Plant a spring garden with cool-weather, quick-growing vegetables that can be harvested and enjoyed at the end of the school year. While the plants are growing, conduct some of these lessons to learn how the seed germinates, the plant is pollinated, and the produce ends up on our plate! At the K2 grade levels, the topic of gardening can be used to help students discover the basic needs of plants, learn about plant structures and functions, and understand how plants are adapted for survival in their environment.
What Parts Are There to a Plant? ORC #3602
The objective of this best practice lesson is to encourage students to observe and document similarities and differences between parts of plants. The lesson begins with a plant scavenger hunt where students find and match similar plant parts (roots, stems, etc.). The activities that follow move students toward more detailed and challenging explorations of plant parts. The final activity involves students in making a "Plant-Parts Salad." Discussion questions, an online activity, and suggested assessment are included.
Biology of Plants, ORC #8161
This promising practice resource is actually a unit focusing on the life cycle of plants, including sections on growth, plant parts, making food, pollination, seed dispersal, plant adaptations, and plants and life on Earth. It also has lesson plans, interactive games, and activities that are available for most of the concepts listed above. This resource provides a lot of content and background information for each topic and presents the information in a clear and concise manner that would be appealing to both teachers and students.
Crops 1: Where Does Food Come From? ORC #3462
This promising practice lesson is the first of a two-part series on where food comes from. These lessons are intended to help students understand that most of the food they eat comes from farms. In "Crops 1: Where Does Food Come From?" students learn that most of the food they buy in stores originally comes from farms. Students are gathered together to sing a song about growing crops on a farm and learn from the lyrics the kinds of things that farmers do and need to grow plants well. They learn about the five steps in our food system and discuss its aspects in the context of a story about tomato farming and distribution.
Crops 2: What Plants Need to Grow, ORC #3463
The objective of this promising practice lesson is to familiarize students with the kinds of things that plants need to grow well. This is the second lesson of a two-part series on where food comes from. These lessons are intended to help students understand that most of the food they eat comes from farms. Students learn how to grow plants and what kinds of things promote growth (warmth, sunlight, water, soil). Their activities involve learning about how seeds and plants grow and participating in a simple, in-class gardening project.
Designing a Native Plants Garden
In this lesson, students compare native vegetation in different parts of the United States. After that, they explore websites to learn about native plants in their own region and then design gardens containing those local plants.
This site offers a wealth of information about gardening with children in general and about school gardening projects.
Monarch Watch Butterfly Gardening
Think beyond vegetable gardens to a variety of garden types and purposes. A butterfly garden is a great alternative to a vegetable garden!
Avoid Misconceptions When Teaching About Plants, ORC #9942
This professional resource is an article about commonly held misconceptions related to plants. The author identifies some sources of misconceptions and then lists misconceptions by topic. Fifty misconceptions are identified in the article. References are included.
Online Biology Book, ORC #5239
Chapters 2024 of this online biology book provide background information for the teacher on plant structures and functions.
- Living things have basic needs, which are met by obtaining materials from the physical environment.
- Living things survive only in environments that meet their needs.