Students will carry out a structured inquiry investigation to determine how mulch affects soil moisture. By testing the effect of the presence (or absence) and type of mulch on the soil’s moisture content, the students will apply their findings to plant growth and viability. The process of investigating should engender other lines of inquiry related to science content standards and vocabulary for 2nd grade: conditions that affect evaporation, the water cycle, the life cycles of plants, life cycles of caterpillars, plant and animal adaptations to changing seasons, and why it is important to track weather data. Using test plots in the school garden, students will investigate the question: “What is the relationship between soil moisture and the presence or absence of mulch?”
Students will be engaged in an on-‐going investigation in which plants are started in the classroom and then transplanted into garden plots. This preliminary investigation on soil moisture is designed to help students make critical decisions about the conditions that will affect their plants most positively. Students take measurements and make observations periodically, and are supported by the teacher in making sense of their findings. Map skills and charting are practiced throughout the lesson. Students will create a graph of their data, analyze the data, and present their results and conclusions to the class. Students will also discuss their results in the context of plant growth and viability.
Download the Water Cycle Waterwise Gardening Lesson Plan.
Download the Water Cycle Waterwise Gardening Worksheets.