Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
3
Total Time
1 hours 30 minutes
Area of Science
Plant Biology
Key Concepts
Photosynthesis, transpiration, plant growth
Credits
TeachEngineering logo

Overview

Closeup of many green leaves on a small branch of a fern-like plant.
What do plants need? Students examine the effects of light and air on green plants, learning the processes of photosynthesis and transpiration. Student teams plant seeds, placing some in sunlight and others in darkness. They make predictions about the outcomes and record ongoing observations of the condition of the stems, leaves and roots. Then, several healthy plants are placed in glass jars with lids overnight. Condensation forms, illustrating the process of transpiration, or the release of moisture to the atmosphere by plants.

Engineering Connection

Engineers creatively make use of the plant kingdom for many beneficial human applications such as cleaning air and water. Phytoremediation is the engineered use of green plants to remove or render harmless soil or water contaminants including heavy metals, trace elements, organic compounds and radioactive compounds. For example, one company designed a series of engineered ecosystems at a highway rest area using plants, insects, snails and worms to clean the wastewater and recycle it back into the restrooms to flush toilets. Others have planted trees and vegetation as a low-tech and low-cost cleanup technology for contaminated soils, groundwater and wastewater.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model.
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms. Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.
Energy and Matter. Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems.

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Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
3
Total Time
1 hours 30 minutes
Area of Science
Plant Biology
Key Concepts
Photosynthesis, transpiration, plant growth
Credits
TeachEngineering logo
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