The Life Cycle of a Plant

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SWBAT describe how a bean seed can go from a seed to producing a plant and eventually a new seed.

Big Idea

Today students will describe how a bean seed can grow into a plant that will produce a new bean with seeds inside and learn that it is a continuous cycle.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

Advanced Preparation:  a variety of fruits with seeds, computers, poster paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils.  

The students will start the lesson by looking at the inside of a variety of fruits and discovering that each one has a seed.  The students will then use a laptop to watch a video about the life cycle of a bean.  They will work in teams t create life cycle posters for their bean and finish the lesson with a reading of from Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.

Our district expects students to understand that a plant is a system that goes through a natural cycle and the parts help the plant survive and reproduce. By focusing on the parts and needs of a plant, I can teach them how the parts have a role that helps a plant get the things it needs to survive.  The unit will end with the class spending 4 days int eh school garden and applying their learned knowledge to the work being done in the garden.  


Students demonstrate their understanding of Reproduction by…

  • Drawing and labeling the stages of development in the life of a familiar plant.




15 minutes

Advanced preparation:  You will need 1 orange, apple, cherry, peach, pea, and green bean.

The students start by gathering around the big "conference" table that is on the middle of our room. This allows each student to sit around the table and see the following activity.  

"I would like you to sit around the big table. Take a look at the items (fruits and vegetables) that I have on the table.  What do all of these have in common?"

I allow students to offer a variety of ideas and then I cut each one open.  I want the students to see that each one has a seed in it.

"I am now going to cut open each item.  I want you to notice what is inside each one.  Why do they each have a seed inside it?  Where did it come from?"

I steer the Where did the seed come from? toward the idea of a "life cycle."

"Each seed can be planted to create a new plant.  The plant grows and creates a new fruit that has a seed that can be used to start the process over again.  This is called the life cycle of the plant."



25 minutes

"You are now going to work with your science partners to create a life cycle poster of a bean.  I would like each team to take a green bean and a laptop.  I would like you to first use your laptop and look up this address:  Once you have watched the video, I would like you to split open your bean and find the seed inside the bean.  Your job is to create a poster of the life cycle of a bean seed.  How can the seed you found inside your bean end up producing a new bean?"

"You and your partner will need to use a piece of poster paper to create a poster of the beans life cycle.  You can use any materials to enhance your poster, however the poster must be clear and each stage must be labeled."

I want the students to understand that seeds are reproduced and can be used to create a new plant that will produce more beans.  

As the students are working, I circulate to make sure that the students are clear on the task and help clarify misconceptions.  I also want to make sure that they have the steps in order.

I am looking that the students have the following steps:

1. seed

2.  sprout with roots

3. small plant with leaves

4. large plant with flowers

5.  large plant with beans

I have included an example of a poster that meets the expectations.  


10 minutes

I invite all of the students to gather back on the carpet and to sit in a circle. I hang up the posters in different sections of the room  or laid out on tables.  They will be used for a gallery walk.

"You and your science partner are now going to walk around the room and take a look at each poster.  I want you to see if any of the posters are missing any of the steps in the life cycle of the bean.  If a poster is missing a step, I want you to use a yellow stick it note and write down what step is missing and stick it on the poster.  If all of the steps are there, don't write anything."

By having the students circulate amongst the posters and check for accuracy, I am asking the students to use their own knowledge to check other's work.  This process is a way to add an accountability piece to the gallery walk.

If a poster has some errors, I will allow the group to correct it later in the day.  


10 minutes

To reinforce the concept of a life cycle, I read From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.  This will mark the end of the lesson for today.