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Life Science

Life Cycle Activities

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Holly Johnson Holly Johnson 1800 Points

My name is Holly Johnson. I am a preservice teacher from Indiana University. Does anyone have any ideas for life cycle activities to do with 3rd graders, other than butterflies and frogs?

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11935 Points

Have you considered plants? Wisconsin Fast Plants are fairly easy to work with. Here is one example of an activity on their website:

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63605 Points

Many supermarkets also carry a mushroom growing kit. You could have your students look at the life cycle of a mushroom. My high school biology class attempted to grow oyster mushrooms using a kit from Back to the Roots. At one time, the company was donating mushroom kits to elementary schools. You might try to contact them and see if they are still doing it. We placed the kit in a cool place in the classroom. Students misted it a couple of times a day. We also took a daily picture to show how the culture changed over time. At the end of the month, we downloaded all of the images into iMovie and made a "movie" to show how the mushroom culture had changed. You could do the same thing with fast plants like Cris mentioned.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 88573 Points

Hi Holly, Piggybacking off Cris and Ruth's ideas... the Alstromeria or Peruvian lily is a flower that is inexpensive and easy to find in many grocery stores. One big bunch usually has enough flowers for a class of 25 students. By having students complete a flower dissection, you can teach pollination and fertilization; then have the student open up the ovaries of the pistils to expose the seeds. Finally, you could have the students plant seeds and watch them grow over time - to complete a flowering plant life cycle. Radish seeds grow fast if you don't want to purchase the more expensive Fast plants. Carolyn

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 Points

Hi: You could do the life cycle of a mealworm. This is simple to do and you can have the cycle in your classroom inexpensively and in a clear plastic shoebox. I found the following two articles that would help you toward that goal. [color=blue]Meet the Mealworms The Early Years: Counting a Culture of Mealworms [/color] Adah

Romina Krause Romina Krause 3820 Points

have you considered the life cycle of a bird? Maybe you can also add in there of your state bird. The different bird there is, i found some pdf with ideas and activities on how to explain the life cycle of a bird! hope it helps !!

Angela Miller Angela Snyder 1035 Points

I'm not sure if your 3rd graders would like it, but you could do the life cycle of a fruit fly. Fruit flies life span is about 30 days. They begin as eggs which hatch and become larva. Next they will develop a puparium and finally undergo metamorphosis to become an adult. Fruit flies are used a lot in upper biology classes.

Kimberly Olson Kimberly Olson 495 Points

I recently did a science workshop on the life structures of a plant. One of the stations was pollination. I had problems trying to find activities so for one I created my own. I decided to make mystery pollinator activity. Students were given various clues about pollinators such as, bats, moths, butterflies, flies, bees, beetles, hummingbird, and the wind. Students were asked to match the clues with the correct picture of the pollinator. I gave students a pollinator trait chart to assist students with the activity.

Cassandra Braden Cassandra Braden 1005 Points

Along the lines of life cycle classroom ideas, I recently conducted a workshop about trees. One station of the workshop, focused on the reasons for the seasons following the life cycle of a tree. First, we read a book titled Our Tree Named Steveand drew what a tree looked like in each of the four seasons. Next, we examined the earth-sun model and discussed how the earth's tilt affects temperature. Next, the students were able to choose between two activities. The first activity allowed students to use the Farmer's Almanac to research weather on four specific given dates. The purpose of the activity was to demonstrate how the temperature varies throughout the year. For differentiation, I even thought about having the accelerated students observe the weather patterns of Australia, which is opposite of the Midwest temperature pattern. The second activity, required students to measure the temperature under a light and away from a light to determine the effect of direct vs. indirect sunlight. The students seemed to really enjoy the activities. To assess the students, they completed a short exit slip in which a few content questions related to the workshop were asked.

Ashley Behringer Ashley Behringer 425 Points

Hi Holly, I am going into student teaching in spring. For one of my science classes, I had to work with my classmates to create a science workshop. Our workshop was about the life cycles of plants. Our workshop had 4 main stations. The first station was about seeds and germination. A week before our workshop, I put a lima bean in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. I did this for each day for seven days; I also labeled each bag "Day 1, Day 2, Day 3....". The students loved seeing how the seed evolves every day. After showing the students, they had the opportunity to create their own "seed bank" by taking their own bag, damp paper towels, and 3 lima beans and creating what I did with my seed bags. I also created a sketching journal for the students to sketch the progress of their seeds each day. The station also had the students crack open a lima bean that I soaked overnight. The students cracked it open I pointed out the embryo, endosperm (food source), and the seed coat. I also explained the function of each part. The next station was about the parts of a plant: root, seed, stem, and flower. The student created a diagram and labeled each part. The students also played a grouping game. The students got cards of plants that we eat. Then they had to group them under what part we eat; the roots, seeds, stems, or flowers. The third station taught students about pollination. The students were informed about the different pollinators. Then the students put their hands in a bag of Cheetos. The students then wiped their hands on a piece of paper. The orange from the Cheetos on the paper resembles how pollen gets passed around. The last station taught students about the reproductive parts of a flower. The students dissected a flower and put the different pieces on contact paper, then labeled them. The students were very much so engaged in this workshop. I hope this example helps!

Tressa Lyman Tr Lyman 935 Points

Hi! I'm looking for some fun ideas to teach a third grade science lesson about the reasons for seasons. Cassandra Braden, did you find your lesson plans anywhere or did you create them yourself? I think that teaching about the seasons through the life cycle of a tree sounds like a really fun idea and I would like to know more!

Brenda Hornaday Brenda Hornaday 760 Points

I suggest the life cycle of the chicken, the ladybug, and grasshopper. You can also find some great materials at teacherspayteachers.

Cynthia Rasquinha Cynthia Rasquinha 1090 Points

Hi Ashley, I liked the activities you did with your students. I was wondering which grade is appropriate for these activities. I am studying for my teaching credential and working on a plant unit lesson plan. I want some ideas for some hands-on activities for kindergarten /first-grade.

Kayla Ingle Kayla Ingle 1975 Points

You can also show humans. They're able to relate more!

Tammy Huang Tammy Huang 1785 Points

Hi Holly, I am a student teacher right now and I did a lesson segment of the lifecycle of seeds to plants for my Kindergarten class. It can easily be modified and done for any grade. As they get older, it would be more detailed (e.g., reproductive parts of a flower, respiration, photosynthesis, etc). I also remember in class, our professor mentioned the lifecycle of a mealworm, fruit fly, birds, and animals. Good Luck!

Joanne Harkness joanne harkness 435 Points

I am a student at SDSU this semester. We used mealworms in the college class and plant life cycles in fifth. We also used celery with food coloring during a lesson for students.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67935 Points

Joanne, If you can find a florist who might cut you a deal on white carnations, they can be fun to watch different colors develop over time. A relative of mine is a florist, and that is how he preps the flowers for proms, weddings, and so on. Just a thought.

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