The Plant Kingdom- Vocabulary Preview

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SWBAT identify key words related to the structure and function of a plant.

Big Idea

Students will apply their understanding of plant related vocabulary words to a matching activity called vocabulary scramble.

Lesson Overview

5e Lesson Plan Model

Many of my science lessons are based upon and taught using the 5E lesson plan model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This lesson plan model allows me to incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and strategies for students.  With multiple learning experiences, students can gain new ideas, demonstrate thinking, draw conclusions, develop critical thinking skills, and interact with peers through discussions and hands-on activities.  With each stage in this lesson model, I select strategies that will serve students best for the concepts and content being delivered to them.  These strategies were selected for this lesson to facilitate peer discussions, participation in a group activity, reflective learning practices, and accountability for learning.

Unit Focus  

The Ecosystems and Interactions unit focuses on students recognizing the interrelationship between organisms and their ecosystems.  It engages students in understanding that organisms have observable characteristics that are fully inherited and can be affected by the climate and/or environment. Students distinguish structures that define classes of animals and plants, and develop an understanding that all organisms go through predictable life cycles. They learn that organisms depend upon one another for growth and development and discover that plants use the sun's energy to produce food for themselves. They observe how the sun's energy is transferred within a food chain from producers to consumers to decomposers.

Lesson Synopsis

In this lesson, Plant Kingdom Vocabulary Preview, students are exposed to key words that relate to the structure and function of plants. Using a powerpoint and a four-square graphic organizer, students define and illustrate these key words. Once students finish their plant vocabulary four-square, the whole class engages in the activity Vocabulary Scramble. During this activity, students are randomly given a vocabulary card, either a word or definition. Then, they try to find their match-either a word or definition, silently. Once they do, the match finds a place while the activity continues until all matches are found.  It can go as many rounds as time allows.  Challenges can be added to each round, like how fast can you find your match. Students use their interactive notebook to at the end of class to write about two new words are more familiar with now than at the start of the lesson.  I review their interactive notebooks to use as a formative assessment for this lesson.

Next Generation Science Standards  

This lesson will indirectly address and support future lessons on the following NGSS Standard(s): 

2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.

5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment

5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.  

Why Do I Teach this Lesson and Address This Standard?

I teach the Plant Kingdom Vocabulary Preview lesson because many of my students have very limited background in science since the elementary school's within my district do not formally teach science prior to my students entering the 5th grade (the middle school); therefore, they have not been exposed to earlier grade level NGSS standards or other previous state standards pertaining to animals, plants, other living organisms, and ecosystems.  I find it important to expose my students to parts of these earlier standards in order for them to truly develop a thorough understanding of how matter moves among organisms and developing models to describe how animals' food was once energy from the sun in future lessons. Students take part in inquiry based investigations and apply their evidence to explain justify their thinking. Providing my students the opportunity to practice this type of learning will help to facilitate their scientific thinking for future investigations in any lesson.

Scientific & Engineering Practices

Students are engaged in the following scientific and engineering Practices 

8.) Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information: Students obtain information from two different medias-powerpoint slides and images, on vocabulary words relevant to the structure and function of plants.

Crosscutting Concepts

The Plant Kingdom Vocabulary Preview lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

6.) Structure and Function:  Students observe and identify different substructures of plants that support their function of obtaining air, water, and sunlight to sustain life. 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

LS1.A Structure and Function


Importance of Modeling to Develop Student

Responsibility, Accountability, and Independence 

Depending upon the time of year, this lesson is taught, teachers should consider modeling how groups should work together; establish group norms for activities, class discussions, and partner talks.  In addition, it is important to model think aloud strategies.  This sets up students to be more expressive and develop thinking skills during an activity.  The first half of the year, I model what group work and/or talks “look like and sound like.”  I intervene the moment students are off task with reminders and redirecting.  By the second and last half of the year, I am able to ask students, “Who can give of three reminders for group activities to be successful?” Who can tell us two reminders for partner talks?”  Students take responsibility for becoming successful learners.  Again before teaching this lesson, consider the time of year, it may be necessary to do a lot of front loading to get students to eventually become more independent and transition through the lessons in a timely manner.


5 minutes

Previewing Vocabulary Words

I introduce this lesson by bringing students' attention to the vocabulary words projected on the board. I tell them we are going to view some vocabulary words that are coming up over the next few lessons. I continue stating that getting a glimpse of these words ahead of time will prepare us for some upcoming lessons on the structures and functions of plants.

vocabulary preview


First, I ask students to identify words that look familiar to them. I give them twenty seconds to think to themselves before they engage is a group conversation. 

Then I ask them to turn and talk as group, sharing words they think they know and words they do not.  I tell them if they think they know they word, they should share with their group what they think the word or words mean.

Explore / Explain

40 minutes

Elicit Vocabulary Instruction

Once students view and discuss the words with their group, I tell them we are going to say the words together first so they hear the pronunciation and practice saying them.  We use the I say, You say, We say method.  This is where the teacher is the I and the students are You, and We are teacher and students together.

I say: teacher says the word; You say: students say it; We say: together we say the word 

I engage them in practicing the words verbally so they become more comfortable and familiar with how they sound. While it benefits all my students, it is very beneficial to my English language learners, and special education students.

Direct Vocabulary Instruction

At this point, I hand out a vocabulary four-square graphic organizer. I explain that as vocabulary words appear on the slide, they are writing it in the word box. Once we discuss if it is familiar or unfamiliar to them, I reveal the definition and ask students to write it down. Along with the definition, I use models and images to help students better understand the meaning of the words.  I tell them we are focusing on defining the words first and are completing the drawing and sentence writing at the end of class.

I go through each slide, one at a time. I circulate the room as I explain and describe the words. I encourage students to ask questions for clarification.

*I decided to have them work on the remaining sections as homework for time management purposes.



20 minutes

Putting Our Vocabulary Words to Practice

Here I have students practice identifying words and their meanings by taking place in vocabulary scramble.  

In this strategy, all vocabulary words and definitions are randomly handed out to students face down. Students may look at their card, but not show others. When the teacher says scramble, students stand up and walk around the room trying to find their match.  

I explain to them they cannot talk and have to use nonverbal ways to communicate, like a thumbs up and thumbs down when agreeing or disagreeing about their match.  Once they believe they have found their match, I tell them to find a place to sit until all other matches are found.  When I notice all students are sitting, showing me they have found their match, I ask each pair to read their matching cards: one a word, the other has a definition.  I instruct the others to listen and say to them: "If you agree with the match you can give a thumbs up; however, if you disagree with the match you have heard, raise your and be prepared to respectfully share why you disagree. (My students are familiar with using the sentence starter: I respectfully disagree with____. I think...(give reason ).

I randomly hand out the cards, one to each student and say: "Scramble."  During this time I am circulating the room observing students try to determine their match.  

An Afterthought

I found this activity was very successful. I noticed students looking carefully at words trying to determine if they were a match.  A common struggle was the between the words chlorophyll and chloroplasts. 





5 minutes

Before leaving class, I ask students to think about two of the words they did not know before our lesson today. Then I ask them to tell me what they now know about those two words and write their response in their interactive notebook.

exit ticket Plant Vocabulary

I use this as a formative assessment to determine if they are starting to develop an understanding of some of these words. This is also helpful to identify areas students are struggling with understanding and / or misconceptions.