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Welcome to the elementary school challenge page for Challenge A of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.

Challenge A: Art and Writing

Title: Plant Love Stories
For individuals or groups
Due Date: Fri., Nov. 19, 2021 by 5 p.m.

Your Challenge:

Do you have a fond memory of harvesting from the garden with your grandmother or spotting brightly-colored flowers while you played in the woods? Everyone has a story about a plant they love! Your challenge is to think of a plant that has meaning to you and write about your memory of that plant. Be creative! Your “plant love story” can be written as a short story or a poem. In addition to your story, please submit your own drawing of the plant you love!

You are encouraged to visit Plant Love Stories to read other people’s plant love stories and get ideas for your own! Select stories will be featured on the Plant Love Stories blog. Make sure to submit your entries to Phipps Conservatory, not the Plant Love Stories blog!

Entry Requirements:
Deliver to science education coordinator at Phipps in person, via certified mail or via email:

  • Challenge Entry Form
  • One typed or handwritten short story or poem about a plant that you love.
  • An original drawing of the plant you love
  • Please include the school name and a list of the students involved in the project.
  • If mailing a copy to the Conservatory, please use the address below:


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Fairchild Challenge c/o Jennifer Torrance
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Read below to find the standards for each grade level for Challenge A of the Elementary School Fairchild Challenge

  • Grades Two – Five

    • CC.1.1.K.C: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). • Recognize and produce rhyming words. • Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. • Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words. • Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sound (phonemes) in the three-phoneme (CVC) words.

    • CC.1.1.K.D: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. • Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondence. • Associate the long and short sounds with common spellings for the five major vowels. • Read grade-level high-frequency sight words with automaticity. • Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.

    • CC.1.2.2.C: Describe the connection between a series of events, concepts, or steps in a procedure within a text.

    • CC.1.2.2.J: Acquire and use grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases.

    • CC.1.4.2.A: Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    • CC.1.4.2.G: Write opinion pieces on familiar topics or texts.

    • CC.1.4.2.J: Create an organizational structure that includes reasons and includes a concluding statement.

    • CC.1.4.2.K: Use a variety of words and phrases to appeal to the audience.

    • CC.1.4.2.L: Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. • Capitalize proper nouns. • Use commas and apostrophes appropriately. • Spell words drawing on common spelling patterns. • Consult reference material as needed.

    • CC.1.4.2.M: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

    • 9.1.5.B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.

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