With a hands-on approach, grow your students' knowledge of plants, from plant structure to life cycle to oxygen production.
- Recognize that trees and plants are used to make things that we use, such as food and clothing
- Classify products that are made and not made from trees and plants
- Record products made from trees and plants
- 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, etc.
- A shopping bag
- Various objects that are made from plants, such as chopsticks, tea bags, rope, toothpicks, baskets, medicine such as aspirin (made from the bark of a willow tree) in a child-proof bottle, rubber bands, a paper hat, newspaper, ground cinnamon or ground pepper in a bottle, a dollar bill, enough items for approximately half the class
- Various objects that are not made from plants, such as a paper clip, a penny, a plastic toy, a shell, a rock, a glass jar, marbles, CDs, a metal or plastic fork, enough items for approximately half the class
- Two hula hoops
- Two index cards
- Where Are the Plants? Recording Sheet printable
- Clipboards, one for each student
- Pens, one for each student
- Send a note home the night before telling parents to have students wear cotton pants, if possible.
- Dress in cotton yourself.
- Fill a shopping bag with a loaf of bread, wheat, corn tortillas, corn, ketchup, tomatoes, Aloe Vera gel, an Aloe-Vera plant, a T-shirt, and a cotton plant or cotton balls.
- Make a class set of the Where Are the Plants? Recording Sheet printable and place the copies on clipboards for each student.
- Make two labels with the index cards and markers. One should read “Made from plants” and the other “Not made from plants”.
- Attach each label to one of the hula hoops.
Step 1: Gather students in a circle and remind them about how we have been learning about plants. Tell students: “Today I am wearing my plants.” Ask if anyone can tell you what you mean by that statement.
Step 2: Show 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 students know that they are probably wearing a plant, too, if they are wearing cotton.
Step 3: Show students the shopping bag with a loaf of bread, wheat, corn tortillas, corn, ketchup, tomatoes, Aloe Vera gel, an Aloe-Vera plant, a T-shirt, and a cotton balls. Tell students that you just did your weekly shopping at the market and this is what you bought. Ask students how these items are connected. Accept all responses.
Step 4: Tell students 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 students how the plants are turned into the products. Split an Aloe Vera leaf and let them feel the gel.
Step 5: Tell 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 students at random.
Step 6: Lay the two labeled hula hoops in the middle of the circle. Tell students that their object may be made from a plant or it may not be made from a plant (indicate the labels). Ask students to take a moment to really examine their object because they will be asked to classify it, or to put it in one of the two groups.
Step 7: Ask students one by one to bring up their object and classify it. Discuss any misconceptions and explain how the plants are used as a product.
Step 1: Tell students that there are many products in the classroom that are made from trees and plants. Distribute the Where Are the Plants? Recording Sheet printables on the clipboards with pens. Tell students that, as scientists, they will investigate the classroom to find the objects made of plants and draw pictures 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 students back together to share their discoveries.
Supporting All Learners
Help 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 students that need it.
Discuss how important it is to recycle paper products so we do not have to cut down so many trees. Then make paper using shredded or torn newspapers.
- Soak the papers in water.
- Blend the wet paper in a blender.
- Press the blended mixture to a screen with a sponge to squeeze out all the water.
- Let dry.
- Have students paint a picture on the recycled paper.
Have students do the same investigation at home using the Where Are the Plants? Recording Sheet 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? Recording Sheet printable
- Did students participate in the class discussion?
- Did students 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.