Researching to Build Knowledge and Teach Others: The Secret World of Pollination | EL Education Curriculum

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Researching to Build Knowledge and Teach Others: The Secret World of Pollination

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In this module, students build their research skills and science knowledge through a study of the secret world of plants and pollinators. In Unit 1, students navigate informational text features, co-create Plant, Seed, Fruit, and Flower Frayer Model anchor charts, create scientific drawings, and participate in a Science Talk, all focused on learning about how plants grow and survive.

In Unit 2, students home in on a study of the role of insect pollinators in helping plants grow and survive. Using the text What Is Pollination? by Bobbie Kalman, students continue to strengthen their research skills as they conduct whole group and small group research on insect pollinators. Students then use their research notes to write an informative piece about a specific insect pollinator and its role in the pollination process.

In Unit 3, students extend and apply their understanding of pollination and pollinators through the creation of their performance task. Using the informative writing piece from Unit 2, as well as supplemental texts about specific plants and pollinators, students prepare an oral presentation and create a poster to share their knowledge about a specific insect pollinator and plant. This performance task centers on CCSS ELA SL.2.4.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • How do plants grow and survive?
    • Plants need light and water to grow.
  • How do pollinators help plants grow and survive?
    • Plants need pollinators because they help with the pollination process that enables new plants to grow.
  • How do we get the fruits, flowers, and vegetables that we enjoy?
    • Pollinators help plants produce the fruits, flowers, and vegetables we enjoy through the process of pollination.
  • How do we become researchers and share our learning?
    • Scientists use models to explain an idea or describe relationships.

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Plants and pollinators
  • Task: Performance task poster and oral presentation to share information about a specific insect pollinator and plant
  • Targets (CCSS explicitly taught and assessed):SL.2.4
  • Text: From Seed to Plant; Plant Secrets; What Is Pollination?; Seed to Plant

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English language arts standards and to be taught during the  Literacy Block of the school day. The module also intentionally incorporates science content that many teachers across the nation are expected to address in second grade. These intentional connections are described below. (Based on your state or district context, teachers may also choose to address additional specific social studies or science standards during other parts of the school day.)

Science (based on NGSS):

  • 2-LS2-1
  • 2-LS2-2
  • 2-LS2-2
  • 2-LS2-2

Habits of Character / Social Emotional Learning Focus

Central to EL Education's curriculum is a focus on ?habits of character? and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this module, students work to become effective learners by taking initiative and collaborating with others. They also work to become ethical people by showing empathy.


Each unit in the Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Performance Task

Performance Task Poster and Oral Presentation: The Secret World of Plants and Pollinators

In this two-part performance task, students create a poster with scientific drawings and captions and then deliver an oral presentation during the Celebration of Learning. In Part 1, students use their research and informational writing from Unit 2 to create scientific drawings depicting the pollination process of a particular insect, as well as a reflection paragraph on how they used critique and revision to make their scientific drawings better. In Part 2, students deliver a presentation, orally describing how their specific pollinator aids in the pollination process of a specific plant and explaining the process using their poster. Students also include a reflection about the role critique and revision played in their final product and answer questions following their presentation from an audience of family members, peers, teachers, and related school community members. This task addresses CCSS ELA SL.2.4.

Module 3 also lays the foundation for the work in Module 4. In Module 3, students build deep knowledge about the scientific topic of plants and pollinators. In Module 4, students then apply this knowledge to making a meaningful contribution to their community. Module 4 focuses on contributing to a better world and teaches students specific habits of character (e.g., applying their learning and using their strengths to help others grow) that will help them make a difference in the world around them. Refer to the Module 4 Overview for more information. Since Module 4 content is based on Module 3, save students' Module 3 work so they can refer to it during Module 4 as needed.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Seed to Plant
by Kristin Baird Rattini
One per student
ISBN: 9781426314704
What Is Pollination
by Bobbie Kalman
One per pair
ISBN: 9780778733065
Plant Secrets
by Emily Goodman
One per classroom
ISBN: 9781580892056
From Seed to Plant
by Gail Gibbons
One per pair
ISBN: 9780823410255


Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.


Labs are 1 hour of instruction per day. They are designed to promote student proficiency and growth.

There are 5 distinct Labs: Explore, Engineer, Create, Imagine, and Research. Each of the Labs unfolds across an entire module and takes place in four stages: Launch, Practice, Extend, and Choice and Challenge.

During their Lab time, students break up into smaller Lab groups and go to separate workstations (tables or other work spaces around the classroom). This structure creates a small collaborative atmosphere in which students will work throughout their Labs experience. It also supports the management of materials (since each workstation has its own materials).

Connections to the Labs

Labs continue to provide students with an engaging, hands-on place to build habits of character, literacy skills, and module-related content understanding. There are four Labs for the second module: Create, Explore, Imagine, and Research. The Labs are directly connected to the content of the module and should be implemented alongside the lessons.

Labs for this module focus on teaching students:

  • Build and express content knowledge about plants through the creation of scientific drawings.
  • Design and conduct an experiment to determine, first-hand, the needs of plants.
  • Use their knowledge of seed dispersal and pollinators to design, and build, tools that can assist or replicate these vital natural functions.
  • Engage in an exploration of poetry and movement to deepen and display their understanding of seed dispersal and pollinators.
  • Build social-emotional skills through playing and collaborating with classmates.

Connections to the Reading Foundations Skills Block

The Reading Foundations Skills Block is an hour of instruction that teaches students how to crack the alphabetic code. This block supports reading and writing conventions necessary for student success in the Reading Block, covering all Reading Foundations standards and the Language standards associated with spelling. Research and standards-based instructional practices are designed to support teachers as they teach students how to read, write, and analyze words. Built-in instructional supports and resources provide teacher guidance for differentiation in both the whole and small group settings based on each students' Phase of Reading and Spelling Development. The Skills Block includes one hour of instruction: 15-20 minutes of whole group and 45 minutes of differentiated small group instruction.

Skills Block lessons for this module focus on teaching students:

  • Learn spelling generalizations for word endings and suffixes that sound the same but are spelled differently (e.g., -ck and -k).
  • Read and spell C-le (consonant, -le) syllable words (e.g., handle and giggle).
  • Read and spell words with new suffixes (e.g., -ly).
  • Focus on fluently reading grade 2 texts, specifically nonfiction texts.

Refer to each Unit Overview for more detailed information regarding that cycle, including information about what to prepare in advance.


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