Technology Focus: Microcontrollers, Digital Sensors, Coding Apps, Spreadsheets
Description: The students will learn about the needs of plants by using a data collection tool (Makeblock Neurons). This tool will allow students to measure the temperature and humidity around a plant as well as its soil moisture level. This data will be graphed using a spreadsheet application to determine when the plant would need more water.
Level: Primary / Junior
Audience: Grade 3
Tool Highlights: Makeblock Neurons, Computers (Tablet, Laptop or Desktop) and supporting Apps
Big Idea: Plants have distinct characteristics and needs that technology can be used to identify as well as measure.
Ministry Expectations: Understanding Life Systems Growth and Changes in Plants
Overall expectations: STSE expectations, specific expectations)
3. demonstrate an understanding that plants grow and change and have distinct characteristics.
2.1 follow established safety procedures during science and technology investigations (e.g., avoid touching eyes when handling plants; never taste any part of a plant unless instructed to do so by the teacher)
2.3 germinate seeds and record similarities and differences as seedlings develop (e.g., plant quick-growing seeds – nasturtium, morning glory, sunflower, tomato, beet, or radish seeds – in peat pellets to observe growth)
2.6 use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including stem, leaf, root, pistil, stamen, flower, adaptation, and germination, in oral and written communication
2.7 use a variety of forms (e.g., oral, written, graphic, multimedia) to communicate with different audiences and for a variety of purposes (e.g., make illustrated entries in a personal science journal to describe plant characteristics and adaptations to harsh environments)
3.1 describe the basic needs of plants, including air, water, light, warmth, and space
3.4 describe how most plants get energy to live directly from the sun (e.g., plants turn the energy from the sun into food for themselves) and how plants help other living things to get energy from the sun (e.g., Other living things, which cannot “eat”sunshine, eat the plants to get the energy.They also get energy when they eat the animals that eat the plants.)
Prior Skill Sets
Materials and Equipment
Lesson 1: What plants need (40-60 minutes)
Lesson 2: (40 minutes)
Lesson 3: (20 whole class)
Lesson 4 (40- 60 minutes per group)
Note: As you are likely to have only 1 kit per classroom this lesson should be for small groups of 2 to 3 students. Each group will have chance to put the sensors together, programming and take some initial readings on all 4 plants
Lesson 5 (40 minutes)
Lesson 5 (10 -20 per group per day for 2 or more weeks)
Lesson 7 (40 minutes)
For Learning: Ask the students what things they think a plant needs to survive in Lesson 1
As Learning: During the activities use Observation Sheet or Blank Rubric Strip to note what questions the students are asking and what observations or conclusions they drawing as they work with the plants and Neurons
Of learning: Use the Rubric Strip 1 and 2 (Appendix 7 & 8) and anecdotal notes to determine the students Transfer and Processing Skills and Strategies
Next Steps/Extensions/Accommodations/Other Topics for this Tech Tool:
With all the information that was collected in the students notes, tables graphs and photos each student could be asked to create a multimedia presentation to document their journey
The students now have a baseline of data for when a plant needs water. This information could be used to create other devices with Neurons to alert you when the plant needs water.
It is also possible with the addition of either servos or a water pump to create a self watering system.
Ordering information for the 2 additional sensors:
The basic kit can me ordered from many Canadian based vendors. The Moisture sensor can be bought here: https://store.makeblock.com/Soil%20Moisture%20Sensor%20Block
The temperature sensor can be found here: