Jack and the Beanstalk
Lesson 2 of 12
Objective: SWBAT describe the major events in the story, including the life cycle of the a plant.
This unit is designed to meet the NGSS first grade standards for Structure, Function, and Information Processing. The culminating event for this standard is engineering a design based upon the external parts of a plant.
This lesson sets the stage for the unit by reading the classic tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. The book provides an introduction to the plant life cycle and plant parts. We will use the concept of a beanstalk to begin our observations and exploration of bean plants in subsequent lessons. Finally, we will introduce the problem of needing to design safety equipment for Jack. How can we mimic the external features of a bean seed, sprout, or plant in order to design safety equipment?
For this lesson, I chose a paper (rather than online) version of the classic tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. If you do not have access to the tale through your class or school library, there are some online versions as well. I recommend paper versions read by you, as you will able to pause and monitor comprehension. If your school has a high ELL population, you cannot assume that students will know the story. You can also add digital versions to a computer center in your room, or send the links to parents to watch together with their children at home!
- Jack and the Beanstalk written version
- Jack and the Beanstalk movie
- Jack and the Beanstalk movie read-aloud
The read-aloud portion of this lesson is aligned to Common Core ELA standard RL1.7 Use illustrations and details in the story to describe its characters, setting, or events. The events include the life cycle of a plant.
During the previous lesson, students took a preassessment of their knowledge of plant parts and functions. Today, I begin by connecting to the preassessment.
Friends, yesterday I asked you a lot of questions to see what you already know about plant parts and what those parts do. Today, we will see some of those plant parts in a fictional story. Have you heard of the story, Jack and the Beanstalk?
It is likely that many students know the basics of the story: a boy named Jack gets magic beans, climbs the beanstalk, tricks a giant, and cuts the beanstalk down. I give students time to discuss what they remember about the story.
I set the purpose for listening by sharing the objective.
Today as we read, we will describe or tell about the major events of the story; namely, the life cycle of the bean stalk.
I am also including some literacy resources. If it fits into your ELA schedule, you can use these resources to reread the story and describe the characters and lesson of the story.
Before reading, I display images of animal life cycles. Note: a quick Google Images search will bring up tons of great ones; choose circular ones with arrows connecting the stages. Also look for circular diagrams with numbered steps, titles, and labels or descriptions of each step. Here's a great butterfly life cycle, in a National Geographic magazine, p.12-13.
I ask, "What do life cycle diagrams have in common?" This question helps students understand the purpose of a life cycle diagram, to show a process in steps that repeat. The question flows right into student discussion.
As we discuss the common features of life cycle diagrams, I write them on a chart.
During reading, I pause periodically and together we describe the plant life cycle. I ask students, "How can we record the plant life cycle?" Students suggest drawing a circle and putting the stages around the circle. I ask, "What else do life cycles also often have?" (Labels, arrows, a title)
We add these features to our diagrams. Creating a diagram aligns to Science & Engineering Practice #2, Developing and using models.
After reading, students draw their own versions of the life cycle in their science journals. My students each have a dedicated marbled composition notebook for science notes. Completing the diagram together first supports beginning writers, as they will be able to copy the labels.
Students finish their independent work at all different times, so I provide related extension activities. In my classroom science center, I have a bin with plant books and specimens (like acorns, fake flowers, pine cones, and some tree trunk pieces). What's great about this type of extension is that it allows for student choice about what to research or explore! Some chose to explore the plants, pinecones, flowers, or read.
In closing, I tie Jack and the Beanstalk to our unit.
Friends, in science we'll be learning about plants. Why do you think I chose this story?
What parts of a plant's life cycle did we see in the story? What parts were real, and what parts were exaggerated or not real?