learning project.

The short story, measurements, observations, sketches, pictures documenting the project, and reflection materials will be assembled in a packet that the students can keep to cherish as a reminder of the service learning project.

In the summer at the fair, the students will be able to visit the flowerbeds they planted and reflect back on their service learning project.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

When consulting with my mentor teacher, we discussed issues of our community. We thought of the presence of excessive underage drinking and tobacco use, but there are already numerous youth-led projects and groups tackling these issues in our community. We then got sidetracked in our conversation and started talking about the county fair and if I would be home for it this summer. Back home, the fair is the most anticipated event in our area. Literally everyone comes out during the week of the fair to see the 4-H projects (4-H is HUGE back home), see the livestock competitions, participate in the barnyard mud scramble, watch the grandstand events, and just to have a great time visiting with old friends (most people never move away from the area and live their whole lives in Sullivan County). Then a potential service learning project dawned on me. The past couple years’ extremely hot weather has killed a lot of the plants and flowers that beautify the fairgrounds. As the fair is the most attended event in Sullivan County, it is important to keep the fair looking great. When people visit the fairgrounds, they love seeing the flowers. Because of the recent hot weather and droughts, the Master Gardeners (a club of men and women, generally ages 50 and up, who love gardening and take care of beautifying our community) have had a difficult time replacing all of the flowers. My mentor teacher, a Master Gardener herself, confirmed this. The project explained in this project planner will address the need of a lack of flowers at the beloved fairgrounds.

What service will you provide to address the need?

As mentioned prior, the service the students will be assisting in the replanting of flowerbeds at the Sullivan County Fairgrounds. In addition to this, the students will be able to interact with some of the senior citizens of our community. Sometimes, the senior citizens in our community are in want of companionship, and they generally love spending time with the younger generation. By interacting and getting to know the Master Gardeners, the students will gain a respect for the elders of their community.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project ties into the subjects of Science, Art, Math, and English at the 3rd grade level. When writing the stories/narratives about the life as a flower and the reflection journals, the students will be exercising and strengthening their writing skills. The students will be learning about the life cycle of plants and observing such in the classroom. Their measurements and observations, graphed by the students, strengthen math and science skills. The illustrations created depicting the students’ flower plants, as well as the illustrations of the narrative and reflection journal will strengthen art skills. In addition, students will practice their literacy skills when reading their narratives to the Master Gardeners.

What are the educational goals?

One of the educational goals of this service learning project is to understand how plants grow. It is hoped that by participating in such a hands-on and extensive project in which the students are highly invested that the students will be more likely to retain the information they are taught. Also, this service learning project aims to increase and foster creativity, as well as strengthen story-telling skills, writing skills, illustration skills, and math skills. It is also hoped that students will be inspired by this service learning project to participate in community service projects and give back to their community.


Curriculum Connections

Strand: 3rd grade level (science/math/art/writing)
TLW: Students will learn about the growth process of a plant, as well as observe and graph data from the students’ flower plants. Students will also use math and science skills to measure the plants during the observation process. Students will strengthen their art skills by creating illustrations of their plants and illustrations to accompany writing pieces. The reflection and writing pieces will strengthen the writing skills of the students.

Additional Indiana State Standards and Benchmarks
List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

• 3.3.1 Identify the common structures of a plant including its roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. Describe their functions.
• 3.3.2 Investigate plant growth over time, take measurements in SI units, record the data and display the data in graphs. Examine factors that might influence plant growth.
• 3.4.1 Choose and use the appropriate tools to estimate and measure length, mass and temperature in SI units.

• 3.1.8 Construct and analyze frequency tables and bar graphs from data, including data collected through observations, surveys and experiments. Example: Write a statement about the information displayed in the graph to express a conclusion about the information.

• 3.6.1 Demonstrate refined perceptual skills in the production of artwork.
• 3.6.2 Create artwork that communicates personal ideas and experiences.
• 3.6.6 Demonstrate respect for personal work and the work of others

• W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
• W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
• W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

● Reflection journals
● Pictures, both photography and illustrations (for both the paper and booklets)
● Showcase the stories about life as a flower to Master Gardeners


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

Students will be exploring generational perspectives and experiences through their interaction with the senior citizens of the Master Gardeners. The teacher will discuss the generational differences between the students and the Master Gardeners before interaction.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

Each student will be writing their own narratives about the life of a flower. These narratives will be read by the authors (students) to the visiting Master Gardeners.

Students will be responsible for the growing of their flowers so that they can be planted in the fairgrounds.

Students will also be in charge of documenting the project through photography. An article will also be written by the students to be printed in the local newspaper.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

For this project, the students will partner with the Master Gardeners of Sullivan County, Indiana. This is a club, organized by Purdue University (through extension), of men and women in Sullivan County who have a passion for gardening. Many of these members are also very active members in our community and are common faces at the county fairgrounds. Generally, the Master Gardeners are comprised of individuals who are ages 50 and older. The partnership requires the Master Gardeners to come to the classroom to present what plants grow best in our area, listen to the stories the students have made about the life of a flower, and teach the students how to plant the flowers and take care of them, as well as providing instruction at the fairgrounds for the planting of the flowerbeds. The students will be assisting the students in the replanting of the fairgrounds following a couple of summers of hot weather and drought. The students will also provide companionship to the elders of the community (Master Gardeners). The Master Gardeners do not have a website, so I am unable to include it

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students will benefit from this partnership because it will give the students the opportunity to interact with individuals in our community that they might not normally interact with. This will allow the students to gain a respect for the elders of our community. The students will also learn about gardening and its importance from the Master Gardeners. Additionally, the students will learn about responsibility in the preparation of this project (taking care of the flowers) and gain an appreciation for the community.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The Master Gardeners will benefit from this collaboration in the form of assistance is beautifying the fairgrounds after unfortunate weather destroyed most of the flowers and plants. The Master Gardeners will also benefit from having company and spending time with the younger generation doing something that they love while passing down their knowledge to the future generation.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

After students learn about the life cycle and growth of plants and flowers, students will write a narrative about life as a flower. This will be turned in to check before the Master Gardeners come to visit the classroom. This gives the teacher the opportunity to assess where each student is in regards to their understanding of the life cycle of plants. The charts and graphs of the students’ observations of their individual plants will be used to assess the measurement and science skills of the students. The writing portions of the project, including the reflection, will be used to monitor writing skills. The reflection will also be used to monitor what students learned from the project. Included in the reflection could be the question “What is one question you still have about plants?” This would allow the teacher to assess what areas of the subject need further explanation/practice.

How will you assess your service goals?

The service goals will be assessed by observing the students’ attitudes about service learning (this would be asked in the reflection journal). The goal of service can also be assessed by viewing the flowerbeds the students help to plant, as well as by observing the Master Gardener’s reaction to the help. For example, if the students take good care of their flowers and help to plant them in the flowerbeds, the fairgrounds will look great in time for the county fair.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

The students will be taught about the life cycle of plants in preparation for the service learning project. They will also write the stories about life as a flower, illustrating them with hand-drawn pictures. In addition, the students will also be asked to prepare questions for the Master Gardeners before they visit the classroom. To prepare the students for interacting with senior citizens, the teacher will discuss the generational differences between the students and Master Gardeners. Previous art and writing projects will prepare the students for the completion of this service project.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

● Students can have a sack lunch with their Master Gardener partner after planting the flowerbed (strengthen bond)
● Students could advocate for a class gardens on the school property
● Students could plant their own gardens at home with the help of parents
● Students could start a gardening club of their own
● Students could be recognized during the fair for their contributions (Awards Night)



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

The planting of flowers not only beautifies the fairgrounds, but also helps to improve the fairgrounds environmentally. This service learning project teaches the students to have respect for the environment and to appreciate its beauty. This could encourage and motivate the students to plant their own flowers or gardens.

The planting of the flowers will help to beautify the fairgrounds. This will catch the eye of visitors and help to give the fairgrounds a better “face”. This would help to attract passersby to the fairgrounds that may not normally stop by. Also, parents of students who do not usually go to the fair would be encouraged to come to the fairgrounds to see their child’s contribution to the community.

The math, science, and writing skills they acquire and strengthen through this service learning project will help to set the foundation for future mastery of these areas. The students will also gain a respect and relationship with the older members of their community.