Plant Parts & Seeds Lesson
Go on a seed hunt, act out germination, create seed mosaics, make and eat a plant parts salad, and more in this fun lesson on plants! This is part 1 of a 4 part unit study on Botany and Plants. This lesson is geared toward 2nd-3rd grade level children and their siblings. I created this to do with a weekly homeschool co-op which meets each week for 2 1/2 hours. Use this fun lesson with your classroom, family, after school club, camp, or co-op!
1. Stretch & Pray.
2. Place white carnation or camellia in water generously colored with food dye. (You could also use celery.) Cutting the stems just before placing them in the water will help. (It takes about 2 hours for the dye to show up a little bit in the flower petals if you have very short stems (about 1 inch long). If you use longer stems (about 4-5 inches), it will take about 3 hours. I started soaking the flowers an hour before the class started. When it started, the flowers were still completely white. By the time the class ended, you could see a tinge of color on some of the petals. The longer you leave the flowers in the colored water, the more colorful the flower petals will become.)
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD OR PER FAMILY: a white flower or celery stalk, a disposable cup, and food dye
3. Read Bible story regarding seeds such as Matthew 7:15-23, 21:18-22, & 12:33-37. We read the parable of the sower. (Show pictures from Bible stories as you read.)
4. Quickly review plant parts.
Book to use for this entire unit on plants & for activity 6
If you're looking for a textbook to go along this with study, this is a great option! It's written specifically with the elementary school aged child in mind. The text is narrative style as if the author was speaking to the child in a conversational manner. It is written from a Christian perspective. each chapter includes at least one activity/experiment.
5. Read "Oh Can You Say Seed?" by Bonnie Worth or "Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!" by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
6. Identify seeds (bean & corn) and look at them under a magnifying glass. Cut them open and observe the parts. Discuss the difference between monocot & dicot seeds. (If you need an idea of what to say, read "Exploring Creation with Botany" by Fullbright ahead of time and reiterate that info to them as you dissect the seeds.)
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: a bean (we used lima beans), corn kernel (from frozen vegetables), plastic knife, and magnifying lens
Book to read for activity 5
This is perfect for preschoolers or early elementary aged children. A grandparent sends a package full of seed-related items, and the child (Buddy Bear) opens a gift each day and learns something new about seeds. It covers the germination process, plant parts, fun activities to do with seeds, and more.
7. If weather permits, go outside to collect seeds. Study seeds: shape, size, texture, etc.
8. Read "One Bean" by Anne Rockwell.
Book to read for activity 8
This is the best book I have seen on germination! It has wonderful illustrations that keep the attention of toddlers and older children, and it provides plenty of factual information in a storybook format.
9. Act out Germination ("a seed waking up"):Have each child get 2 construction paper leaves and a piece of candy and then have them crawl head first into a sleeping bag. (The children are dormant seeds. The sleeping bag is the testa/seed coat.)First the testa (seed coat) splits and the radicle (embryonic root) emerges. (Have the children stick their legs out of the sleeping bag.)The hypocotyl (embryonic stem) and epicotyl go straight up through the dirt. (Have the children stand up. Tell them that their legs are the radicles/roots, their bodies are the hypocotyls/stems, and their hands are the epicotyls, which are holding the green construction paper cotyledons/seed leaves.)Meanwhile, in some sorts of seeds, the seed gets its nutrients from the endosperm (stored food). The stored food is mainly sugar. (Have the children eat their piece of candy.)The cotyledons (seed leaves) emerge. (Have the children stick out the 2 construction paper leaves from out of the sleep bag.)The testa/seed coat falls off and the plant grows as the taproot shoots down and the epicotyl straightens. Have the children stand up all the way and allow the sleeping bag to fall off from the tops of their heads.YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: 2 construction paper or real leaves, a sleeping bag, and a piece of candy
10. (If you have extra time) Color or draw the stages of the germination of a seed.
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: (per child) a sheet with germination illustrated or a blank paper sheets pre-cut and crayons
Seeds for a Garden
11. Read "How Groundhog's Garden Grew" by Lynne Cherry.
12. Look at backs of seed packets and what the information means.
YOU WILL NEED: seed packets
13. Talk about faith of a mustard seed (Mt. 13). Pass out mustard seeds & compare with other seeds. Plant them in soil. Talk about planting seeds & sharing God's word (Is. 55:11). Guess (Hypothesize) which seed will sprout the fastest.
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: mustard seed & other seeds
Book to read for activity 11
Various animals explain to Groundhog what he needs to do to grow his own garden. This is a cute story with plenty of educational information sprinkled in to make it a delightful book to read. The illustrations are also beautiful.
14. Look at pictures of mosaics. Make a mosaic picture using dried black beans, white navy beans, pinto beans &/or dried split peas. You can do this in a shorter amount of time if you give each child 1/4 sheet of paper. *For young children we found it best to make a simple outline for them in glue and then to allow them to place the beans over the glue pattern.
YOU WILL NEED: dried black beans, white navy beans, pinto beans, and/or dried split peas, glue (tacky glue works best), and cardstock or other heavy paper (such as a piece of cardboard from a cereal box)
15. If weather permits, go outside and pull up weeds and study using magnifying glasses. If weather isn't permitting, tell the children to bring a weed with its roots from home. Talk about being rooted in the word.
YOU WILL NEED: magnifying lenses and plants with their roots
Plant Parts Salad & Review
16. Make a salad out of various plant parts: First make poppy seed dressing using 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons diced onions (or dried), 1 teaspoon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup oil, and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Salad will have dressing with poppy seeds (seeds), lettuce (leaves), celery or asparagus (stalk), tomato or diced apple or other sliced fruit (fruit), & carrots (roots). Ask children to match plant parts to vegetables & then carefully chop vegetables. Eat salad.
YOU WILL NEED: measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup, jar with lid, large bowl, plastic forks, disposable plates, cups for water, napkins, knives and cutting boards, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons diced onions (or dried), 1 teaspoon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup oil, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, lettuce, celery or asparagus, tomato or diced apple or other sliced fruit, & carrots
17. Look at flower or celery (from activity 2) and discuss what occurred. Let each child or family take 1 flower home.
18. (If you have extra time), find plants outside, identify parts, mount on cardstock, and cover with contact paper.
19. Review what we learned.
Homework: Growing a Bean Plant
Send children home with a bag of dried beans. Tell them to put them in wet paper towels in a bag or clear plastic cup. Keep the paper towels wet and tell us next week at co-op what you saw happen.
Germination of a Seed in 30 Seconds
More of our favorite books on seeds
Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth is written in the rhyming Cat-in-the-Hat manner and includes a great overview of botany! What Kinds of Seeds Are These? by Heidi Bee Roemer is another fun picture book on seeds that is good for young children. Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken and Who Will Plant a Tree? by Jerry Pallotta are both fun picture books on seed dispersal. They are simple with nice illustrations and are ideal for preschool and early elementary-aged children! A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Aston has gorgeous illustrations and includes lots of fun tidbits about various seeds.
Watch Seed Dispersal
Vascular Plants from Crash Course Biology
Ready for the next lesson?
Go on a seed hunt, act out germination, create seed mosaics, make and eat a plant parts salad, dissect a flower, decorate sunflower cookies, compete in a photosynthesis relay race, got on a plant scavenger hunt, and more during this fun four part unit study on Botany and Plants!
- Plant Parts & Seeds Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part unit study on Botany and Plants. Go on a seed hunt, act out germination, create seed mosaics, make and eat a plant parts salad, and more in this fun lesson on plants!
- Flowers Lesson - Go on a flower hunt, dissect a flower, create edible flowers, paint flowers, and more in this fun lesson on flowers! This is part 2 of a 4 part unit study on Botany and Plants.
- Bee & Honey Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 part unit study on Botany and Plants. (This lesson is optional if you need to squeeze this unit into 3 parts rather than 4.) Dance like a bee, make edible bees using honey balls, use cheese puff balls and and juice boxes to dramatize pollination, create pipe cleaner bees and have them fly to the tune of Flight of the Bumblebee, and more!
- Trees & Leaves Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part unit study on Botany and Plants. Play a photosynthesis relay race, create an edible leaf structure, act out the parts of a tree, examine and classify tree leaves and use them to identify trees, and more in this fun, hands-on lesson on leaves and trees!
- Botany Scavenger Hunt & Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 week hands-on unit study on botany/plants. Children went on a fun-filled scavenger hunt for a variety of plants, and afterward had a plant-themed picnic lunch. Also included are the field trips we went on while studying this unit on botany and plants.
Looking for all of my unit studies and lesson plans?
Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children!
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2011 Shannon