GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds

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GrowLab® is a K-8 plant-based instructional program that invites educators to use plants as a springboard for investigative, student-centered learning. In GrowLab classrooms, indoor and outdoor gardens become living laboratories for active inquiry, where teachers prompt students to question, experiment, and construct their own understanding of the world around them.

The centerpiece of the program is the K-8 curriculum guide, GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds. The horticultural guide, GrowLab: A Complete Guide to Gardening in the Classroom provides further guidance and inspiration for using plants to enrich classroom learning. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the GrowLab curriculum reflects the vision articulated and correlates with objectives included in the National Science Education Standards. Students become scientifically literate by actively engaging in meaningful inquires of the natural world.

GrowLab helps educators cultivate students' innate skills for solving problems in all contexts. After all, knowing how to find an answer is as important as having the answer!

What teachers say about GrowLab:

"Students have absolute enthusiasm for their plant explorations -- from planting, to checking growth and measuring -- and a zest for science, questioning, and initiating new projects that I haven't seen before."
- 6th grade teacher, Boston, MA

"GrowLab's clearly outlined procedures succeed in practice. Activities in the book can be modified to fit your own theme, grade level, or learning circumstances, and they don't give answers away or reveal results before the kids have done their own observing and concluding. This book is a gem."
- Teacher reviewer of GrowLab curriculum

"The GrowLab curriculum and other resources are innovative, high quality, and enormously popular with educators in our area."
- Botanic Garden Education Manager

GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds Chapters and Key Concepts

Chapter 1: Plants Alive!

Key Concepts:

  • Plants have basic requirements for growth and survival including water, nutrients, and light.
  • Plant health is affected by the quantity and quality of resources.
  • Plants have structures, processes, and responses that help them meet their basic needs.
  • Soil helps most plants meet their basic needs.

Chapter 2: Generation to Generation

Key Concepts:

  • Plants change throughout their life cycles.
  • Plants can reproduce from seeds (sexually) or from parts (asexually).
  • Plants have a variety of adaptations to facilitate reproduction.
  • Pollination is essential for plants to produce seeds.
  • Humans take advantage of plants' many methods of reproduction.

Chapter 3: The Diversity of Life

Key Concepts:

  • Variations exist among the offspring of a species.
  • Plants have adaptations that enable them to survive in many different environmental conditions and habitats; this has resulted in the great diversity of life.
  • Humans develop systems to make sense of diversity.
  • Humans take advantage of naturally occurring plant variations and manipulate plant genetics to meet human needs and preferences.
  • Human actions can negatively affect the diversity of life on Earth.

Chapter 4: Sharing the Global Garden

Key Concepts:

  • All living and nonliving things are interdependent; a change in one element affects all.
  • The recycling of all nutrients on Earth depends largely on decomposers.
  • Humans depend on plants to meet many basic needs.
  • Human activities have an impact on all other parts of the ecosystem; there are long-term environmental consequences to human actions.

View sample activities:

Why Root for Roots?
Journey to the Center of a Seed

Read stories of teachers who have used GrowLab to cultivate students' skills:

Field of Greens: Exploring Grasses
Luminous Lessons: Investigating Light
Global Gardening
Illuminating Inquiry
Cultivating Connections
Teaching Partnerships

To learn more about GrowLab books and supplies, visit the Gardening with Kids Shop, request a catalog, or call 1-800-538-7476.

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