You're Wearing Your Plants: Teaching About Plant-Based Products
Students learn that many of the products we use everyday come from trees and plants.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Students will discover that many everyday products we depend upon come from trees and plants. They will record items in the classroom that come from trees and plants.
- Recognize that trees and plants are used to make things that we use, such as food or clothing.
- Classify products that are made and not made from trees and plants.
- Record products made from trees and plants.
- Various objects that are made from plants: chopsticks, tea bags, rope, toothpicks, baskets, medicine such as aspirin in a child-proof bottle (made from the bark of a willow tree), rubber bands, paper hat, newspaper, ground cinnamon or ground pepper in a bottle, a dollar bill — enough for approximately half the class.
- Various objects that are not made from plants: paper clip, a penny, a plastic toy, a shell, a rock, a glass jar, a marble, a CD, a metal or plastic fork — enough for approximately half the class.
- Raw plant materials and their products such as cotton (or cotton balls) and a T-shirt, wheat and a loaf of bread, Aloe-Vera plant and Aloe-Vera gel, corn and corn tortillas, tomatoes and a bottle of ketchup or lunch packet.
- Two hula hoops
- Labels that read: “Made from plants” and “Not made from plants”
- Shopping bag
- A basket
- Where are the Plants? (PDF)
- Clipboards for each student
- Pens for each student
Set Up and Prepare
- Send a note home the night before telling parents to have the students wear cotton pants, if possible.
- Dress in cotton yourself.
- A shopping bag with a loaf of bread, corn tortillas, ketchup, Aloe Vera gel and a T-shirt.
- A basket with wheat, a cotton plant or cotton balls, corn, tomatoes and an Aloe-Vera plant.
- Copy the Where are the Plants? (PDF) and place on clipboards for each student.
Step 1: Gather the students in a circle and remind them about how we have been learning about plants. Show the children the basket of raw plant materials. Tell them: “Today I am wearing my plants.” Ask if anyone can tell you what you mean by that statement. Show the students the raw cotton. Pass it around the circle so they can feel it. Tell them that everything you are wearing is made of cotton. Let them know that they are probably wearing a plant, too, because they are wearing cotton.
Step 2: Show the students the grocery bag with wheat, loaf of bread, corn, corn tortillas, tomatoes, ketchup, Aloe Vera plant and Aloe Vera gel. Tell the students that you just did your weekly shopping at the market and this is what you bought. Ask the students how these items are connected. Accept all responses. Tell the children that the bread, tortillas, ketchup, T-shirt and gel are all made from plants. Invite volunteers to match the plant with the correct product. Explain to the students how the plants are turned into the products. Split an Aloe Vera leaf and let them feel the gel.
Step 3: Tell the students that there are many products that are made from trees and plants. Distribute the objects made from plants and not made from plants to the students at random. Lay the two hula hoops with the labels in the middle of the circle. Tell the students that their object may be made from a plant or it may not be made from a plant (indicating the labels). Ask students to take a moment to really examine their object because you will be asking them to classify or put it in one of the two groups.
Step 4: Ask the students one by one to bring up their object and classify it. Discuss with the students where appropriate any misconceptions and how the plants are used as a product.
Step 1: Tell the students that there are many products in our classroom that are made from trees and plants. Distribute the Where are the Plants? (PDF) on clipboards with pens. Tell students that as scientists, they will investigate the classroom to find the objects made of plants and draw a picture of them. Tell them the first thing they can draw is the paper they are using because it is made from a tree.
Step 2: Send students around the room to record where they find objects made from plants. Encourage students to discuss with each other and help each other. They can label their pictures as well.
Step 3: Gather the students back together to share their discoveries.
Supporting All Learners
Help those students who do not yet grasp the concept by pointing out products made from trees and plants. Where appropriate, help students to label their pictures with beginning sound letters or words. Those that are able can write words or sentences. Take dictation for those students that need it.
Discuss how important it is to recycle paper products so we do not have to cut down so many trees. Make paper using shredded or torn newspapers. Soak the papers in water. Blend in a blender. Press to a screen with a sponge to squeeze out all the water. Let dry. The students can paint a picture on recycled paper!
Have children do the same investigation at home using the printable.
- Classify objects as “Made from plants” or “Not made from plants.”
- Record products made from trees and plants on the “Where are the Plants?” sheet.
- Did the student participate in the class discussion?
- Did the student identify plant products in the classroom?
- What kind of emergent writing is apparent?
- Was there enough time for students to be successful?
- What would I do differently?
Observe how students classify and record their discoveries.