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Let's Sprout Program Resources

Recommended Reading

Image result for up in the garden and down in the dirtUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal
fiction
Grades: Kindergarten - 3rd
Lexile Level: AD900L

Selected because: 
Year-round look at ecosystems above and below the soil. 

Suggested activities:
Connect to seasonal cycles and plant/animal life cycles sprinkled through the book (tomato hornworm, robin) – more info at the end of the book. Create an annual wheel, each student make the life cycle stages of an organism and puts the different stages on the different seasons.

Explore outside. How many of the creatures mentioned in the book can you find? Where should you look for them? Does your schoolyard have everything they need?

Create above/below terrariums from two-liter bottles. Make sure you meet all of the life needs of your inhabitants!

Image result for from seed to plantFrom Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
non-fiction
Grades: Kindergarten - 3rd
Lexile Level: 560L

Selected because: 
Basic life cycle/form and function of plant parts. Simple and clear diagram type illustrations. Accompanied by CD – helpful for independent book exploration for emerging readers. (when reading the text in the diagrams, the sound moves from the left ear to the right ear). Note that when reading diagram labels, the recording does not necessarily always go from right to left or top to bottom. This may confuse some readers. For classroom copies of the book, we recommend numbering the diagram labels in the order they are read on the CD. 

Suggested activities:
Guided Reading suggestions from achievethecore.org

Explore outside and make collections (or take photographs) to make a life cycle collage. 

Look for patterns and symmetry in the images of the plant parts.


A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston illustrations by Sylvia Long
non-fiction
Grades: Kindergarten - 5th
Lexile Level: AD750L

Selected because: 
A nice mix of simple observations “a seed is adventurous” and supporting details - examples of seed distribution.  
Includes life cycle and parts diagrams, addresses seed needs.
Beautiful illustrations, however fonts may be challenging for some readers.

Suggested activities:
Create a seed collection: have students bring seeds from home (hint, look in the kitchen!), look for seeds in the schoolyard, or ask permission to collect seeds in a public place. Sock Seeds are a fun way to collect.

Use the seed collection or mixed packets of seeds to sort and classify the seeds based on physical characteristics like size, color, texture, and shape.

Try sprouting the seeds from the collection or packets. Set up basic experiments that adjust variables like light, water, soil, temperature and have students take measurements over time. Record the stages of the plant's life cycle. 

 Additional lessons can be found at the National Agriculture in the Classroom site. 

Image result for pumpkin circlePumpkin Circle by George Levenson illustrations by Samuel Thaler
non-fiction
Grades: Kindergarten - 3rd
Lexile Level: AD630L

Selected because: 
Poetic interpretation of the full life span of a season of pumpkins AND connection to the growth that follows decay. 

Suggested activities:
Explore (video) decomposition as part of the life cycle with “The Case of the Missing Pumpkin (PDF)” from National Agriculture in the Classroom. (We do recommend watching actual decomposition, *outside*, and then letting students take the seeds home or planting them at school.)

Pumpkins can be hard to grow and take up a lot of space. Instead, create a "growing" diagram of student understanding in the hallway. Add student created pumpkin plant structure (vining stem, leaves, flowers, fruits) that demonstrates their learning and models the pumpkin life cycle.