While at a science education conference, I learned about a resource that may interest you as you build that “big picture” about plants for students.
The Nutrients for Life Foundation is a nonprofit organization educating students and the public about the role fertilizers play in feeding the world. They created lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students that can be used by classroom teachers and homeschool teachers. The foundation was created in 2004 by leaders in the fertilizer industry. According to the information in the Fall 2013 issue of Nutrients for Life, the Foundation’s magazine, representatives from the following companies serve as board members or as members on the advisory board: PotashCorp, Transammonia, The Fertilizer Institute, Intrepid Potash, Simplot, Koch Fertilizer LLC, Yara North America, Inc., The Mosaic Company, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Agium Inc., CF Industries, Inc., Florida Fertilzer & Agrichemical Association. The Foundation has regional representatives in Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Florida, Illinois and the Northwest.
The Nutrients for Life Foundation’s campaign to educate the public about fertilizer is extensive. They have placed ads on trains, created recipe cards and have taken their message to the radio. They also sponsored a traveling exhibition about soil science that began its run at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum (July 19, 2008 – January 10, 2010).
The Foundation’s curriculum, Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century, is aligned to state standards and is available for free online. When downloading the lessons for your grade level, select your state to download the proper curriculum. Downloadable materials include lesson plans, pre- and post-tests and supply lists. Posters, bookmarks and other materials can also be ordered at no charge.
Visit the Nutrients for Life website to learn more about their soil science curriculum. You can view videos complementing their curriculum on YouTube. Here is a link to a video about a seed sorting activity for elementary school students. When you visit YouTube directly, search for videos by “Nutrients4Life”.