These lesson plans, crafts, and hands-on projects will help students discover the world of plants.
Students will "identify the structures in plants...that are responsible for ... reproduction...." -Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework
- The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
- Assorted seeds (anything from coconuts to poppy seeds)
- Blank index cards, two per student
- Writing pencils
Extension Activity 1
- Heavy classroom object (dictionary, encyclopedias, or brick for Activity 2, below)
Extension Activity 2
- Thick board (hardwood, such as a leaf from an old table, is best, but a two-by-four will work)
- A brick (to be used as a fulcrum)
Extension Activity 3
- Nuts for cracking experiment (such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or Brazil nuts)
Set Up and Prepare
- Locate a shelf or table where students can safely create their seed "museum."
Step 1: Have a discussion about what a museum is. Explain that students will be creating a seed museum.
Step 2: Have each student fold two index cards in half, so they stand on their own. (They should look like name cards at a dinner table.)
Step 3: Help students label one of their cards with the name of a seed they choose from your collection.
Step 4: Read The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss aloud to the class.
Step 5: Discuss with students the process the carrot seed goes through to become a carrot. Ask students to comment on how the seed transformations into a larger plant.
Step 4: Have students return to their index cards. On their blank index cards, students should write a description or draw an illustration of the plant their seed will grow into.
Step 5: Display the seeds and cards in the classroom.
Optional: Invite neighboring classes to come for a tour.
Expand the Lesson
- Visit a local museum and talk about proper museum etiquette. Expectations may vary for the type of museum being visited.
- In older grades, students can make audio recordings that tell about the various seeds. The recordings can be used as visitors tour the museum.
Extension Activities: Simple Machines
Activity One: Wheelbarrow
Bring a wheelbarrow to class. Select a heavy object and have students try moving it about. Then place the object in the wheelbarrow and have them move it about. Have them compare how it felt to move the object with and without the wheelbarrow.
Activity Two: Brick and Board Lever
Use a thick board (lever) and a brick (fulcrum) to enable a student to lift you. An ideal board is hardwood, such as a leaf from an old table, but a two-by-four will work. Place the brick under the board near one end. You then stand on that end of the board. Have a student place a foot on the other end of the board and press down. Use other students as spotters, standing close to you and the student for safety. You and the student can place your hands on the spotters' shoulders for stability.
After the student has lifted you, move the brick closer to the center of the board. Have the student lift you again. Have the student describe how it felt to lift you each time.
The brick can be moved to other positions and students can try to lift you again. The closer the brick is to the load being moved, the easier it is to move.
Activity Three: Nutcrackers
Have the students try cracking a nut with their hands. Ask them to describe how it feels. Provide them with nutcrackers. Have them predict where the nut should be placed for the least amount of force to be used in opening it. Have them test their hypotheses. Have them compare the effectiveness of the nutcracker and their bare hands. Point out that, unlike the board in Activity 2, the nutcracker has its fulcrum at the end.