Using the scientific method, students get to see first hand what happens when a plant does not receive everything it needs to grow.
Motivation: Ask students, “what do kids need to grow?” (water, food, sleep, shelter…) After some brainstorming, tell students, plants need things to grow too.
1)Start brainstorming with students what plants need to grow. (Air, water, sun, and soil). Discuss WHY each is important.
2)Teach kids the words and hand movements to the song “The Farmer Plants the Seeds”
and as a class sing the song, which reinforces what a plant needs to grow.
3)Next, split the class into groups of about four students. Each group will be planting 4 seeds (dried beans from the supermarket are easy, cheap, and grow fast). One seed will receive everything it needs to grow, one will not receive sunlight, one will not receive water, and one will not receive soil (I’ve never tried it before, but you could also try having one seed submerged in water so that it doesn’t receive air). Each group must first make predictions about the seeds in their Plant Journals.
4)Over the course of the next couple weeks, the groups will be checking their plants and measuring the growth, recording their observations in their Plant Journals.
After two weeks, groups will look at measurements of plant growth and determine how the growing environments affected plant growth. Groups will make presentations to the class about their conclusions from this experiment.
6)After planting seeds on that first day, class will reconvene to summarize what plants need to grow. Teacher will ask students “if a seed landed in a dry desert, will it grow?” (probably not, since it won’t get water); inside a dark cave—seed receives no sun; in a lake—no air; on concrete or asphalt (like the middle of the street)–no soil.