Need Advice On Plant Unit For First Grade
I am working on a plant unit for a first grade class and I am in desperate need of some ideas. I am currently doing my student teaching for a teacher who is retiring next year. SHe has informed me that she doesn't think I am putting my best effort in this unit.. I was so depressed when she said that, but I know she was just trying to give me some feedback. I really want to do my best. So far I have grown lima beans and discussed the three main parts:cotyledon, embryo, seed coat. The goal is to get the students to understand and know the stages of growth of a bean plant, what the plant needs to survive and the parts of the bean. Thats what is on the test.
I am having a hard time coming up with ideas for lesson that really catch the interest of the first graders. Every time I bring up an idea, the teacher shrugs it off and says no that wouldn't do for first graders... She's really not giving me any ideas at all. So, I am grabbing my hair and trying to figure out what can I do to make this meaningful for the students. I have brought plants into the class. I have discussed parts. The teacher did say that it is all repetative but to make it fun for them... I am hoping someone here can make sense of my frustration and lend me a few ideas. I am graduating in a month and really really want to put my best effort into this practicum experience.
I teach kindergarten, so these ideas may be too simple, but here goes! (Plus, I haven't really thought them through; just a stream of consciousness kind of thing...)
How about letting the students make a plant of their own out of construction paper? You could draw the parts on different colors of paper (then run it through the copier). For example, make the seed coat out of 2 oval-ish tan shapes, the cotyledon out of a green shape, and the embryo out of white. After cutting out the shapes, the students glue the embryo and cotyledon to one of the seed coats, and then glue one edge of the seed coats together. You could also label the areas on the seed coat where the embryo and cotyledon will be glued to assess the students' recognition of the vocabulary.
Have you done the experiments with light and water? That is, start with 4 plants. Give one of them light and water as needed. Deprive one of water, deprive another of light, and deprive the last of both water and light. The students can record the changes every few days over the course of 2 weeks, either by writing or drawing. As a culminating activity, the students can take turns acting out the effects of light and water. One student holds a watering can, another holds a sun, and a third shows how a plant grows ("blooms") with both. Take one away and another student acts out wilting, or whatever they observed in the experiment.
Your students could make a life cycle booklet by putting previously-copied illustrated pages in the right order.
You can probably find other ideas by googling. I'm not suggesting that you copy someone else's unit plan, but I don't think there's anything wrong with using someone else's ideas for activities in your own unit plan. Just keep in mind that first graders need lots of hands-on activities to keep them engaged.
plant parts that we eat
Here's an idea that relates to learning the parts of plants...
A few year's ago I did this lesson with my first grade class and they really liked it. My inspiration was a song I have on a cassette tape called "Earthy Tunes," by Mary Miche (you can find her updated CD version by doing a search for "Earthy Tunes." It's loaded with great songs about dirt, gardens, trees, etc!) The song I used was "Six Plant Parts." It helps children learn the parts - roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds - by associating them with foods we eat.
roots = carrots
stems = celery
leaves = lettuce
flowers = cauliflower
fruits = apples
seeds = sunflower seeds
I brought in a sampling of each food as we learned the parts and the song. Then, we washed and cut up each food for tasting. Finally, we drew pictures with each food to resemble plant people...carrot legs, celery body, cauliflower head, letucce hair, apple arms and sunflower seed eyes/nose/mouth. And we labeled each plant part!
It was a hit with my class.
Keep up the courage! Carpe Diem.
Last edited by ouiseau; 03-20-2008 at 06:20 AM.
Here is a site that might help you -
Lesson and activity ideas for a unit on plants
You have already received some good ideas; however, if you check out this site, you'll get more.
Good luck and have fun.
You might try reading some stories about farming or planting. We just did the Little Red Hen and had a matrix about taking the seeds, planting them, watering them, watching them grow, etc.
There is a book called Hare and the Big Green Lawn, (Catherine Crawford Robey)which I love. The Hare moves in and neglects (his neighbors think), his yard, the book takes you through the process of seeds falling and planting themselves, rain watering the "lawn" and the result is that Hare gets a beautiful meadow instead of a manicured lawn!
Other titles: The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krause; Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert; City Green, DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan;And the Good Brown Earth, by Kathy Henderson.
Download coloring pages for each stage of growth.
There is a workshop that I am going to that is called Project W.I.L.D. and I know it has a book that goes along with it that has over 100 activities, there is also a Project W.E.T. A teacher that I work with (I also teach 1st grade) did a project from these on the water cycle and the kids went crazy over it! She set up different areas that water goes through on the water cycle (lake, river, glacier, ocean, soil, etc.) and had colored beads that corresponded with each, each area also had a die. The students all started in different areas, they would collect a bead from that area, put it on a pipe cleaner, roll the die and go where ever the die told them to, collect a bead from that area and roll the die again. They did this until they made a bracelet. When they came back as a whole group, they turned to a partner and talked about their journey through the water cycle. I know this activity won't help you, but maybe you could see if you could get your hands on these books and look up some of the activities on plants!
I did a plant/seed/garden unit with 1st/2nd grade a few years ago. Although I don't have the plans in front of me, the two things I remember best that both students and I liked were:
Create a seed collection. Students took an egg carton home, and found 12 different types of seeds, to put one in each hole. They also filled in a sheet to label each seed. We brought them to school and did several activities, including sorting by type of seed and plant, and graphing how many of different types we had. We ended with a giant seed poster where I think we ordered the seeds by color, labeling each. It was amazing to see how many different kinds of seeds there are -- everything from acorns to peach pits to apple seeds to mustard seeds!
Dissect fruit in order to classify them according to the 3 scientific types of fruits: berries (many seeds in the flesh: citrus, tomatoes), drupes (one seed: plums, peaches), and pomes (a few seeds in a core: apples, pears). I think I remembered those right but you might want to check them. It was fun to "dissect" the fruit, was an excellent classification activity, and the kids couldn't believe an orange is a berry!
Good luck to you!
growing a bean plant
hi friend! you can dip the beans in coloured water overnight or a day or two. then show it to your students by splitting into two, the bean and showing the cotyledons and an embryo.
next you can take a transparent bottle and place paper cut to the size of abottle and pour in soil in the middle. put beans between the bottle and the paper and see how the actually grow. keep the soil moist.
hope it would help actually showing how they grow the root and the shoot.
Originally Posted by lmbdc2005
You may consider growing the TickleMe Plant (Mimosa pudica) The TickleMe Plant will close its fern like leaves and lower its branches when Tickled. It is a great way for kids to discover that plants can be animal like in many ways. It may even make kids more sensitive to plants when the see the leaves fold up when tickled.