Lacey’s Final Make for ED677


A mash up of STEM and Connected Learning principles brought to you by Lacey Kleckner

Spring 2016, ED677


In order to decide on a general topic/project idea I surveyed my students to understand their interests.  Some of the ideas I had related to music, the great outdoors, gardening, designing airplanes, or creating an entire unit plan to teach to a younger class of kids.  This year I have a handful of nature-lovers, who are very enthusiastic about gardening and composting.  Based on student data, my class voted that designing a garden would capture their interests.

Here, my final make includes Unpacking Student Interests, Peer-Supported Learning, Genius Hour, and Shared Purpose, in addition to integrating technology in a variety of ways.  After learning about all these great methods of teaching, through ED677, and how seemingly easy they are to incorporate into the day, I decided to make them all come together as we dive into a PBL.  This PBL will be used during my school’s “girls STEM club,” which connects to my inquiry question regarding enriching girls in STEM principles in order to give them equal access to Mathematical and Engineering opportunities.  As you read the lesson plan you will see that there is an opportunity for inner-city schools to gain access to this plan even if they don’t have a garden.

Project Idea: Students will, from start to finish, collaborate with peers to create a school garden.  Students will develop an understanding of Area and Perimeter (Math) by creating a plan for the school garden, and once they know the space they have to work with, students will design a realistic gardening plan.  One option of this design could be to use Minecraft.EDU to layout the garden footprint, however traditional pen/paper sketching would work fine too.  Truly, it’s all about the student’s choice and with the goal of creating a finalized garden in mind, the students will create their own learning path to get there.  After assessing the amount of available garden space, students will make recommendations for additional garden locations around the school based on sun/shade. My students are about to begin learning from the fourth grade Science kit, (FOSS Sun, Moon and Planets Unit), but the components of this kit could easily be taught to kids through online learning, or even online research.  As the PBL develops students will assemble a real-life garden, with the addition of installing fences around the already-existing raised beds.  In the end, students will have a choice between writing an informational or persuasive piece as a culminating activity (ELA).  In the case that students don’t have a place to garden (perhaps a city school), a persuasive argument would need to be made in order to convince community of needed space.  As an extension, students may develop an online summer watering schedule and/or research plants and vegetables that will flourish during the hot summer months in our area, based on our PA Regions study (Social Studies).  

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Performance Objectives:  Students will:  1) Determine area and perimeter after measuring dimensions of a rectangular shape.  If students don’t have a garden area they will propose one based on estimated space needed.  2) Research and understand the rotation of the earth around the sun and the shadows that are created. 3) Research what type of vegetation (flowers and vegetables) would best grow in the area based on weather, space provided, and shade.  4) Create a blue-print/plan of the garden which shows how space will be utilized, and what will be planted.  5) Create a budget.  6) Research fertilizers, decide if fencing is necessary to protect the green space.  7) Inform school families of the garden plan, asking for donations, sharing budget/plan/etc. 8) Create a sign-up sheet for families to help water/maintain the garden.  This includes a systematic way to weed the garden and pick the vegetables.  9) Write a letter to a principal or community (if asking for space), presenting the proposal in any desired way.  

Content Standards Identified Learning Targets Evidence of Success in Achieving Identified Learning Target

ESS1B Earth and the Solar Sys.


*Area and Perimeter

*Earth’s rotation (shadows)


*Correctly identifying area and perimeter and sunny location.

*Writing Rubric

21st Century Skills Teaching Strategies Evidence of Success
Information and


*Students will be instructed how to determine area and perimeter using prior measurement knowledge. *Students will be instructed on earth’s rotation and the shadows produced. *Students will accurately determine fencing and ground cover required to plant the garden.  

*Students will accurately identify sunny location.

Thinking and Reasoning Skills *Students will draft and write either an informational or persuasive piece.

*Students will provide feedback on project after completion.

*Students will score proficient in the writing rubric.

*Project reflection feedback.

Collaboration *Students will recommend number of plants to fit into the existing garden space using their prior knowledge of arrays. *Students will share their layout using either Minecraft or pen and paper drawing.

Assessment and Reflection:

Rubric(s) I will use: (Check all that apply.) Collaboration X Written Communication X
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving X Content Knowledge X
Oral Communication X Other
Other classroom assessments for learning: (Check all that apply) Quizzes/ tests Practice presentations X
Self-evaluation Notes
Peer evaluation Checklists/observations X
Online tests and exams Concept maps
Reflections:     (Check all that apply) Survey Focus Group
Discussion X Task Management Chart
Journal Writing/ Learning Log Reflection Questions X


Background Knowledge:  

Knowledge and Skills Needed Already Have Learned Taught Before the Project Taught During the Project
1.  Area and Perimeter        X     X          X
2.  Earth’s Rotation around Sun    X       X
3.  Informational/Persuasive Writing    X           X
4.  Use of technology        X       X              X

Technology Integration:  Laptops:  Creating watering charts (Excel? Google Docs?); using Minecraft to layout the garden plan; Google Docs for writing/revising/editing their written piece; Google to research planting opportunities (plants/veggies); Twitter to connect with local Gardeners and possibly update families on garden growth; Prezi, or other presentation idea to create proposal/final presentation; Twitter, facebook, or Google Community to stay in touch with families for summer and to post pictures of garden growth; an online platform to arrange watering/picking schedule.

Project Evaluation:  To evaluate the project, students will complete a project reflection sheet by completing the following statements:

1.)    What was your team’s experience with this project?



2.)    What stands out most to you about this project?

3.)    What changes would you make for next year and why?

4.)    What was the most important thing you learned from this project?

Extension Opportunity:  My school has an annual event, “A Taste of Penn Wynne.”  This is an evening that families bring food with a theme of “across the world.”  Many families take the theme of locally produced veggies.  The students could research recipes that incorporate the veggies produced to make a dish to share at the Taste of Penn Wynne.  If this PBL were used at another school, an extension could be creating a menu item, or a dish to share with their class.

In addition, this entire theme could be taken further and turned into a Grow Locally, Farm Fresh project.  Students could visit local farms, learn about composting, etc.  The options from here are truly endless!  


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