The Educational EarthBox®
Standards-Based Site Packages
Science Made Easy With the EarthBox®
Teachers, are you concerned with teaching science concepts that you are not entirely comfortable teaching? Do you worry about student comprehension of various scientific principles? With the EarthBox® Pre School-12th Grade curriculum support packages, there is no need to worry. Each lesson includes detailed, scientific explanations of the underlying scientific principles of the lesson in simple, easy to understand language that will help you to become an expert at the scientific principles and properties of water, light, soil, plants and nutrition. Students learn the material by experiencing the science in an enjoyable, hands-on format with student driven activities that address all learning styles and completely engage the student in the learning process.
The Introductory Material for each curriculum support site package includes an Overview, a Standards Alignment Matrix, a listing of the National Science Standards delineating relevant standards for Math, Language Arts and Consumer Science and an explanation of the science behind the EarthBox®. The Science Behind the EarthBox.pdf
The lessons, many of which feature the EarthBox® as an integral learning tool, provide students with activities that help to build on, and reinforce the knowledge gained from traditional instruction. In an effort to assist teachers in their challenge to meet the rigorous goals of No Child Left Behind and to cover several standards most of the lessons address multiple standards from several content areas. Most importantly, the lessons are fun yet challenging. The sense of ownership and responsibility that students gain from growing and caring for plants in their classroom EarthBoxes will stay with them for years to come. Lesson Plan Features.pdf
“I am a 6th grade science teacher and have been using the Earthboxes with my students for a number of years. The students have loved growing and harvesting the vegetables. This year, however, I used the Earthbox curriculum to supplement my teaching and it was wonderful. It is based on good science and is very teacher friendly. I would highly recommend it to other teachers.”
— Ann Cruikshank
Pre-K/12th Grade Correlated and Graduated Instruction
The EarthBox® support curriculum structure intentionally and substantially increases student understanding of the science behind light, soil, water, plants and nutrition from grade level to grade level. Pre school students grow plants from seeds in their classroom to learn about the life cycle and the interconnectivity of plants, light, water, soil and nutrition. Elementary students learn scientific principles behind light, water, soil, plants and nutrition and middle school students perform science-based experimental activities that develop critical thinking skills. High School students perform authentic scientific experiments.
Student Centered Approach
All lessons focus on student-centered guided inquiry exercises. Lessons begin with a question, such as, “How does the direction of light affect plant growth?” Students set up an experiment and formulate hypotheses about the outcome. They make predictions about scientific phenomena and experiment with them before they are taught the concepts in the lesson. This methodology minimizes learning via direct teacher lectures and encourages students to develop critical thinking skills. Students gain a greater understanding of underlying scientific principles and retain more of what they learn with the hands-on, interactive approach. The inquiry-based activities also encourage creative thinking and teamwork, two essential skills students need throughout their education and life.
Using EarthBoxes in the Classroom
The EarthBox® minimizes many of the challenges of growing plants indoors. The watering reservoir ensures that plants grown in EarthBoxes both indoors and outdoors receive the same, ideal amount of water. The fertilizer strip, protected from the elements by the plastic cover, provides a steady, proper amount of nutrients regardless of the outdoor weather or indoor climate. Yet, a truly significant difference between growing plants indoors and outdoors does exist. It is the amount and quality of light that they receive. Non UV-protected classroom windows with Eastern or Southern exposure of 6-8 hours of daily sunlight provide enough light to perform the lesson activities that involve growing plants. Minus these conditions, grow lights can supplement or replace the natural sunlight. Grow light bulbs look like normal fluorescent bulbs, but are enriched in the blue and red end of the visible spectrum. They provide plants with proper light and color intensity for adequate growth. Standard fluorescent bulbs are no substitute for grow light bulbs. If you use a grow light setup in your classroom, the light should not be left on continuously–this can harm the plants. Install a light timer and set it so that the light is on for 14-16 hours a day.
All classrooms are not created equal. Classrooms have different lighting, temperature and humidity conditions. Plants in differing conditions will grow at different rates. If plants grow well in a classroom, the time intervals between the experimental treatments will be shortened. On the other hand, when plants take longer to grow, then the experimental treatment time will need to be lengthened.