Explains how to teach children firsthand about plant parts, plant growth, and plant care.
- Identify what a seed does
- List reasons why people plant seeds
- Plant seeds
- Graph the growth of their seeds over several days
- Write about their experiences planting seeds
- Large sheet of chart or butcher paper for brainstorming words
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson
- Seeds (Use any available kind. I usually use a fast growing flower seed if I do this lesson before Mother's Day.)
- Styrofoam cups, one per student
- Watering can full of water
- Wooden tongue depressors or other flat wooden sticks, one per student
- Newspaper (for catching the mess)
- Spoons (for scooping soil)
- Nonfiction books about plants (see the Plants and Trees Book List for suggestions)
- Observation notebooks, one per student
- Optional: KidspirationT software
- Optional: KidPixT software
- Optional: Computer
- Optional: Large screen TV or projector for displaying computer screen
- You may want to call a parent volunteer to help with planting the seeds.
- Cut out a large paper leaf from the chart or butcher paper. Hang the leaf so it attaches to the flower paper from the previous lesson.
- Before planting the seeds, spread newspaper on the desk or table where students will be planting.
- Write each student's name on a wooden tongue depressor or flat wooden stick.
- Set up class time for one small group at a time to plant their seeds. The other small groups will rotate through other activities.
Step 1: Read The Tiny Seed and The Carrot Seed aloud to the class.
Step 2: Lead the class in comparing and contrasting the two books and in discussing what a seed does.
Note: If you use Kidspiration, record your discussion using diagrams (connect your computer to a projector for students to view). Otherwise, use a sheet of chart paper to record the discussion.
Step 3: Throughout the discussion, have your parent volunteer add vocabulary words to the leaf-shaped paper.
Step 4: As a class, plan how The Carrot Seed could be dramatized.
Step 5: Divide the class into small groups.
Group 1: Goes with the parent volunteer to plant their seeds at the station.
- Each student will need a styrofoam cup, a wooden tongue depressor, a marker, a spoon, and a few seeds.
- Use a spoon to fill the styrofoam cup about halfway with soil.
- Place the seeds in the center of the cup. Note: Read directions on the seed packets for best practices for planting, watering, and caring for the type of plant you are using.
- Cover the seeds with more soil. Leave about a half inch of space between the soil and the top of the cup.
- Pour a small amount of water from the watering can into the cup.
- Stick the tongue depressor with the student's name written on it into the student's cup for identification.
Group 2: Acts out the story of The Carrot Seed.
Group 3: Will be the audience for the dramatization.
Group 4 (if needed): Reads other books about plant growth. I recommend From Seed to Dandelion, From Seed to Pumpkin, and From Acorn to Oak Tree by Jan Kottke, or From Seed to Plant and It Could Still Be a Flower by Allan Fowler. See the Plants and Trees Book List for more suggestions.
Group 5 (if needed): Illustrates the story with paper and crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
Step 6: Rotate the groups so every student has a chance to plant seeds.
Step 7: Have students place their labeled seed cups in a sunny area of the classroom.
Day 2 and Beyond
Step 8: Over the next week or so, have students water the seeds, watch, and write their observations in their notebooks.
Step 9: Have students write about their experiences with planting seeds.
Optional: The students could illustrate and write about plants using a computer software program like KidPix. Print the final product (or a screen capture).
Step 10: Bind students' stories to create a class book about plants.
- Have each student tell you three facts about growing plants.
- Write a story about plants.
- Was there enough time?
- Did the planting of the seeds go smoothly?
- Did students have enough content information to write about plants?
- If you used it, how effective was the use of the software?
Copies of the students' experience writing should be saved for their assessment portfolios.
- Were students able to compare and contrast the stories?
- Can students describe the life cycle of a plant?