Plant Life Cycles

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Students will be able to describe the stages of plant development by creating a life cycle model.

Big Idea

The students have had exposure to lots of different concepts related to plants. Now it is time for them to bring these ideas together to learn more about the life cycle of plants.


10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need Plant Life Cycle Cards included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print one set of cards per table group, laminate the cards and cut them apart.

This lesson begins with a constructivist type activity.  The students are going to use their prior knowledge and the information they have obtained from our plant lessons thus far to create this activity.  I say to the students, You have some pictures in front of you.  I want you to work as a group to put your cards in the order of a plant life cycle.  Some of the students are wondering what a life cycle is, but I do not want to give them this information yet.  I want them to try to figure this out on their own. 

After the students have had time to order the cards, I circulate around the room and check their work.  Many of the students have the cards in order, but no group has them arranged in a circle.  I tell the students, We are going to come back to these cards in a little bit, but for right now, I want you to go and sit at your SmartBoard spots.  We then move on to the direct instruction part of the lesson. 


Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMART Board.  If you have a SMART Board, the Life Cycle of Plants Smartboard notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson: Plant Life Cycle PDF of Smartboard Slides

I gather my students in front of the SMART Board.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMART Board Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can describe the life cycle of a bean plant

Language Objective
I can tell a friend what happens next in the life cycle of a bean plant. 

I then advance to Slide Two. 

Slide Two:  What is a life cycle? A life cycle shows the changes a living thing goes through.  This is the life cycle of a frog.    I talk through each step in the frog life cycle to give the student some background on what a life cycle is. 

Slide Three:  Plants go through a life cycle too.  Let's learn more about it by looking at the life cycle of a bean plant. 

Slide Four:  We start with a bean seed.

Slide Five:  The bean seed sprouts.

Slide Six:  The sprout goes above ground.  Leaves are starting to form. 

Slide Seven:  Several leaves are now formed. 

Slide Eight:  Flowers are formed. 

Slide Nine:   Bean pods are formed and inside these pods are seeds that will become new bean plants.

Slide Ten:  All the steps in the plant life cycle form a circle. The cycle never ends.

Slide Eleven:  It is now Turn and Talk time.  Turn and Talk offers my students the chance to use critical academic vocabulary while building English conversational skills.  Every student has an assigned Turn and Talk partner.  I have them hold their partner’s hand in the air, so I can see that everyone is partnered.  I then pose the following question: What part of the life cycle is missing?  The students are given time to discuss the answer with their partner.  After everyone has had a chance to discuss the question with their partner, I call on a student to share their discussion with the class.  I make sure that the response is framed as a complete sentence, so the students have correct English syntax modeled for them.


Guided Practice

7 minutes

We now return to our tables and the life cycle cards that were used in the opening of the lesson.  I say to the students, Now that you know what the plant life cycle is, I want you to put the cards in the correct order.  Make sure you remember what a life cycle looks like. 

I give the students time to put the cards in the correct order.  A few groups put the cards in a line, I remind them that a life cycle is in a circle and they quickly correct their work.  After everyone has completed their life cycle and I check their work, I collect the cards and we prepare for independent practice.


Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

Materials Needed: 

I distribute the activity sheet to the students and have them write their name on the top of their paper.  I say to the students, Now it is your turn to show me what you know about the life cycle of a plant.  I want you to cut out the pictures from the plant life cycle and put them in the correct order.  Before you glue down the steps, make sure you raise your hand for me to check your work.

The students started to work and I circulate around the room.  I give the students assistance as needed.  Some of them and mixed up the pictures that have the flowers and bean pods because they did not look carefully at the pictures.  See video.  They quickly correct their work after further examining the pictures.

As the students finish their work, I have them put them in their mailboxes.  We then come together for the lesson closing. 




5 minutes

To wrap up the lesson, we use the plant life cycle cards that were used in the opening of this lesson.  I put the students in groups of six.  I give each student one of the life cycle cards.  I have them quickly get into an arrangement to show the life cycle of the bean plant.  I want to allow them the opportunity to practice what they learned during the lesson.  It provides a quick check-in for me on their mastery of the concept and also allows them to see their growth after just one lesson. 

After they have made their formation, I come to each group and they each say what step in the life cycle they are.  After each group has shared, I collect the cards and encourage the students to share their knowledge of the life cycle of the bean plant.