Plants provide us with so much — oxygen to breath, food to eat, materials to make clothing and paper, and beautiful flowers and leaves to admire! How can plants be so diverse and survive in so many kinds of climates? How do they know how to grow towards the sun? Why do some plants not have seeds? Explore the amazing and beautiful world of plants.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
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How do plants know which way is up or down? How does this affect which direction their roots will grow? In this lesson plan, your students will investigate how changes in a plant's environment, like the direction of gravity, affect the shape of its growing roots over a period of several days. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-5. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-2nd
Nature is full of objects with many different shapes. Some of these shapes display obvious regularities or distinct patterns, such as stripes, waves, symmetry, or spirals. Each of these natural patterns has evolved over a very long time and serves a specific function that usually helps a plant, animal, or other organism to survive. In this lesson plan, students explore the branching pattern of trees, plants, and leaves. They will make drawings and a leaf rubbing to compare different branching… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten
In this lesson, students will role-play a consultation between a plant scientist and a plant owner. The goal is for the plant scientist to identify what is wrong with the plant based on the information given by the plant owner. As they evaluate what the unhealthy plant has or doesn't have, students will realize that plants need four things (air, water, light, and soil) to live and grow. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
In this activity, students learn about plant reproduction and use real data to construct explanations about which flowers are the most attractive to different pollinators. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-LS1-1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-11th
Can we use a model to predict the impacts of nutrient pollutants on an aquatic ecosystem? In this activity, students participate in a kinesthetic simulation to illustrate how nutrient pollution from agricultural runoff can lead to a dead zone at the mouth of a drainage basin. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
In this small group activity, students will build a plant seed (burr) from a Styrofoam® ball and other crafts materials. The seed needs to be designed in a way that it can be dispersed by attaching to a mockup animal (wool glove). Students will first test if their seed attaches to the wool glove and then carry their attached seed along an obstacle course inside the classroom. As students design their plant seed and mimic its dispersal via an animal, they will realize how some plants grow… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
Pollination and seed dispersal are both crucial processes in a plant's reproduction cycle. These processes are helped along by many factors, including different animals. For instance, some animals disperse the plant seeds, while others transfer pollen from one flower to another. In this lesson plan, students will investigate the interdependence between plants and animals for pollination and seed dispersal by creating interdependence webs out of yarn. Based on their created interdependence webs,… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-LS2-2. Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.
Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
Your students might know that plants need water to survive. But how does a plant "drink" and get water from the soil all the way up to its' leaves? In this lesson plan, students will observe how plants (flowers and celery) suck up dye-stained water, which makes the petals and leaves change color! This allows students to visualize the process of how water moves through a plant. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-LS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
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Free science fair projects.