Notice, Think, Wonder
When I start my unit on the plant life cycle, I always want to see what students know and I want to generate interest in the topic. I start by putting out all different kinds of seeds and asking the students what to they notice, think, and wonder. Some students knew they were seeds, or that some were seeds, and some students had no idea. This gave me great information about who had already had experience planting seeds.
What do seeds need to grow anyways?
After we discussed the seeds, I asked students what they thought seeds needed to grow. This was a lively discussion and ended with creating an experiment together. We decided to plant seeds with some, but not all, of what we thought they needed to grow. The students were surprised to discover that seeds could start to grow without sunlight and without soil. To help their understanding of this, we dissected a lima bean and found all the seed food for the tiny embryo and realized that seeds don’t need soil or sunlight to start growing, but once the seed food is gone, then they need the soil and sunlight.
After observing our seeds grow over time, we read many great book on the life cycle of seeds and plants. One of our favorites is called A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston Silvia.
Parts of a Flower
After learning about the life cycle, we studied the parts of the flower. One experiment that was especially inspiring was the stem experiment, where we put two white flowers in colored water and watched as the flowers changed colors. This shows how the water travels up through the stem and into the flowers.
Our plant unit was so engaging to my students because they did experiments and activities that shifted their thinking and helped them to deepen their understanding of plants. These activities and response sheets can be found in my teachers pay teachers store!