⁣Lesson Plan: Exploring the Enchanting Gardens of the Smithsonian Castle: Walking Tour and Natural Wonders

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⁣Lesson Plan: Exploring the Enchanting Gardens of the Smithsonian Castle: Walking Tour and Natural Wonders

Grade Level: 3-5

Objective: By the end of this lesson, students will have a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature and the importance of botanical gardens through a walking tour of the gardens surrounding the Smithsonian Castle. Students will develop their observation skills, critical thinking abilities, and knowledge of plant life while exploring the captivating gardens.

Common Core Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1.B: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry on conversations about topics and texts under study, responding to others' comments and questions and expressing their own ideas clearly.

- Access to the internet or library resources
- Paper and pencils
- Field notebooks or sheets for recording observations


1. Introduction (5 minutes):
- Begin the lesson by discussing the importance of gardens and their role in preserving and showcasing plant life.
- Show images or videos of the Smithsonian Castle's gardens to capture students' interest and curiosity.

2. Research and Discussion (15 minutes):
- Instruct students to research and find information about the history and significance of the Smithsonian Castle's gardens.
- Encourage students to explore topics such as the types of plants found in the gardens, the importance of botanical gardens for conservation, and the role of gardens in providing habitat for wildlife.
- Allow students to discuss their findings in small groups or pairs.

3. Garden Walking Tour Preparation (15 minutes):
- Explain the concept of a garden walking tour and how it allows visitors to explore and appreciate the beauty of nature.
- Provide students with a map or guide to the gardens surrounding the Smithsonian Castle.
- Instruct students to imagine themselves on a walking tour and ask them to identify plants or features they would like to observe and learn more about.

4. Garden Walking Tour (60 minutes):
- Conduct the walking tour of the Smithsonian Castle's gardens, either in person or virtually through online resources.
- Guide students through various sections of the gardens, pointing out interesting plants, features, and wildlife.
- Encourage students to take notes and sketch or photograph the plants and features that catch their attention.

5. Reflective Writing and Discussion (10 minutes):
- After completing the garden walking tour, have students individually write a short reflection on their experience.
- Prompt students to reflect on what they've learned about the gardens, the importance of botanical gardens, and the beauty of plant life.
- Allow students to share their reflections with the class and engage in a group discussion on the significance of gardens in connecting people with nature.

Common Core Labels Correlations:

Enjoy a walk through the spectacular gardens of the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. We begin our stroll on the National Mall and then walk to the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the castle. The tour continues to the Moongate Garden situated outside of the Sackler Museum.

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