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General Science and Teaching

Your approach to teach about plants?

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Hannah DeLaughter Hannah DeLaughter 360 Points

Hey everyone! I have the privilege this semester to teach kindergarteners about plants. I am struggling to come up with different approaches with observing plants, since that is what the standard says...to observe and nothing else really. Any hints or strategies that you would do or use to teach about plants? Thank you!

Emily Rothenberg Emily Rothenberg 3395 Points

For Kindergarten, I would use an approach where the whole class is involved. By providing a hands-on activity, you can really capture the attention of the students and they will be having fun while completing the activity. One thing you can do is grow a plant with the class so that, overtime, your students will be able to see how it grows and develops. You can purchase the seeds, the soil, and the pot and plant it together as a class.

Janet Vande Berg Janet Vande Berg 60 Points

Sorry about the double post.. new to the forums. 

Janet Vande Berg Janet Vande Berg 60 Points

I think this would be a really fun topic to add some hands on activities to, so that your students have things that they can observe and manipulate as they change.  I might start with having the students plant a seed and observing the seed grow.  Here is a link to a preschool classroom that did just that.  Students get so excited when that first bit of green pops out of the seed.  http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/planting-and-growing-beans-in-our-preschool-window/ Then you might start breaking plants into their basic parts, roots, stems and leaves.   For roots, you can look at the  main types of roots and get into some fun activities that revolve around vegetables and what vegetables are really the roots of the plant.  Here is a great resource on root vegetables and how to grow them.  http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetables/tp/Root-Vegetables.htm Leaves could be next, fall is a great time to check out trees and observe that some trees are losing their leaves and others are keeping them.  You may want to let the students collect leaves to take back to your classroom to look at closer with a magnifying glass.  You can ask them questions about the things they see and observe.   Stems can be studied by using cut flowers.  I really like the lesson about how color can move up the stem.  Students can watch and see how the flower changes as the color makes its way put the stem and into the petals.  Here is a great lab from Steve Spangler.   https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/colorful-carnations/ I hope this gives you some idea of fun things your students can do to learn about plants in an active way as well as observing.   Best of luck!  Janet

Amy Haaland Amy Haaland 3815 Points

Hey, Hannah! I know this comes a long time after your original post, and you probably have already come up with some great ideas, but here's one more. You can buy clear gel in which to plant your seeds. Put the gel in a clear container, push the seeds in and watch them grow. It is a great way to observe the germination process and see the roots and stem grow. You could also make this an experiment by planting other seeds in soil and comparing the growth rate. Of course you wouldn't be able to see the stuff in the soil until the stem emerged, but you could compare when the stem emerged from the soil and the rate of growth after emergence.

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

Hello Hannah- It might be fun to go to a local nursery and pick up a potted spring flower of some type that hasn't completely bloomed yet. Then your students could watch it over time as the flower opens and talk about the day to day change in the number of blooms, size and color, etc. Have fun!

Chassidy Pittman Chassidy Pittman 1205 Points

I reccommend going to the following website; sharemylesson.com it is completely FREE with tons of lesson plans and ideas. Just type is plants and you can search by grade level as well.

Celina Velasquez Celina Velasquez 655 Points

Planting a plant as a class is a great idea you can also bring other plants to compare. For example you can have one that does not receive sunlight or water to the one you do take care of. In our elementary we had a school garden and plants everywhere in the teacher always made us stop to observe them.

Jenna Bucklew Jenna Bucklew 655 Points

Hi! Here is a resource collection about assessing student's ideas about plants and following up on those understandings/misunderstandings- hope it helps. Good Luck!

Christian Page Christian Page 1190 Points

You can introduce plants through children's litera. There are many great books out there and I would also suggest a "Magic Schoolbus" episode as a motivator.

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hi Hannah, Here are links to some video demonstrations about plants that you could use and/or recreate in your classroom! FunScienceDemos is a YouTube Channel that I have been developing and it has over a hundred video demonstrations on different topics that students should know. They are completely free and common core aligned. Please watch and subscribe as we release new videos regularly. Best, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University Plants and their seeds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOuZrgjJ8QQ&index=2&list=PLat8Jejmdx1vZS1Rd20JXBXIvpLGd_dV6 Why does a leaf change color https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ars07SEi7oQ&list=PLat8Jejmdx1vBekyo9djKk5gRzFV3A5W0&index=1 What do plants need to grow? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOQHB3lRK-8 Flowers, Seeds, and The Life Cycle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_JAqupuEI8

Sandra Burr Sandra Burr 2520 Points

I definitely agree with what others have said about having the students grow their own plants to observe would be a good idea. You can have them put lima beans in a plastic bag with a folded up damp paper towel so they can watch how the seed grows without it being obscured by soil. After the seeds grow a week or so, they can plant them in soil and have a little garden. They can observe the seeds every day or every couple days or so and learn about the parts of the plant as they grow.  I also found some interesting ideas here http://lessons.atozteacherstuff.com/330/inside-a-seed/ where you can have the seeds grow in different conditions to show what a seed needs to grow! Having access to a garden on the school grounds would also be really great, if you can do that.

Kelly Crebbin Kelly Crebbin 3085 Points

I agree with everyones postings about actually growing a plant. While the standard says observing you can do so much more than that! Before you plant the seed you can ask the students if the seed is living. Most students will not think so but, as the seed grows you can show the students that the seed was living and it grew a plant which is also living. This connects the observation of plants with living and non-living things! It will be a great addition to your lesson and the students will learn so much more.

Agnes Chavez Agnes Chavez 1075 Points

The links are definitely helpful!

Zeben Gorman Zeben Gorman 375 Points

Does anyone know what plant would be the most striking/education/impressive for if I wanted to grow a class plant? I want to say a sunflower, because they grow from a recognizable seed and quickly mature to make more seeds... but I wonder if anyone else has any suggestions that have worked well for them?

Dexter Valley Dexter Valley 50 Points

Plants can be a tough concept to teach kindergarteners especially being that you really can not go deep in the scientific concepts. A good lesson to teach would be how plants obtain their nutrients, the concepts are endless such as talking about photosynthesis and explaining how the sun provides nutrients or you could do an experiment by placing white petal flowers in water that has color dye to see how plants use water. I believe simple concepts and visual activities would be the best way to go.

Germaine Najjar Germaine Najjar 3515 Points

From school projects and my experience as a college student of Elementary Education, teaching about plants can come from many sources. There is a lot that could be done other than basically observing plants in the classroom. You can use the constructive approach. Why do plants grow the way they do? What would happen if it were put in the dark? in the light? in wet/dry atmosphere? What happens if we put different seeds in the same pot? Have the students inquire on how the plants might grow and what helps them or doesnt help. This can be a fun unit for students if taught in the right way.

Erika Segarra Erika Segarra 100 Points

When I was teaching a Pre-School class of kids ages 4-5 I used a hands on activity to capture all of the student's attention. What I did first was read them a story of plant's life cycle then introduced the different parts of the plants. I then went over the different parts of the plant, the stem, roots, leaves, pedals, seeds and what the plant needs in order to grow. My first hands on activity was to cut out pip cleaners and use them as the roots and stem, actual seeds, construction paper for the leaves and pedals. I went over with them the parts of the plant for a few days and refreshed their minds of what a plant needs in order to grow as well the parts of the plant. I then brought in some soil and seeds for my next hands on activity. I let the kids essentially plant their own plants, they loved it! I helped them with the steps and how much of each thing they needed to add. The kids really grasped the lesson and enjoyed the hands on activities!

Sawsan Ismaiel Sawsan Ismaiel 125 Points

Hey, check out this website, hope it helps! http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/subjects/plants

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