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Investigating Plant Life Cycles at Washington Elementary

Washington students working with their teacher on a science lesson

Yellow. Brown. Green. Oval. Bent. Straight.

Incoming third-graders in Jessica Farias' class at Washington Elementary transformed into science investigators on a recent morning. They used their powers of observation – plus magnifying glasses, science journals and help from one another – to document all sorts of details about ryegrass and bean plants at different stages of life.

"We're learning about how all organisms, including people, may look different from stage to stage, but we're still the same," Farias said.

The science lesson is part of Kennewick School District's summer school program, which focuses on engaging, hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) learning for students in preschool through eighth grade. For high school students in summer school, the focus is credit recovery, extra help with math and enrichment opportunities.

More than 3,000 students are participating in summer school this year throughout the district.

In Farias' class at Washington, students were thrilled to be science investigators. They took their observations seriously – poring over the samples of the plants at different stages, from seeds to sprouts and so on.

They documented colors and shapes. They broke out rulers to take measurements. They also got practice working in groups, with each student assigned a different group responsibility, from managing the investigation materials to being the person to take any questions to the teacher.

At the end of the lesson, the students gathered together as a class and shared their observations.

Farias said the lesson is a fun one for students – and it helps them connect classroom learning to their real-life experiences.

"They can look at a seed and know that it's not going to stay like that for long, it's going to grow into something else," she said. "All things – all seeds, all things – go through those different stages."

Washington student studying a plant


Washington student using a magnifying glass


Washington student observations


Washington student observing a plant


Washington student smiling during science