National Science Teaching Standards:
According to National Science Teaching Standards, students need to understand characterization of organisms. In this lesson, students learn the parts of a plant, which are the root, stem, leaves, and flowers. Each part is needed in helping a plant function properly. This lesson is essential because students explore the parts of the plants through dissecting the plants. Students evaluate the structure and function of the plant through a group exploration. Students need to understand that different structures serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
This lesson focuses on the Crosscutting Concept, Structure and Function. Each part of the plant functions differently to help the plant. The roots hold up the plant and take in water and nutrients. The stems hold up the plant and carries water throughout the plant. The leaves take in air, water, and sunlight in order to make food. The flowers produce seeds to make new plants or fruit.
Science and Engineering Practices in NGSS:
This lesson addresses SP4: analyzing and interpreting data and SP 8 obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. This lesson permits second grade students to collect and analyze data while observing the parts of a plant. This is imperative because students need to gain experience in collecting and sharing observations. Students will have the opportunity to communicate their understanding of how to describe the parts of a plant and their functions. In the early grades, students should have the opportunity to analyze and critique their work and others. This lesson is important because it provides students a chance to communicate information to others in oral and written form in order to share their scientific ideas.
Students have previously learned how to identify nonliving and living things. They understand that living things need food and water, carry out respiration, reproduce, grow and move. This lesson will permit students to see that plants have parts that function in a way to help them survive.
To motivate students, I take them to the school garden to view the various plants. If you do not have a school garden, you can take students on a nature walk around the school to view living things such as trees and plants. While walking in the garden, students are asked What are some living things that you notice? To stimulate their thinking, I pull a plant out of the garden and ask them, What do you notice about the plant? I will assess whether they can name some of the parts of the plant.
Afterwards, I escort students back to the classroom and I ask them to sit at their desk. Students are invited to turn and talk - What did you notice about the plants in the garden? Students are encouraged to speak in complete sentences so they can learn how to communicate effectively. It is important that students learn to speak and listen to their peers. I invite a few pairs to share their responses.
To accommodate my visual learners, I show them a Parts of a Plant PowerPoint. After the PowerPoint, I ask the students to stand up and act out the parts of a plant by moving their bodies or dancing. For instance, students should go down low to express themselves as the soil. I play the maracas in the background to give students a steady beat, and I give them a count of 8. This helps bring out the "A" in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)!! Some students are called to discuss their dance interpretation.
At students' desks, I inform them that they will have an opportunity to observe a plant and dissect a plant in their groups. They are informed that they can take the plant apart to observe the parts of the plant. I remind the students of the group rules. This is done to ensure that they respect their peers as they work collaboratively to complete their investigation. Also, we discuss some safety rules such as: do not place the plant in your mouth, do not throw anything or place your hands in your mouth after touching the plant.
I inform the students that at their group's table- you will find your labels and a circle map. Your leader, pre-assigned, will help the students select their roles. The groups know the pre-assigned leaders. I tell the students that they will dissect the plant, taking it apart to observe the function and the importance of each plant structure. Each group will record what you observe in the circle map. They are informed to pay very close attention to the plant parts.
In order for the students to transition in an efficient manner, we have a chant that we do. I say: We are on the move! The students say: We are on the move and we are ready to learn- two snaps then two claps (Repeat). They continue to say the chant until they are in their groups. When everyone it at their table, one pre-selected student says, "We are all here and we are ready to learn". All students: two snaps then two claps (twice). This is done so students can move quietly to their area with few distractions.
When students get to the table, they can begin collaborating on their investigation. While the groups are investigating, I am walking around playing the role of the facilitator. I ask the students questions- What is the purpose of the roots? Where did you locate the roots? How does a stem work on a plant? How do the leaves help the plant produce food? When do flowers form on a plant? Also, I encourage the leader to ask his/her group questions about the function of the plant. I want students to take ownership of the lesson; however, I offer support and guidance as needed. As I listen to their discussion, I can make adjustments as needed.
At the end of the investigation, groups place the plant back into soil.
Here is the student work, Parts of a Plant-circle map
Students return back to their desk.
Groups share their findings from the circle map. Then I call on volunteers to explain the function and importance of each plant structure. As the groups present, I am listening to make sure that they name the plant parts and tell the parts of the plant function. I take up the lab sheet at the end of the lesson to check for understanding.
As a closure, I have students watch the plant video and sing along. In permitting the students to sing, it allows my auditory students to be engaged and motivated. Also, my students enjoy singing and they can retain taught concepts.