This term, our Year 6 students have been investigating how plants adapt to their environments as part of their Transdisciplinary Learning.

Students visited the Botanical Gardens at the beginning of the inquiry

Students visited the Botanical Gardens at the beginning of the inquiry

The investigation involved an experiment, designed by the Year 6 students, which exposed different species of plants to varying environmental conditions to see what effect the conditions had on the growth of the plants.

Over a number of weeks, students tested the effects of sunlight, soil quality, salt levels, humidity or fertiliser on their plants and regularly measured changes and recorded the data in their iPads.

Year 6 students measuring their plants and recording the data

Year 6 students measuring their plants and recording the data

Year 6 Teacher, Mr Daniel Zito, said that as junior scientists, it is important for students to process their data using technology and communicate their findings to the broader community.

“The students used the data recorded in their iPads to create spreadsheets, which they turned into graphs to display their results,” said Mr Zito.

“The students also designed their very own websites to communicate their findings.”

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Sample of Year 6 student website

Sample of Year 6 student website

Prior to commencing their experiments, the students were asked to predict the outcome of their investigation, and then reflect on their findings at the conclusion of the project.

“Our end result isn’t always what we predict, sometimes the results can be surprising,” reflected Maya.

“Too much sun affects capsicum plants and makes them wilt if they don’t have enough water. I learnt that plants can actually shrink, which I never expected,” said Akira.

“It was interesting that the plant which was grown in wet, dark conditions grew mould and died!” said Jimmy.

“I actually found out that salt makes a capsicum plant more resilient,” said Jackson.

The investigation also enabled students to determine the most effective ways to care for their plants including how often they should water their plants and what nutrients were best for their species.

Plants for kept in the Year 6 classrooms where students were able to look after them

Plants for kept in the Year 6 classrooms where students were able to look after them

Jess found that liquid fertiliser drowned the roots of her Thyme plant.

“I researched it and it turns out Thyme actually likes drained soil so I would like to try dry fertiliser,” she said.

At the conclusion of the experiment, the students published their findings on their websites, with many emerging as enthusiastic green thumbs following the project!