It's All About Plants!

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SWBAT observe the changes occurring during the spring season and record written observations in their science journals.

Big Idea

It is time to find evidence of spring! Let's go for a nature walk and discover all the new plants starting to grow!!

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 my students learn that plants can reproduce and have behaviors that help their seeds to grow and survive.  They observe the similarities and differences between adult plants and their offspring and record their evidence in their science journals. They also will identify 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.

This lesson introduces students to the plant life in their surroundings and launches us into our plant unit. 

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.

Vocabulary - Plant Life


KLEWS - How do plants survive and grow?

Book: Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal











Magnifying Glasses


Sticky notes

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

Science Journal Prompt: What do you notice about plants in spring?


15 minutes

The NGSS asks that students understand that plants can reproduce. To launch into the study of plants, I begin with a cute fictional book called, Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The Common Core Standards for English Language Arts asks that students explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.  After our read aloud be have a discussion about the book.  I asked questions like:

What in this book tells you that it is a fiction book? 

How do you know? 

What do you know about plants?

These questions help to activate prior knowledge about plants.  I show my students a KLEWS anchor chart that will collect all the information we learn about plants in this unit.  I read the questions we will investigate: How do plants use structures to survive and grow?

For the next series of lessons we will be using the same anchor chart.  A KLEWS anchor chart is described as a tool that allows students to track their learning throughout an investigation, building up to the understanding of a scientific principle. Our KLEWS chart will track the learning for our next lessons.  I show my students our KLEWS anchor chart and read the Essential Question that will guide our lessons about lesson: How do plants use structures to survive and grow?


25 minutes

The NGSS asks that students learn science by doing science so for this lesson we head outside to go on a nature walk around the school.  My students take a walking field trip around the school to observe the changes occurring in the plant life during the spring season. We observe and record evidence of spring in our science journals.  I also pass out clipboards, magnifying glasses, and writing utensils.

Boys and girls, we are going to take a nature around our school to observe evidence of spring around our school.  Please draw your observations in your science journal and be sure to label these illustrations.

As my students are observing and recording, 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 ask prompting questions that help my students begin thinking about plants and seeds and how they survive in nature.


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.  I want my students sharing their observations and explaining 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. We can call the work you have in front of you, your evidence.  Each of you have collected a lot of really good evidence of spring.  Now you get to do just what scientists do. You are going to share your evidence 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?

I bring my students back together and guide a whole group discussion about spring, plants and seeds.  In this discussion I point out the key vocabulary that my students are already using: buds, flowers, plants, weeds, new plants, trees, etc.  


15 minutes

A KLEWS anchor chart is described as a tool that allows students to track their learning throughout an investigation, building up to the understanding of a scientific principle. Our KLEWS chart will track the learning about the plants for our next lessons.

Boys and girls, let's look back at our KLEWS chart. Let's reread our over-arching question: What are the structures of plant and how do they help plants go? 

Today we discovered that plants in spring look very different than plants in other months.  We noticed new buds growing on trees, new plants growing up in our wood chips, we noticed that our garden beds have no plants and that many of the trees are just starting to grow plants. Are you wondering anything about plants or seeds? After giving my students a few moments to think on this I ask them to share their wonderings with their turn and talk partners.  I allow my students a few moments to share. As they share I sit and listen in on conversations and guide questions to support our investigation. 

My students say things like:

I am wondering how can we eat seeds?

I wonder how seeds grow?

I wonder what happens to plants in the winter?

Where do plant go in the winter?

How do plants get seeds?

I bring my students back together. I am wondering the same thing as all of you?  Will you please take a moment and write your question on this sticky note?  Once you have written your question, you will come over to our KLEWS chart and stick it under the "What -What are you wondering?" column. 

After the students have placed their sticky notes on the KLEWS chart, I read over the questions in a whole group setting.


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. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write the answer to our big question:

What do you notice about plants in spring? Write everything you know about plants.

This is a great formative assessment.  I walk around and confer with my students and record student prior knowledge on an anecdotal recording sheet.