Many of you said last month’s Insect Unit was oodles of fun, so today I’m sharing the Plant Thematic Unit we’ve been exploring . It was perfect for homeschool since we are spending lots of time in the garden anyway, but its also the fun kind of unit I would have used as a kindergarten teacher to get us through the end of the school year or for summer school!
After reading about what plants need, this experiment was to observe what happens when you take something away. I bought a four-pack of flowers, cut them apart and Brett labeled them. Plant 1 was our control, Plant 2 we took away sunlight by placing it in a shoebox, Plant 3 we took away carbon dioxide (we called it “air”) by zipping it in a plastic bag, Plant 4 we took away water. Then we used these pages Plant Need Experiment Plants Need Experiment 2 to record. It worked pretty well, but the only thing that died in the ziplock bag was the flower part, so make sure your plant has one 😉
Of course we used play dough to learn plant parts! In addition to leaves, Brett also added a stigma and stamen after I took this picture, which could enrich this idea for older children, depending on how complex they made their models.
Understanding plant parts led us to a project learning about the parts of the plant we eat. I divided a paper plate into six sections. Next we cut out the center circle from Plant Parts We Eat and attached it with a brad. Then we cut pictures from garden magazines. (For free catalogs try Gurney’s, Jung’s, Burpee, or Johnny’s. They do take a few weeks to arrive. You could also print the picture of food from the Who Grew My Soup post.) The kiddos matched up the food to the plant part and glued. This became a center activity because the brad allowed the circle to spin and become a puzzle over and over!
We found this root viewer at Wal-Mart, but after opening it I think you could make one of your own by filling a quart jar with potting soil, placing seeds 1/4 of an inch from the edge of the jar, and covering outside of the jar with black construction paper and a rubber band (they need dark to grow). Simple and cheaper!
Since lap books are our new favorite thing I created a foldable book to review plant parts and what plants need. Print this Plants Have Plants Need chart and glue it onto construction paper if you like. These Plants Have Plants Need labels can be cut out and glued into place on the flaps.
Also for the lap book (or center) we made a flower petal math game. I used an advertisement refrigerator magnets to make the circle for the center and covered it with contact paper. Then I cut flower petals from cardstock and added snips of magnets. Anna made patterns or used a wipe-off marker to write the number of petals I put on her flower. Brett got two colors of petals and had to write addition problems with the marker.
To observe how seeds begin to grow we traced bean seeds and then allowed them to soak in water for a few hours. When we came back we could clearly see how the seeds had swelled and the outer paper-y layer was peeling back!
And since I was unexpectedly promoted to Sunday School teacher during this unit, here’s a bonus activity I did for church. My poor kids had way too much “plant” that week, but it was last minute!
We compared faith to a seed, planted in our hearts. Just like seeds need sunlight, air, and water our faith needs things to grow. We brainstormed ideas and they drew three they like on the rain drops; things like praying, obeying parents, going to church, reading Scriptures. Or you could just make the mobile with no pics at all :-).
And last but not least, no unit is complete without snacks!
This is “dirt” pudding; chocolate pudding mixed with crushed Oreos and layered with a few gummy worms. Sooooooo educational!
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Will you contact me about the possibility of using your paper plate plant parts idea in our garden curriculum. It will work perfectly but I just want to get permission before I share it.