Let's Explore Plant Parts

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SWBAT research and identify the different parts of plants in their environment.

Big Idea

Leaves, stems and flowers! In this lesson my students research different plant parts and then go outside and play "I Spy!"

Setting the Stage:

National Science Education Science Standards Connection:

The National Science Education Standards has said that making observations is key to inquiry-based and discovery-focused learning in science instruction. In order to do this students participate in inquiry-based learning that allows them to solve a problem in science through observation, discourse and using a science journal. Students will then be give a chance to share their findings with their peers and then reflect on their own understanding.

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this unit students will learn that plants have external parts that help them survive in nature and then use that information to help them solve a human problem by mimicking plants. This is called Biomimicry - bio: life, mimicry - to copy. To learn more about Biomimicry check out this Ted Talks.

NGSS Standard asks that student identify that all organisms have external parts. Plants have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow. In this lesson students will develop a plan to research plant parts as well as discover plant parts while on a nature walk.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.

Vocabulary Cards:

These cards include the vocabulary that it important for this unit on plant life.  The standards covered by this unit are 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 1-LS3-1. You can choose to use these cards in different ways. I like to print all vocabulary words on card stock and hang them on my science bulletin board as a reference tool throughout the unit. You can also use these cards as flashcards or a concentration matching game.


KLEWS - How do plants survive and grow?

Investigation Worksheet - Plant Parts

Books about plants

Ipads or computers - PebbleGo or Worldbook online

Science Journals:  I just use blank paper in my journals so my students have space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.

Journal prompt: What are the different parts of a plant?

Anchor Chart - Plant Vocabulary


15 minutes

The NGSS asks that students understand the different structures and functions of plants that help them survive. In order to build prior knowledge I show my students this video about the different parts of a plant.

Boys and girls, plants are living things and they need food, water and air just like you and me.  Each of us have special body parts that help us eat food, drink water and breath air. These body parts help us to survive. Well, guess what? Plants have parts that help them to survive as well and for our next few lessons we are going to study different plant parts. 

I show them our Structures and Functions of Plants anchor chart. This anchor chart is a tool for keeping track of our research about the plant parts and functions. This anchor chart is a tool that will be used later when we use plants to solve a human problem.

I also introduce my students to our KLEWS chart. We will record our wonderings, new learning, as well as evidence for our new learning on that chart throughout the unit.

Today you will be investigating plant parts.  You will observe and identify the different plant parts that help plant survive while answering this question: What are the different parts of a plant? Are you ready?


25 minutes

The standard addressed in this unit requires students to make observations and identify functions of structures (plant parts) that help plants survive in nature. For this investigation, my students may work independently to try and identify structures of plants. In this section students research plant parts. 


In this section my students work with their workshop partner or alone to research plants and their different parts. 
I pass out an Investigation Worksheet - Plant Parts and tell my students that today they need to find 3 facts about plants and record these facts on the worksheet. They may use books and/or the Internet (PebbleGo - Plant Parts).

I have my class set of 5 mini Ipads with PebbleGo - Plant Parts available for research. I also have a great collection of plant books in my classroom library but also supplemented my supply with books on plants from my school library. I ask the children to record any information that will help answer our research question, What are the different parts of a plant?

Today you will be researching plant parts using books and the internet. Your job is to work with your workshop partner to fill in the research section of your Investigation worksheet: Plant Parts as best you can. Be sure to to record the plant parts you discover today on that sheet.

As my students research, I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching. I refer back to our questions: What are the different parts of a plant?


10 minutes

The NGSS asks that students communicate and explain information from observations. In the explain section I want my students to share their observations with their turn and talk partners.  Each partnership will engage in accountable talk agreeing or disagreeing with each others' observation notes.  My students share their observations and explain their thinking as well as engaging in high levels of student discourse and reasoning. 

Thank you for meeting me on the carpet with your observations.  Each of you have collected a lot of really good research today.  Now you get to do just what scientists do. You are going to share your research with your turn and talk partner.  Your job is to have a thoughtful conversation with your partner about your findings and your partners findings. As your partner shares his or her work with you, I want you to listen carefully to your partner today.  Are you ready to give this a go?

After sharing with partners, my students engage in a whole group discussion. Each child builds upon another child's thinking by listening and responding. 


15 minutes

The NGSS asks that student use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. In order to meet the high demands of this standard my students must first understand the different parts of a plant. What better way to examine plants but to get OUTDOORS!! YAY!

While outside I play a plants part version of "I spy" with my first grade students. 

I say, "I spy with my little eye a long, long stem." My students run to stand by a plant stem.  If they don't find it I will add more prompts like, "I spy with my little eye a long stem that is made of bark and called a tree trunk."  


10 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. We return to the classroom and record the different plant parts we observed on our Structures and Function of Plants anchor chart.

I ask my students to answer this question in their science journals: What are the different parts of a plant? As my students work, I walk around and check in on the learning. I look for illustrations that show some of the different plant parts.

Together we record, "Plants have seeds, roots, leaves, stems and flowers" on our Anchor Chart - Plant Vocabulary