Learning Centers are a staple of many classrooms. Teachers like them because they promote independence, responsibility, and allow opportunities for self-discovery. Students like them because Center activities often feel like a “game” and they get to work alongside their peers.
Use the book Pass the Energy, Please! as the basis for a variety of Centers about food chains. An ebook Teacher’s Guide, Nature’s Food Chains, describes seven easy-to-create Centers, each one focusing on a different “intelligence.”
LEARNING CENTER: A Seedy Activity
The focus of this center is on the “Naturalist Intelligence.” Each student sorts seeds into categories using his/her own specifications. Then the student looks at another student’s sorted seeds and determines the specifications that they used to make their categories. With dried grasses and plants readily available outside and in the garden, you can local seeds you collect as well as seeds from packets to set up the Center.
Suggested Grade Level: 3rd — 5th
- Read aloud the book Pass the Energy, Please! or make it available for your students to read at the Center. Have students refer to the text and illustrations to notice that a plant is at the beginning of every food chain. You may want to review a plant’s life cycle, beginning with a seed.
- Follow the directions in “A Seedy Activity” to set up a Center. This pdf download includes complete set-up directions, materials list, and a Center handout of student directions (page 2).
- Debrief the activity with your students using the “Reflection Questions.”
Common Core Standards (ELA 3-5)
Reading Informational Text
- Integration of Knowledge and ideas: 3.7, 4.7, 5.8
Next Generation Science Standards (DCI 3-5)
- LS 1 — From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
- LS2 – Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
- PS 1 — Energy