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Plant & Animal Secrets Unit
How do plants and trees grow?
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Can`you`think`of`a
way`to`figure`out
if`the`sunlight
helped`the`small
tree`grow?

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Stop

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You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading, and extension activity in the extensions.

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.

  • End of Mystery Assessment : Open-ended drawing/writing prompt
  • Readings: These books will get your students thinking about what plants need to live and grow.
  • Video: Get students observing and predicting with a time-lapse video of a growing seed!
  • Activities: Three options for an extended plant investigation
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Readings

These online books are free for educators registered on Epic!:

Plants Are Alive by Molly Aloian explores how the parts of a plant, such as roots, stems, and flowers, help a plant survive.

Max Plants a Seed by Kerry Dinmont is a picture book that shows what happens when Max plants a sunflower seed.

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Video and Discussion

This timelapse video of a seed germinating would make a great opportunity for discussion:

  • Before watching: Tell students they’re going to watch a sped-up video of a plant beginning to grow.
  • While watching: Pause the video several times to have students describe what they’re seeing and make predictions about what will happen next.
  • After watching: Ask students what they think would have happened if the plant didn’t get water or sunlight. How would the video have been different?

For more on how to lead great science discussions, see this list of talk moves from The Inquiry Project.

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Activities

Note: These activities last three weeks or longer but are a great opportunity to extend this Mystery further.

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Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Plant Needs: Water & Light
80 reviews
Print Prep
Activity Prep

THIS LESSON WAS REVISED ON JULY 24, 2020. If you've prepped prior to that date, here is the link to the previous version.
In this Mystery, students investigate what plants need to grow. In the two-part activity, Sprout a Seed, students plant radish seeds in paper cups. When the seeds sprout, students notice that the leaves of the young plants lean toward the light. A classroom root viewer made from a Ziploc bag and paper towels lets students observe root growth.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Baking Soda
2 teaspoons
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
38 cups
Paper Plates
8 plates
Paper Towels
4 sheets
Plastic Spoons
16 spoons
Spray Bottles
2 bottles
Sticker Labels (1" x 3")
30 labels
Ziploc Bags (Snack Size)
A sandwich size bag will also work.
Details
1 bag
Peat Pellets
You need to soak peat pellets in water so that they are moist enough. Potting soil will also work. You will need about a quart of potting soil for a class of 24 students.
Details
30 pellets
Radish Seeds
Each student needs 3 radish seeds.
Details
1 3-gram packet
Prep Instructions

This is a two-part activity. We recommend that you allow at least four days (up to one week) in between Part One and Part Two of the experiment to give the radish seeds time to germinate. (To speed germination, soak the seeds in water overnight.)

You will need access to water and a sunny windowsill where the radish seeds can grow.

We recommend students work in pairs for this activity and share some supplies with another pair. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Prep Radish Seeds

For each group of four students, put a pinch of radish seeds (at least 15 seeds) in a Dixie cup.

Prep Dixie Cups

For each student, fill a Dixie cup halfway with moist potting soil. Or if you are using peat pellets, place one pellet in each cup, fill the cup with water, and let the pellet soak up the water for at least 30 minutes.

Prep Spray Bottles

In each spray bottle, mix about 1 cup of water with about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Adding baking soda will inhibit mold growth in the soil, but won’t affect the plants.

Prep Root Viewer

To give your students a way to see what their radish seeds are doing underground, you can make a root viewer. Here’s how:

*Fold paper towels and put them in a Ziploc bag. *Add water until the towels are saturated. *Place three seeds on top of the wet paper towel. *Squeeze the air out of the bag and zip it closed. *Tape the bag to a wall or window and encourage your students to check each day for roots growing from the seeds.

root viewer

Plan Your Time

After students complete Part One of this activity, they will need to wait at least four days for the seeds to sprout. Each day, encourage your students to watch the seeds in the root viewer as a way to see what is happening to their seeds under the soil in the cup.

When most of the leaves have come up, show Part Two of the activity. If you like, you can have your students draw the plants as they grow and change.

Overview
Grade K
Topic Plant & Animal Needs
Focus Plant Needs: Water & Light
80 reviews
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