21st Century Lesson Plan

My second grade students will be making a school garden! Here is the first lesson plan for the unit. The purpose of this lesson is for my students to research which plants can survive in Michigan’s climate and how to care for these plants. This lesson is geared for 21st century learning. Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) suggest that, “In the new culture, the classroom as a model is replaced by learning environments in which digital media provides access to a rich source of information and play.” When creating this lesson on plants, I wanted to integrate Thomas and Brown’s (2011) idea of having the students be in charge of their own learning through digital media.

In this lesson, the students first use Google Classroom to share questions and background knowledge about gardens. Google Classroom is a great tool for students to share ideas, especially with younger kids, because it is a safe environment. It also is a way for everyone to have a voice AND hear everyone else’s thoughts, unlike in a normal classroom discussion where it would take a very long time to hear all 31 students’ ideas.

In Renee Hobbs book, Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom (2011), she describes five core communication competencies of fundamental literacy practices, one of which is access. According to Hobbs (2011), access is “finding and sharing appropriate and relevant information and using media texts and technology tools as well.” Therefore, students are required to use the internet to find information about plants and gardens. They are taught how to find useful information instead of told it. Chances are that if students are told information about how to care for 5 different plants, they will forget; but if they are taught how to find the information, they can go back and reference it whenever they need to.

At the end of the lesson, each team will create a presentation of what they had learned from their research and share it in Google Classroom so that teams can learn from each other through the internet. Overall, this lesson will teach students how to find and share information in the 21st century.


Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

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