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Using African Violets as a Teaching Aid


 How do teachers relate math to violets?

 We related it depending upon the grade level. We did such things as
measuring leaf size at various stages of growth, calculating the difference
in size, measuring quantity of fertilizer (or soil components), counting days
until plantlets appeared, calculating averages for number of plantlets, days
to plantlet appearance, graphing, using the computer to manipulate the
measured data into pie charts, tables, etc.

 Can you give me some ideas on other typical educational objectives?

 My response would depend upon how your school system writes objectives.
We typically do "behavioral" objectives that are "cross curricular" in nature.
For example, with your objective (The Science and Technology objectives
for our school board states that students should learn about the growth
requirements for plants), we relate math to that objective by having a
"sub-objective" for math (The student shall calculate the averaged time
required for plantlets to appear)..

For English (The student shall write a paragraph describing the process
utilized to prepare a leaf for propagation).

For art (The student shall draw a picture of an African violet blossom).

For computer (The student shall create a table or chart showing the name
of the cultivar and how many plantlets each cultivar produced).

For reading (The student will read a brief article about African violets and
create a list of key words to add to their vocabulary), and for enrichment

(The student shall interview an experienced violet grower and share two
key ideas with classmates). Again, each objective is grade appropriate and
would be in addition to the detailed objectives pertaining to learning about the
physical growth of plants (photosynthesis, transpiration, respiration,
growth cycle, blossom production, plant parts and functions, etc.).

I plan to have another Grade 3 class or two in the Fall. Third graders are
a great group for this type of project. Within that group, some kids will be
able to meet all the objectives and others will be able to do only the
simplest because their skill levels will vary considerably.