A lesson on how our intent and actions affect all other living things
Students have the opportunity to ‘play’ with nature by participating in a fun, dramatic and emotional activity with another living thing. They will gain a lasting imprint in their minds about their treatment of others and how their words, actions and intent impact all living things.
What You Know…
While students are learning about the powerful affect that their words and actions are having on other living things, they are also learning about the idea that energy exists within everything. We are all interconnected and even the most subtle of intent, emotion or action, has a powerful and lasting affect. Students will learn that all living things need and require not only love but also direct contact in order to function and exist.
[quote]I felt so sad when I walked into the classroom one morning and saw two of our plants drooped over. I will think twice the next time someone is left out or being bullied.
-Sarah, Grade 3 student[/quote]
TRY IT! – Then tell us if you wish your teacher had taught it!
Intent: To investigate what happens to 3 identical plants when 1 is loved, 1 is bullied and 1 is ignored.
1. Purchase 3 plants as similar in looks, size, and age, as possible (planted flower pots work the best!)
2. Place each plant in front of a window with access to the same amount of sunlight, but leave significant space between them
3. Inform your class that you will be conducting an experiment in which you will treat 3 living things in 3 different ways – with love, being bullied and being ignored. (Explain the idea that many people talk to their plants to help them grow because they are living things)
4. Have a class discussion to set some ground rules for the actions and words to be used with the plants. Brainstorm what students have experienced when they have been loved, bullied or ignored in the past. Model what your body language and facial expressions would look like and discuss what would be appropriate for the given assignment in a classroom setting.
Ex. What would a loving person say?
You’re so beautiful. I really like you. I would like to be your friend.
Ex: What would a bully say?
I don’t like the way you look. We’re not friends. I don’t want to hang out with you etc.
Ex. How would someone ignore another?
Turn their back and pretend that the living thing does not exist, do not even go near the living thing.
5. It is very important to ensure that this class discussion takes place so that the bullying/ignored behaviour is generalized to this experiment only.
6. Next, have the class make predictions of what they think will happen to the plants. They could write about each one or draw pictures of their predictions.
(Most students predict that the bullied plant will die first).
7. Conduct the experiment!
-Give each plant the same amount of water and sunlight throughout
-Put little signs in front of each plant to indicate which action/emotion it will receive
-Students and teachers visit the plants equally with love/bullying behaviour and stay completely away from the ignored plant (except to water it).
8. Take time each day to discuss the changes that are observed
– discuss how it feels to see these changes and the responsibility that the class attaches to the results.
9. Changes usually occur within the first couple of days
– you will see that the plant that is loved stays beautiful, strong and healthy, the bullied plant begins to wilt and the ignored plant completely slumps over
– continue the experiment for 1-2 weeks.
10. Upon completion of the experiment, have a debriefing session with the class.
- Are you surprised by the results?
- Why do you think that the ignored plant was affected negatively first?
- How can we relate this experiment to other living things?
- To people?
- How will this change how you interact with living things?
- How did you feel during this experiment?
- What did you learn from this experiment?
Be sure to connect this experiment to the human condition. Explain why ignoring someone can be even more damaging than bullying someone because that living thing is not receiving a connection with other living things and this connection is necessary for survival
11. Again, students can draw or write about their experiment as a follow-up activity.
12. This experiment works well with any grade and can be incorporated into Character Education, Science units or any other Environmental strands.
[box type=”note” style=”rounded”]For those of you who find it as difficult as me to cause temporary harm to the plants…rest assured, you can bring them back to life! Conduct another experiment in which you provide extra love and care to the plants and you will be pleasantly surprised [/box]
[quote]I never realized how much impact my words and actions or lack of actions had on other living things. I have a big responsibility as someone who is connected to all other living things here on earth.
-Grade 3 Teacher[/quote]
You can download the [ilink url=”http://www.newageteacher.com/lessonplans/NewAgeTeacher-FlowerPower.doc” style=”download”]Flower-Power Lesson Plan[/ilink] here!