Enriching Life Science Experiments

 In PVF News

During the 2020-2021 distance learning school year, PVF awarded a $500 Environmental Science Grant to Liz Cruger, an Elementary Science Teacher at Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA. Read about her highly successful project in her recent report:

Thank you again for the generous Environmental Science Resource Grant given to Lighthouse Community Charter School and our K-2 grade students in January of this year! This grant was used to purchase hands-on science materials distributed to 157 Kindergarten-2nd grade students.

Each student received:

  • 1 handheld magnifying glass
  • a 12 inch/30 centimeter ruler
  • 6 biodegradable planting pots
  • a bag of soil
  • seeds! (2 lima beans, 3 kidney beans, 2 green beans, and 7-10 sunflower seeds)

Lighthouse conducted classes virtually throughout the entire school year for the majority of our students. I regularly created science lessons that included hands-on investigations, adapting lesson ideas to feature common household materials that students (hopefully) had at home. Often, unfortunately, students did not have materials for the lessons. The PVF grant allowed me to purchase life science materials for every student and this created a lot of excitement in my students.

Having access to materials definitely increased participation within my class. I worked within NGSS for K-2 focusing on structure and function of each plant part. Our guiding questions were What are the structures (parts) of a plant? What are the functions (jobs) of different plant parts? What do plants need to survive and grow? Students measured plant growth, compared the shapes and sizes of different plant leaves, soaked a lima bean to observe and draw the embryo within, and learned about the functions of each plant part through readings and videos. Students learned how to care for plants and what they needed to survive and grow.


Some of my students did this work with parents and grandparents as guidance. This was a beautiful benefit of doing science at home. These became “family science lessons” and provided opportunities to bring families together to discuss, wonder, observe, and learn together. These science experiences provided enriching experiences for my students and families. It connected them to our living world, allowing them to create, grow, and wonder within it. It provided a screen-free learning experience during a very unique school year. It invited them to connect with the natural world and learn more about it. The PVF Grant was pivotal in making these experiences happen and I thank you again for your generosity.

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