This project was part of a much broader, Insects and Plants science unit. As a side, I wanted the students to appreciate that the important role plants play in their lives. The easiest way to do this was to have the students think about the foods they eat and how many of those are plants we recognize. Intentionally, we focused on plants that can be recognized and ‘whole’ foods, and not the chocolate in their chocolate bar even though it is derived from cocoa beans, fats and some type of sugar. We decided to stick to fruits and vegetables.
The lessons and discussions were not difficult, because it was something that everyone could relate to, food. We collected photos through a safe search of Flickr Creative Commons. It was at this point that we pointed out the ‘owners’ of the photos we were going to use need to be ‘thanked’ for letting us use their work.
Once the photos were collected we put them on our blog. Since we are studying the elements of non-fiction writing as well, the students were required to add a caption to each photo along with a basic photo credit. The photo credit was the first step in teaching the kids that when you borrow someone’s work you need to say thank you. As second graders, they can understand a thank you much more than any legal and moral consequences of intellectual property theft.
In the end, most of the students inserted five photos of plants they eat and added captions and gave credit to the owner of the photo. The lesson tied in two important goals: 1) students will identify at least five different plants they eat and 2) they will learn about giving credit to people for using their work.