Lesson Four

Lesson Four focuses on measuring your seedlings. In this lesson you will learn:

  • About measurement and units

  • How to take good photographs of your plants

Measurements and Units

The Electric Garden can measure soil moisture levels, soil temperature, air temperature, air humidity, and light levels. When we take a measurement, we need to make a note of which unit of measurement we have used. A unit of measurement is a standard amount or quantity that always remains the same and provides a reference point.

Log in to the Electric Garden website and take a look at your school’s data. What units are being used to measure:

  • Soil moisture levels

  • Soil temperature

  • Air temperature

  • Air humidity

  • Light levels

What does the Electric Garden not measure that might be useful for us to track? Come up with three more things that would be useful to measure. What units will you use? Will these change as the plants grow?

Read through the list below. Discuss with the person next to you how you would measure the following things. What units would you use?

  • Seeds

  • Seedlings

  • Pumpkins

  • Your garden

  • The school’s grounds

  • The distance from home to school

Taking photographs

Using photographs is a great way to record our lives and memories. They are useful to show our friends and families what we have been doing. We want to take the best pictures that we can. Below are some tips on how to take good photographs. Read through them and look at the example images. Can you take pictures that follow these tips?

Governors Bay Pier, Aotearoa . Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Governors Bay Pier, Aotearoa . Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a guideline that suggests splitting a picture into three sections horizontally and three sections vertically to make a visually pleasing picture. In this picture, the sky is the top third, the mountains are in the middle third, and the sea in in the bottom third. The pier is across two horizontal thirds.

Bridge near Lake Matheson, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Bridge near Lake Matheson, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Leading lines

To draw attention to the centre of a picture, you can use leading lines. In this picture, the bridge leads your eyes to the entrance to the forest.

Pioneer Women Memorial, Banks Peninsula, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Pioneer Women Memorial, Banks Peninsula, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Framing

Framing is another technique for drawing your attention to the centre of the photograph. Here, the window in the stone memorial highlights the landscape in the background.

Hoiho, Harington Point, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Hoiho, Harington Point, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Focusing on the Subject

It is important to make sure that you are focused on the subject of your photo. In this picture, the hoiho is in focus, but the surrounding grass is not. This means that you look at the penguin rather than its surroundings.

Ferns in Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Ferns in Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Aotearoa. Photo: Andrew MacDonald

Close ups

When we zoom in on a particular element of a photograph, we can often see things we would not otherwise notice. In this picture, we can see the individual fronds of the fern.

Photographs to Record Measurements

When taking photographs of the plants in the garden, we need to provide a scale so we can see how big the plant is. This will be something that is of a standard size, for example a 50c coin will be the same size in Auckland as it is in Queenstown!

Look through the images of our pumpkin plant. For each image, think about:

  • Does the picture look nice?

  • Can I see the measurements on the ruler?

  • Can you see the whole plant?

  • Can I work out how big the plant is from the photo?

  • Is the plant and its pot in the middle of the photo?

Write a list of rules for taking useful photographs to record the growth of your plants.

Your turn

With your teacher, head out into the school field or garden. Practise taking photographs of plants, insects, and your school. Try including something to provide scale such as a ruler or a coin.