In the Garden with Dr. Carver The Nature Book List

Historical fiction picture book about Dr. George Washington Carver and his teachings about botany, agriculture, and includes farming, successful land care strategies and the importance of soil health management. This story is told through the eyes of a young schoolgirl, and provides practical examples of how to "listen to the plants, and they'll tell you what they need" which is a wonderful introduction to the principles of the scientific method of observation.

Educator notes:

  •  This text illustrates the scientific method, would easily fit in with a biographical study plan, and also provides an introduction to soil science and health.
Author: Susan Grigsby Illustrator: Nicole Tadgell Publication year: 2012 Publisher: AV2 by Weigl ISBN: 9780807536308 Number of pages: 32 NAAEE: Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems Find At Your Library


Plant Secrets  books

This book beautifully illustrates plants in all shapes and sizes and cleverly diagrams the plant growth process cycle from seed to plant, flower, and fruit and then back to seed again. Book engages children with a guessing game to which allows the discovery of the plant secrets with the turning of the pages. Roses, tomatoes, peas and oak trees are the familiar but diverse plants used as examples.

Educator notes:

  •  Text provides many comparison opportunities to help with student comprehension and is also suitable for lessons on sequencing, progressions, and life cycle of plants.
Author: Emily Goodman Illustrator: Phyllis Limbacher Tildes Publication year: 2009 Publisher: Charlesbridge ISBN: 9781580892049 Number of pages: 32 NAAEE: Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems Find At Your Library
Topic: Gardening, planting, soil, growing, seeds Age: Primary (K-3) Active Learning Strategy: Hands-On Experiment

Type: Hands on planting experience/experiment

Title: Plants, Plants everywhere!

Learning Objective: The student will:

  • Observe, handle and explore various plant seeds and participate in a seed sowing and/or planting activity
  • Learn about the necessary conditions for successful plant growth and health
  • Discuss the purpose of seeds and the various ways in which seeds "move" and get planted
  • Make and share observations with peers and connect them to a text

 Description: Students will be able to observe and handle various seeds and soil, gardening equipment and learn about the components of successful seedling and plant growth, ie: water, soil, sunshine. Students will participate in a hands on seed planting activity to engage them with the concept of plant growth. A root view display may also be used to enhance students' comprehension of roots and seedlings. Growth checks will be performed to observe, evaluate and discuss plant health and issues. 


  • Plant seeds - beans, tomatoes, sunflowers all work well 
  • Soil and containers - any available - peat pots or plastic, raised beds or garden area if there is access to community or school garden


This activity can be adapted in so many different ways and with different literature texts. As part of a larger curriculum about nature and agricultural literacy, this activity is a wonderfully engaging introduction to the planting and growing process. The sensory portion is key, in my opinion, to connect children with actual soil, seeds and plants, and a garden visit/demonstration would reinforce and enhance the instruction and knowledge retention rate. This activity will also help students practice their observation skills in nature and construct questions based on those observations. Discussion about the various plants seen and what their particular growth stages look like is a great exercise to demonstrate the variety of "fruits" that exist.