Area Conceptions Sprout on Earth Day

  • Area Conceptions Sprout on Earth Day

    Megan H. Wickstrom, Julie Nelson, and Jean Chumbley
    Within the context of gardening, students examine rectangles with the same perimeter to see if and how their areas differ.
    On a breezy spring day, our second- and third-grade students looked out their classroom windows and imagined what it might be like to work with their teachers to build a garden for Earth Day. The students had just read the book, Mrs. Spitzer's Garden (Pattou 2001), which tells the story of a teacher who plants a garden each school year. When she plants seeds, Mrs. Spitzer knows exactly how to help each plant thrive and grow to its potential. While reading the book, we inserted our names and school into the story so that students could imagine themselves in the plot. Our class had spent several weeks discussing seeds and plant growth, so we ended the story by talking about what is important when planting a garden. Several students suggested that plants need space to grow because they compete for food and water. This concept of space sparked our Gardening and Area Measurement lesson.