Plant One on Me!

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SWBAT explain the needs of a plant by planting their own sunflower seed and charting its growth as they care for it.

Big Idea

Kids learn that plants require more than just water to survive.


15 minutes

To begin this lesson, I am calling one student at a time to sit on the floor like scientists with their seed bags from the lesson, Bag That Seed, as I remove them from the bulletin board.

Once all the kids are seated on the floor with their bags, they are asked to show-and-tell their seed's growth progress with their floor partner. I then explain to them that, "today we will be transferring our seeds to soil." I then ask the kids, "why would we want to do this? Why would we want to transfer our seeds from the bag to soil?" The kids get 20 seconds to think silently to themselves; each student then gets 20 seconds to answer the questions with their floor partners. The student with the longest hair gets to answer first.

I use the name stick can to choose three students to answer the questions, one at a time, to the entire class.

I then demonstrate how they will transfer the seeds to the soil.

Student Supplies:

  • 1 Dixie cup for each student with their name written on it
  • Individual seed bags, make sure one has been prepared for absent students

Table Supplies:

  • Spray bottles of water, one per table
  • Container of loose soil, one per table

Teacher Supplies:

  • Two large tubs, used to store seed cups


  1. Hold up the Dixie cup
  2. Use the Dixie cup to scoop soil half inch from the top
  3. Stick finger in the center of the soil to make a hole for the seed
  4. Demonstrate gently removing the seedling from the bag
    • First, remove paper towel with seedling on it
    • Gently press up on the seedling from under the paper towel, this detaches it from the towel without harming the roots
    • Gently pick up seedling with fingers, avoiding the roots
  5. Insert the seedling, root down, into the hole in the center of the soil
  6. Gently cover the seedling with the soil, using finger
  7. Spray the soil with the water in the spray bottle until the soil is moist

I prepare a tub of materials for each table the day before. I call the table leader for each table to come and get a tub of materials. I then dismiss the kids to return to their tables with their hands in their laps. I guide them through each step of the procedure, assisting when needed. Once all of the seeds have been planted in the cups, I collect them one table at a time and place them in the tubs (teacher supplies). It is important to guide the students through this exploration because many of them have not had experience planting seeds before and this is new to them. It is also imperative that children have hands on experiences to bring concepts to life.


10 minutes

The explanation of this lesson is done through the reading of a book called, I'm a Seed by Jean Marzollo.

The students need to understand what a seed needs in order to sprout and to successfully grow into a plant.

As I read through the text, I periodically stop to hold a discussion:

  • Pages 3 & 4 - Do you think the other seed is going to be a marigold, too? Why or why not?
  • Pages 5 & 6 - Why did the marigold tell the other seed that it's not going to be a marigold?
  • Pages 7 & 8 - What kind of seed do you think the other seed might be?
  • Pages 9 & 10 - What is the seed supposed to wait for?
  • Pages 11 & 12 - BEFORE reading the text on the pages I ask, "How are these to young plants different?"
  • Pages 13 - 18 we discuss how both plants are growing and changing.
  • Page 19 - BEFORE I show them the picture or read the text, I ask the kids, "What kind of plant do you think it is?" and what evidence have they heard and seen to support their hypothesis.
  • The last few pages I just read slowly with great expression. When I get to the part about "What's inside" I ask the kids before I read the next page revealing the seeds.

Throughout the text, I connect the new learning with prior learning of the life cycle of a plant.

I do this because it is important for students to build upon their prior learning to synthesize new and prior information to get a new understanding of concepts.


10 minutes

While still gathered on the floor, I have the kids think silently to themselves about everything they understand about a seed growing into a plant. I have them think for 20 seconds and then share their ideas with their floor partners, each partner getting 20 seconds to share their thoughts.

I then pull four name sticks from the can so that random students are chosen to share with the entire class what they shared with their floor partners.

I refer to the KWL chart and record any new information that the kids present through sharing. The KWL chart is a living document and we add, delete, and modify as needed throughout the lessons in this plant unit.

When we have exhausted our ideas to add to the KWL chart, we review the entire chart to reinforce learning.


15 minutes

The evaluation of this lesson is a sequencing activity of the order of planting a seed. This will show me if the kids understand the order of needs for the plant. The pictures to be sequenced are exact representations of the exploration because young children are concrete in their thinking. Any variation in visuals can confuse them and make the task difficult.

The kids are given 15 minutes on a timer to cut, order and paste the pictures in order. They are allowed to color only if time permits. For this reason, I have them use glue sticks rather than liquid glue.

After the timer goes off, I have the kids gather on the floor by calling one table at a time. They are instructed to bring their completed sequencing page with them. They are given time to share their work with their floor partner.

I pick 3 name sticks from the can and have them come up one at a time to sit in the teacher's chair and share their findings with the rest of the class. This strategy allows every child to voice their thoughts without consuming too much class time. It also keeps them excited as they never know who will be selected. They enjoy the anticipation of having their name called.


5 minutes

A take home reader is the tool used for the extension of this lesson. The students are able to share the information within the readers with their families. They cut and staple the reader in the classroom if there is time at the end of the lesson or as a transition before the next class period. The teacher can have the books prepared in advance if preferred.

Procedure to read books:

  1. Teacher reads, they they track with finger
  2. Kids read with the teacher, still tracking with finger
  3. Kids read independently to their partner, each partner takes a turn while the other tracks

This take home reader supports learning and serves as a home-school connection piece. It supports learning by extending the lesson and crossing into Language Arts. Most students can read it themselves; those struggling with reading can have assistance at home.