Comparing Needs of Plants and Humans

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Students will be able to compare the needs of plants and humans by completing a Venn diagram.

Big Idea

Students have learned the needs of plants. Now it is time to compare these needs to those of humans.


10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the Plant and Human Needs Sort included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print one copy of this page for each table group.  I laminate and cut out the cards. 

This is a constructivist style activity in which the students will try to organize the cards into logical groupings and provide a "rule" for the grouping.  This activity gives the students practice on how to form, verbalize and defend an argument.  My students have been participating in this type of activity all school year and have become quite proficient for figuring out different ways to group the cards and explain the "rule" they applied to the grouping.

I distribute one set of cards to each table group.  I tell the students, I put a group of cards on each table.  I want you to work together to put the cards into THREE groups.  Make sure that your groupings make sense and that you can explain WHY you grouped the cards the way you.  Remember to include all members of your group in your discussion.  If you need help reading a card, just raise your hand and I will help you. 

The students begin working and I circulate around the room to listen to their discussions.  When everyone is done with their groupings, I invite each group to share their groupings and rationale before the class.  After everyone has had a chance to share, we move to the Smartboard for the direct instruction portion 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 Comparing Human and Plant Needs 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:  Comparing Human and Plant Needs PDF of 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 identify and compare the needs of humans and plants

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how the needs of humans and plants are alike.

I then advance to Slide Two. 

Slide Two:  What are the needs of plants?  I record the needs as the students share them. 

Slide Three:  What are the needs of humans?  I again record the needs the students share. 

Slide Four: Let's compare the needs of plants and animals.  I invite students to come up to the board and move the needs into the correct spaces on the chart. 

Slide Five:  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 needs to humans and plants share?  I invite the students to converse with their partners.  After everyone has engaged in conversation, I invite a student to share for the class what they came up with for an answer.  If there is anything missed, we discuss it as a group.

We return to our seats for guided practice.

Guided Practice

5 minutes

For the guided practice portion of this lesson, we revisit the sorting cards that we used in the opening activity.  I say to the students, Now, I want your group to work together to regroup the cards.  How do you think we will regroup them?  That's right.  You will create three groups.  One will be things that plants need, one will be things that humans need and one will be needs of both plants and animals.

I like to revisit the sort to allow the students to apply what they learned during the lesson.  There is a feeling of success as the students complete it correctly.  It also allows me to do some informal assessment. 

The students begin working and when they are done, we discuss as a group the correct groupings.  We then clean up for independent practice.


Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

Materials Needed

 I run copies of the activity sheet and distribute them to the students.  I have them write their names at the top of the paper.  I tell them, Now it's time for you to show me how well you can compare human and plant needs.  What do you see on this paper?  That's right.  It is a Venn diagram.  You are going to cut out the needs at the bottom of this paper and sort them.  On this side of the paper is where we will put things that are human needs and on this side, we are going to put things that are plant needs.  What do you think we will put in the middle?  That's right.  Things that are both human and plant needs.  When you are done sorting the needs, raise your hand and I will check your work before your glue it.

The students begin working and I move about the room to check on their work.  See video.  When everyone has completed the activity sheet, we move into our closing activity. 


5 minutes

To wrap up the lesson, we do an activity called Clap and Stomp.  I give the students the directions: I am going to say a need.  If it is a plant need you clap.  If it is a human need you stamp your feet.  If it is a need shared by both plants and animals, what do you think you will do?  That's right, you will clap your hands and stamp your feet.

I say the following for the activity:

  • shirt
  • sunlight
  • apartment
  • spaghetti
  • water
  • soil
  • shoes
  • air
  • sweatshirt