Grow Something Green- A Primary Science Unit About Plants

6:10 AM

I love spring. It's a hard decision which I love more, spring or fall. Though the warm temperatures of spring are for sure more welcome at the end of a long winter.

One of my favorite units to do in the spring is all about plants. There are so many amazing hands on experiments for the primary classroom, and kids see what they are learning everywhere they go.

I've always just pieced together different activities for this science unit in the past, so I thought it was high time I get organized and really focus in on what I wanted my kinder kids to take away at the end of this unit. From there came my science unit on plants.

This unit has so much amazing stuff packed in. I wrote it to be done in a week, but I almost always stretch this into a two week unit. We just have so many thoughts and questions and FUN.

We start out our plant study with a visit to a local nursery. The one we go to has HUGE indoor green houses that seriously impressed my kids. They just loved seeing rows upon rows of the plants, and many commented how they couldn't believe how warm it was inside the greenhouse.

After asking the poor gardener LOTS of questions, we each got to plant our own flower. It's amazing to me which kids are reluctant to get their hands dirty and which dive right in. We were all VERY proud when we were finished.

Next we explored the rest of the nursery. We looked at herbs, flowers, and even some very young cherry trees. Our guide pulled one out of the soil and we got a really good look at the root system. Our school parking lot is filled with the pink cherry blossom trees and all of our kids drive past them every day. At the time we took this field trip they were in full bloom.

We also got a close look at their hot houses and other special growing environments. This led to great discussions about how different plants need different environments.

After returning to school we jumped right in to our study on plants. We first collected our schema on our anchor chart. My kids knew lots and lots about plants already and were very proud to tell me lots of information they learned on our field trip.

This anchor chart is NOT from my unit. I recreated a fabulous one I saw on pinterest on my computer and then traced it onto chart paper. I didn't want to take someone else's idea for my unit, but there is one that accomplishes the same thing there.

We wrote our ideas onto post it notes and stuck them to the chart on the petals of the flower. Later we will move some of those ideas to the "misconceptions" area, and then add new post-its for our new learning.

We also discussed vocabulary words. I love these vocabulary cards that have real pictures. It's one of my favorite parts of this packet.

On Day Two, we discussed the parts of a flower. I made an extra copy of the worksheet and put it under my document camera. As we discussed each part and it's job, I chose a student to put the label in the right place. I also posted the vocabulary card that had a real picture on the board to help them really picture what we were discussing.

After that, each student made their own copy of the page we completed on the document camera together. I loved seeing their personalities in how they chose to color their flower.

On Day Three, we talked about how the foods we eat are actually the different parts of plants. I gave each student a picture of a common vegetable and we discussed which section it needed to go it. 

This led to the first of our experiments. We reviewed what the jobs of each part of the plant are and then decided we needed to see this in action. 
This is a classic and super simple experiment. I describe tips for making it sure it works just like you want it to in my unit. 

On Day 4, we discuss the needs of plants. Usually at this point my students all know what a plant needs but I like to touch on it and do some review since every once in awhile on of my little friends gets a little confused!

This is also the day where I like to do the second of our three experiments for the week. My students can tell me that plants need light and water, but seeing the effects of a plant not getting those makes an impression. I didn't take pictures on this day but this experiment is pretty simple too. You just need four small plants. Two sit in your window and get water and light. One goes in a closet depriving it of light, but getting all the water it needs. The last sits in the sun but gets no water. Usually the kids can see the effects very quickly and you can nurse these "experimental" plants back to health, which is always nice!

On Day 5 we discuss the plant life cycle. By this point of the year we have studied the pumpkin and butterfly life cycle so my students are all pretty familiar as well. But the real fun comes when we plant our seeds!

This year I chose radish seeds. I've heard they grow fast, and are hardy, which is good since they will be sitting up at school over spring break!

So there it is! My Plants unit. We really enjoyed it this week and I hope that you will too!

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