Materials List: chart or white board, flowering plants, paper plates, Internet access, additional resource books and materials on plants, science learning logs, Science Learning Log Rubric BLM.
Engage the students in a discussion of the variety of foods that animals such as birds, squirrels, horses, or humans eat. Generate with the students a list of foods on a white board or chart. Next have students search for common features of the foods listed. Students will notice that most of the foods are plants. Discuss the specific needs plants have in order to grow (sunlight, water).
Investigation Task: The teacher will provide each student group with a different flowering (seed) plant (e.g., marigolds, daises, impatiens, pansies) with the root system on a large paper plate. Have students compare the similarities and differences between the plants, such as large or small leaves, colors, and size of flowers. After a sufficient period of time allowing for students to explore the make-up of the plant, the teacher will facilitate a discussion about each part of the plant and its purpose. The students will draw pictures of the plants and label the parts appropriately (i.e., roots, leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds, (if evident) in their science learning logs (view literacy strategy descriptions). Discussion questions could include the following:
· What is the function of the roots?
· Why does a plant need leaves?
· Why are seeds important?
· What is the function of the flowers?
· What is the function of the stem?
The teacher will provide an opportunity for the students to exchange ideas, make predictions, and ask questions about how plants create their own food. Facilitate a discussion of the predictions and probe for insight into their explanations. Have students visit www.sciencemadesimple.com/leaves.html or share a library or other resource book to confirm or contradict their predictions. Assist students in understanding that plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into glucose. This glucose is a kind of sugar that the plant uses for energy. This process is called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is chemical that helps make photosynthesis happen and give plants their green color. Discussion questions could include the following:
- Why is the Sun important to plants?
- What would happen if a plant had no leaves? Sunlight? Water?
- Why are plants important to us?
Upon completing the unit, science learning logs will be assessed using the Science Learning Log Rubric BLM.