From The New York Botanical Garden
Q & A With Dr. Christina
Colon About Seeds 2 Curricula: Plant Adaptations
Garden Adventure SEEDS: Science Exploration and Education
Discovery Series, is a unique classroom curriculum developed
by The New York Botanical Garden to educate children about
science and improve their math and literacy skills. The program
launched in 2003 with SEEDS I, a unit on plant parts for kindergarten
and first grade.
about SEEDS 2?
The many ways that plants adapt to their environment is the focus of SEEDS
2 which was designed for grades 2–3. The most exciting and innovative
element of this new curriculum is that it teaches adaptations using plants
as the main focus. This is significant because many children only learn
about adaptations as they pertain to animals, but plant adaptations are
just as exciting and easier to observe. Another significant aspect of this
curriculum is that it teaches about local plants and their adaptations
to local conditions such as the change of season. This is innovative because
it allows students to apply what they learn in a classroom directly to
their everyday lives. For example, one area of investigation is how temperate
plants are able to adapt to the changing seasons, while wetland plants
are able to thrive in and around ponds. New York is in the middle of a
temperate zone and is surrounded by vast wetlands so the lessons learned
have immediate relevance.
What do teachers and students like about
Teachers like the hands-on, inquiry activities because they are an excellent
educational tool and they get students excited about the
natural world. At the same time, they are learning valuable
science skills and behaviors like how to make observations
and record them, and exciting information such as how plants
grow, and what resources they need to survive.
How does a teacher use SEEDS?
Teachers use the curriculum in the classroom as well as in the Everett Children’s
Adventure Garden. Classroom materials include a comprehensive teacher’s
guide, reproducible worksheets, a class set of hand-lenses, beans for planting
and measuring real seeds and fruits from local plants to observe, and non-fiction
books. The unit includes two class trips to the Everett Children’s Adventure
Garden where students experience what they’ve been studying and practice
their science skills in a natural setting. The unit includes a full-day teacher
training session as well as a teacher pre-trip pass to the Garden. Teachers
can earn six units of new teacher credits by participating in the spring, summer,
or fall training session.
For whom is this unit appropriate?
All children in grades 2–3 will benefit from SEEDS 2; even teachers of
older students also find it appropriate and useful. Teachers who have ESL students
or who teach children with special learning challenges have found SEEDS extremely
helpful because it uses so many different approaches to teaching these concepts.
The curriculum is flexible and can be adapted to accommodate many learning
SEEDS 2: Plant Adaptations will launch Thursday, June 16th. A reception
will be held in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden from 4:00 to
6:00 p.m. Principals, administrators, science cluster teachers and 2nd and
3rd grade classroom teachers from the New York metropolitan area will be attending
to learn about this important curriculum unit. To reserve a spot for the June
16th reception call 718.817.8175. To learn more about the SEEDS curricula visit www.nybg.org/chil_edu/ecag.html#
Dr. Christina Colón is the Curator of Curriculum Development and
Evaluation at The New York Botanical Garden and creator of the SEEDS curricula.