Elementary Science Program


plant startGrowing Things

  • Observe and describe the growth and development of plants from seeds

  • Describe the function of certain plant and seed parts

  • Explore factors that influence plant growth

  • Explore the diversity and similarities of plants

  • Books for Kids
  • Teacher Resources
  • Web Sites
  • Tips and Hints

Books for Kids

The Plant Book By Pamela Hickman. 32pp.  Kids Can Press, 2000, ISBN 1-55074-483-6. Grades K-8. This volume focuses on plant functions, including seed growth. Activities with plants are incorporated throughout the book. Although the content is geared toward elementary students, help from an adult or older student will be needed. Colorful illustrations. (Review: Science and Children, September, 2001, p. 48)

Seeds, Stems, and Stamens The Ways Plants Fit into Their World by Susan E. Goodman. Millbrook Press, 2001, 48pp. Library: ISBN 0-7613-1874-7. Clear photographs and articulate narration graphically describe plant adaptations. Nineteen inquiry pages introduce specific plant structures that enable plants to protect themselves and "fit in" to dry, wet, cold, light, dark, or nutrient-deficient habitats. (Science and Children, Mar 2002, 36)

Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown. Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children's Books. 22pp Trade ISBN 0-3758067-97-0. Plant life cycles and predator-prey relationships are depicted in this clever counting book. Ten sunflower seeds are planted, and all but one are destroyed. However, the one seed grows and flowers, completing the cycle. This is an excellent depiction of interaction in nature and he need for multiple seeds to be planted. (Science and Children, Mar 2002, 37)

Nature Close-Up: Seeds and Seedlings by Elaine Pascoe. Blackbird Press, 1999, 48 pp. ISBN 1-56711-178-5. Take a close-up look at the structure, function and life of a seed in this book. The text and photographs bring the seed to life, allowing the reader to visualize the incredible processes that take place in a seed as it grows. The text is challenging for younger readers, but it is supported with wonderful photographs, each captioned to illustrate the concepts. (Science and Children, Mar 2003, 52)

What Is a Life Cycle? by Bobbie Kalman and Jacqueline Langille. Crabtree/A Bobbie Kalman Book, 1998. ISBN 0-86505-874-1.  The life cycle is thoroughly covered here, for both plants and animals. Please note that reproduction is covered. There are pictures of sheep giving birth, but it is scientifically presented. (STC Literature Links)

Book of Science Questions that Children Ask Jack Meyers. Boyds Mills Pr, 1995, ISBN 1563974789. An 11-year old reader from Broomall, Pa, writes "This book help me do my homework all the time. Trust me and buy this book." (amazon.com) Selected from back issues of Highlights for Children magazine, this collection of answers to over 350 children's questions about science covers a wide range of science topics. (ENC Focus, vol 8, No 3, 2001, p 92)

Teacher Resources

Plant Growth and Development Curriculum Companion contains detailed resources tailored to modules dealing with plants. Take a look at the growing list of resources for this module. Background info, enrichment, interdisciplinary ideas, images, assessment, tips and comments, and kids web pages are all included in this useful site

Growing Things


Web Sites

KinderGarden  This site is simply laid out, informative, and easy to navigate with a multitude of activities and links. There are tips for parents and teachers, even for those who don't know their hardy perennial from their elbow. KinderGarden gives you the know-how to make a butterfly garden or a scarecrow and if you want to get really popular in the kitchen, it'll tell you how to make a batch of compost or, better still, a worm bin. Very much a hands-on site.

Plant Parts Salad Complete an on-line exercise to decide which salad ingredients are leaves, stems, roots, and fruit. Then print a page that describes these plant parts. Finally, find a recipe for making a plant part salad.

The Great Plant Escape "My name is Bud. My good friend Sprout and I are helping Detective LePlant on his search. You will find that plants are an important part of your life. We will need your help to find clues, do experiments, and solve problems as we journey into the world of plants. He promises lots of fun, but remember, we're here to solve a mystery!" Lots of information about plants, their structure and growth is presented in a kid-friendly way as the mysteries are solved.

Plants In Motion enables you to watch corn and sunflower seeds germinate via short time-lapse videos. Although the video pictures are small, they are very clear, so the children will be amazed to see the process take place before their own eyes. There is also some text information for the teacher. You will be surprised to see how much the plants move as they grow. Other videos of plant growth are also available.

Gardening at Home with Kids

Guide to Gardening at Home

Tips and Hints

  • Timing is crucial in this module! Be sure to look at the time required for the plants to germinate and/or grow.
  • Consider rearranging the teaching sequence for this module
    • Activities 1 and 2 stand alone and are a good introduction to the topic.
    • Activities 4, 5, 6, and 7 all involve the germination trays. They need to be done together, and within a relatively short period of time.
    • Activities 3, 8, 9, 10, and 13 involve the growth of bean plants. Note that there is a 10-day gap between planting the bean seeds (Activity 3) and the time the bean plants appear (Activity 8).
    • Activity 11 is the observation of root development.
    • Activities 12, 14, and 15 are involve the study of factors that might affect the growth of plants. This calls for the students to design and carry out their own experiment. Plants are treated with the appropriate variable in Activity 12. Three to five days later the plants are observed, and a final observation is made 3-5 days after that. Note that this activity calls for seedlings that are 10-15 days old. This means that you will need to plant the bean seeds 10-15 days before you plan to begin Activity 12.