First Grade Unit Plan
Brent Elementary School
All About Plants!
The unit plan was composed of a three week exploration of plants and their properties in conjunction with the "New Plants" AMSTI Science Unit. We studied a myraid of topics surrounding plants partially taken from the AMSTI kit and partially planned on my own. These topics included: the life cycle, what they need to grow, what they are used for, the properties of a seed, the parts of a seed and their functions, parts of a plant and their functions, how to grow plants, where plants grow, how plants grow from parts other than seeds, and what types of plants we eat and how they grow. Students completed a variety of activities, songs, and plantings during our unit.
This photo above depicts our "Plants Word Wall." Students were asked to use this wall when writing about plants. The chart on the bottom left corner is the first section of our KWL. This part was what my children, collectively, knew about plants. As we learned more about plants, I added new terms to our wall. Students were very successful in writing endeavors when using this chart.
Week 1 - What We Know, Planting, The Needs of a Plant, & Parts of a Flower
The first week of my unit plan was an exciting and busy experience. On the first day, we completed the first two sections of a KWL chart to see what my kids knew about plants already. My first graders know a lot, and I knew my plans would fit perfectly into their Zones of Proximal Development. We created books to begin thinking about how to grow a plant. On the second day, we planted our first plant, "Brassica," and created observation journals to record the changes in our plants. We also learned about the needs of a plant through a cut and glue project followed up with a song. Day three consisted of learning all about seeds. We did a seed sort and labeled our plants. Students were eager to ask for extra seeds to plant at home. I informed students that they may not grow, but we planted one anyway. Day four brought a second planting experience with our "Little Lawns" complete with both Rye Grass and Alfalfa seeds. On day five, we completed our first observation when our Brassica began to peek out of the soil. We also learned the parts of a flower and their functions through the creation of a foldable. Children were able to label and illustrate the parts of a flower, and each child added a label for part functions based on their knowledge of the plant parts.
Week 2 - The Uses of Plants, Growing Plants from Different Parts, Leaf Hunting and Printing, & How Seeds Travel
On Monday, we discussed the uses of plants. Children identified uses, and other children were able to add comments by telling which plants could be associated with that use. Regarding food, children also planted wheat plants. Most of them had no idea that bread came from wheat, so we held a read aloud and a paired reading to fully explore the topic. On Tuesday, students discussed growing plants from different parts. Ivy cuttings were "rooted." On Wednesday, students participated in a leaf hunt and leaf printing activity. They were amazed by the small things they never noticed about leaves such as veins and the variety of different shapes. On Thursday, we read about the different ways seeds can travel. Because plants don't walk, students were curious to know how they were planted in different places other than by humans. On Friday, we returned to Tuesday's topic, and we explored the world of potatos. Students viewed images and observed nodes and eyes of a growing potato plant from an old potato. Having never thought about growing plants from other sources than seeds, students were once again excited to go home and try it out. All week, we observed plant growth. Brassica and our "Little Lawns" grew exceptionally well. Our bean plant, however, grew the BEST of all. Imagine that!
Week 3 - Bulbs, Where Plants Grow, Carrots & Radishes, My Favorite Food from the Garden, Tops/Bottoms/Trees, and Writing about "The Tiny Seed"
On Monday, our class compared bulbs with seeds. Students were clueless about bulbs, so this was an exciting lesson that peaked student interest. We planted flower bulbs to be ready for Mother's Day. These plants will be taken home for each child to share their experience with mom on her special day. On Tuesday, we classified where plants grow. We explored many varied settings. On Wednesday, we returned to discussing how plants can grow from other plants. We used radishes and carrots to explore. We found that new plants can grow from all parts of the radish. We observed our experiments closely and identified roots in each container. On Thursday, we classfied Tops & Bottoms & Trees using the award winning book "Tops & Bottoms." Students also wrote about their favorite food from the garden. On Friday, we finished with an art project, and a book called "The Tiny Seed." After reading, students wrote about what life would be like if they were, in fact, a seed. My students observed plants all week and asked wonderful questions to challenge our thinking. Our bean plant, once again, overshadowed the other plants, and its roots, according to my kids, are about to burst out of the cup!