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Children enjoy picking flowers, watching vegetables grow in family gardens, and eating foods made from plants. But how many of them have a true understanding of what plants need to grow and the important relationship that exists between plants and humans?

In this lesson, students will learn the names for the parts of plants and what their functions are. They will develop an understanding of the growth process of plants and make observations about the effects of different variables upon this process, including sunlight, water, space, and air.
ITV Series
The Magic Place, #7: Plants (video #1)
Take A Look, #1: Plants (video #2)
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Pre-Viewing Activities
List the vocabulary words from above on a chart where all students can see them. Ask students to read words they are familiar with and tell what they mean. Tell them that they will come across these words during our study of plants. (It is not necessary for them to understand all of these words at this time).

Begin a discussion about plants. Ask students what they think plants need to grow and how they help us. After students have had an opportunity to share ideas, have them write in journals and list three or four things that plants need to grow. Have students share their writing with partners, or in front of the group.

Show a picture of a flower and ask students what parts of a plant they see (leaves, flowers, stems, and roots). Tell them that each of these parts has a special job to do. Have students predict what function(s) each plant part serves. Record their ideas on a chart.
Focus Viewing
Say to students, Today we will watch parts of two videos about plants. I would like you to watch carefully and listen to what is said about what plants need to grow. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, tell them that you will stop the videos at certain parts. Then they will be given time to look at what they have written in their journals (see above) and add information learned from the videos. They will also hear about the different parts of plants and what they do to help the plant grow and stay healthy. They will use this information in a later activity.

Viewing Activities
START video #1, The Magic Place, #7: Plants, at the beginning. STOP video after Ms. Mystery shows the four boxes with things plants need in them. Allow time for students to add information so they have all four items in their journal (water, air, soil, light).

RESUME video and PAUSE after Ms. Mystery says, Plants help us to live. Ask, How do you think plants do this? Allow students to share ideas.

RESUME video until the section about oxygen and carbon dioxide is over. STOP video. Ask students to explain in their own words what Miss Mystery means when she says that plants and people are partners. Allow time for discussion and adding information into journals.

RESUME video until end of section about how plants give us most of the food we eat. Ask a student what s/he had for breakfast. Go through the different food items and explain how each comes from a plant. Ask for student input whenever possible.

Before resuming video say, Now let s see what other ways plants help people. RESUME video.

STOP video after section that mentions that plants help keep soil from washing away. Ask students about other ways in which plants help us. Allow time for discussion.

REMOVE video #1. Tell students that they will now see parts of another video about plants. This time they will learn about the different parts of plants and how these help a plant to grow.

START video #2, Take a Look, #1: Plants. PAUSE after Kate says, What do you think? in response to Jeff s question about which is the most important part of the plant. Have students respond.

RESUME video. PAUSE after each plant part is presented and review with students what its function is.

RESUME video until Kate says, All plant parts work together to keep plants alive. PAUSE and discuss what she may mean by this.

RESUME video until Kate asks about which plant has the word flower in its name (cauliflower). PAUSE video and take student guesses.

RESUME video. STOP video after the question, Can you remember the parts of a plant? is asked. Pass out the worksheet entitled Plant Parts and have students fill out. Go over together.

RESUME video and show the first experiment that demonstrates how plants need light. STOP video after this. Ask students what this experiment proved. Tell students that you have brought in some materials for class experiments with plants, and that they will help you set up some experiments to demonstrate what plants need to grow.
Post-Viewing Activities
Distribute one copy to each student of the worksheet entitled, How Do They Help Out? Have students match the plant parts with their functions. Go over together.

Distribute one half-pint milk carton (that has had the top cut off) to each student. Have them fill the milk cartons with a soil mixture. Distribute several bean seeds per student and demonstrate how to plant them. Dampen the soil.

Place cartons on a window sill and have students water each day as needed.

Phase two of this lesson will be after seedlings have started to come through the soil:

Review what plants need to grow, i.e., light, water, soil, and air. Divide the cartons into four different groups. Tell students that they will subject their seedlings to different growing conditions. A. Condition #1 - Seedlings will have soil, water, and air but not light. Put these plants under a box. B. Condition #2 - Seedlings will have soil, light, and water but not air. Seal these plants in a large clear plastic bag. C. Condition #3 - Seedlings will have soil, light, and air but no water. Do not water these plants. D. Condition #4 - This is the control group. These seedlings will have soil, air, light, and water.

Distribute a copy of the worksheet entitled, Plant Observations, to each student. Measure at the end of each week how much the plants have grown under each condition. Have students record this information on the worksheet.

After several weeks have passed by, compare the graphs. Discuss the differences in the growth rates and why those may have occurred.
Action Plan
Contact a local extension service and invite them into class to present information on plants and trees.

Take a field trip to a greenhouse or a tree farm. This would present opportunities to have professionals talk to students about plants and how they grow and help people.

Contact a local nursery and ask for donations of seeds and/or plants to use in experiments.
Show Reading Rainbow, Once There Was A Tree (good modeling of a woman in a non-traditional career). This video presents many possibilities for asking questions such as, Why are trees important?" "What comes from a tree?" "How are trees useful to animals?" There are many opportunities to ask students to make predictions such as, How far up does the researcher climb to study treetops?" "How do trees manufacture food in the leaves?" "In what ways are trees useful to animals?

Conduct one or more of the following experiments to show how different parts of a plant function: #1 - Review how the roots help a plant. Place a piece of celery into a glass of colored water and leave it for a day. Have students predict what might happen by drawing pictures showing what they think will happen. After 24 hours, cut a slice off the bottom of the celery to show how the colored water has traveled up the insides of the celery. #2 - Take a carnation and cut the stem in half almost up to the flower. Place each side of the stem in its own glass of colored water side by side. Leave in visible place. Have students predict what might happen and why. After a day, check it out to see how the petals have turned different colors according to what color water its half of the stem was standing in.

Literature: Read such books as: Carle, Eric, The Tiny Seed. Cole, Joanna, The Magic School Bus--Plants Seeds. Gibbons, Gail, From Seed to Plant. Merrill, Claire, A Seed Is a Promise.

Art: Read the book Look What I Did With A Leaf! Review how leaves help plants and trees. Take students out for a leaf walk and collect leaves to press. Put between newspaper for a week. Gather materials listed in the book and make leaf animals.

Master Teacher: Susan Deese-Laurent
Click here to vieww the worksheet associated with this lesson.

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