Grade 2 Lesson Ideas Introduction

Visiting the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

In order to reinforce your students' learning experiences at the Garden, we have created several lessons that you might consider completing before your visit. By connecting the Garden field trip to your curriculum, you can use the excitement and interest of the students' experiences to make concepts more relevant and provide strong support for your classroom instruction. These activities are closely aligned with the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools, as noted below.


Life Sciences
Plants and animals have predictable life cycles. As a basis for understanding this concept:

  • Students know that organisms reproduce offspring of their own kind and that the offspring resemble their parents and one another.
  • Students know the sequential stages of the life cycles are different for different animals, such as butterflies, frogs, and mice.
  • Students know many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents. Some characteristics are caused or influenced by the environment.
  • Students know there is variation among individuals of one kind within a population.

Investigation and Experimentation
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

  • Make predictions based on observed patterns and not random guessing.
  • Compare and sort common objects according to two or more physical attributes (e.g., color, shape, texture, size, weight). 
  • Write or draw descriptions of a sequence of steps, events, and observations.
  • Construct bar graphs to record data, using appropriately labeled axes.
  • Follow oral instructions for a scientific investigation.


Level 2, Unit 3: Look Again

When planning your field trip, we recommend that you think carefully about what you will do before, during and after your visit. Ask yourself:

  • What can I do to prepare students for the experience before we go?
  • What will we do while we are there? What do I want students to discover?
  • What can I do after the visit to reinforce student learning?

The activities described here provide ideas for each of these parts.