Spread the seed of learning through multiple content areas, using more than just science to teach stages of the plant life-cycle lessons. Although science is the primary subject matter area for learning about the biology of plant life, you can extend the life-cycle activities through art, movement and dramatic play as well.
If you have access to an outdoor garden, and the time to commit to a full-on growing exploration, you can teach students pre-k through pre-teen -- and over -- about the plant life cycle. Start with a seed, allowing the children to get hands-on exploring it. Have the students note the size and shape of the seed by drawing a picture in a notebook or writing a paragraph in a science journal. Plant the seeds, noting the date. Have the children care for their soon-to-be plants, watering them daily. As the plants begin to grow, have the children take notes, make drawings or measure them regularly. When the plants reach their full maturity, ask the children to make comparisons about the different stages of growth.
While drawing out the plant life cycle may seem like an obvious choice, you can also teach this bio basic lesson with more creative art activities. Instead of making a two-dimensional drawing, have each child construct a three-dimensional model out of clay. Use a large-sized piece of cardboard as a base, and create a circle of different sculptures that feature the plant from seed to full maturity. Label each stage, on the cardboard, using a marker. Another option is to make a life cycle collage. Have the children look through kid-friendly magazines, picking out pictures of plants in different stages of growth. The children can cut out and glue the pictures to a piece of poster board to illustrate the full range of the growth cycle.
Introduce a creative movement activity to your science lesson, having young students turn themselves into budding plants. Discuss flowering plants, looking at photos and discussing the different parts -- such as petal, pistil, leaf and stamen. Ask the children how they think that the flowers started out, looking for an answer such as, "From a seed." Invite the students to turn themselves into seeds, curling up into small balls. As you pretend to water them -- using fake air water, and never real water -- they can grow into seedlings and then blossom into flowers.
Add in a literacy activity to your science lesson, starting out with a book that features a plant growing or life cycle theme. The educational experts at PBS suggest a simple story such as "Jack and the Beanstalk" for younger children. A book such as this is particularly helpful when it accompanies an actual growing experiment; as the children can read about what they will see. You can also have the students use literacy to explore the plant growth cycle by writing a sequential story. Younger children can pre-write the story using pictures for each step of the stage, while older students can create a life-cycle outline or a research report.
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