Marie Curie Math & Science Center

Kristen Rohe. Group number 3B.

The following unit is a third grade science unit on plants. The unit begins by discussing and identifying parts of a seed. It then goes on to explain how a plant forms from a seed. The students will learn the difference between monocot and dicot seeds, the various parts and functions of a plant and the process of photosynthesis. Throughout the unit, hands-on activities are used with discussions to give the children the understanding of the growth process of a plant.

Commencement content standard
Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and I recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Benchmark standards
Content standards

Individual organisms and species change over time.

Performance standards

Describe how the structures of plants and animals complement the environment of the plant or animal.

Content Standards

  • The students will identify the parts of a seed.
  • The students will identify the parts of a plant.
  • The students will define monocot, dicot, germination and photosynthesis.
  • The students will observe plant growth.
  • The students will recall what is necessary for plant growth.
  • The students will construct a plant to survive in space.


A rubric will be used to show achievement in the student's final project.
The format for the rubric is as follows:

4: Student correctly labels all three parts of the plant.
Student shows knowledge of the function of the three labeled parts. Continuity in the explanation of the choice of plant; including properties and conditions.

3: Student correctly labels two parts of the plant.
Student shows knowledge of the function of two labeled parts. Continuity in the explanation of the choice of plant; including properties or conditions.

2: Student correctly labels one part of the plant.
Student shows knowledge of the function of one labeled part.

No continuity in the explanation of the choice of the plant

1: Student does not label the parts of the plant.
Student shows no knowledge of the function of the parts of the plant. Student could not explain the reasons for their choice of plant.

Enabling Activities:

Day #1: Introduction to Plants

Take your class outside with journals to observe the environment. Have the students write and draw pictures of different plants they see. Return into the classroom to discuss the children's observations. Make a whole class chart grouping the different types of plants and talk about their similarities and differences.

 *Teacher preparation for second day: soak pumpkin, corn and lima bean seeds overnight.

Day #2: Parts of a Seed

Use the proxima with computer software that illustrates the parts of a seed to show to your class. Point out the parts and discuss with your class the difference between monocot and dicot seeds. Cut open the seeds that you have soaked the night before, and place one of each type of seed on a paper plate. You can have one plate for each child or a group of children. Give the students hand tenses to examine the internal structure of the seeds. Have the students in their journals, draw and write about what they see in each of the seeds. Discuss the children's observations.

*Teacher preparation for third day: soak enough corn seeds for each child overnight.

 Day #3: Where Seeds Come From

Have students predict where seeds come from. Have whole class discussion. Introduce "germination" to the children. Teacher reads to class, Roots are Food Finders. Each student then sets up their seed project: The students are given a corn seed that has been soaked overnight. Students place the seed on a wet paper towel, which is placed on a tray. Have the children spritz their seed with water. Cover the tray completely with a plastic bag. Students then write in their journal about the experiment they have set up and draw a picture of their seed before it begins to germinate. Allow the children to share their journals.

*The seeds need to be spritzed daily by the children. Children also need to observe every 1-2 days to see if roots or stems have grown. Observations should be written in the child's journal with a picture.

 Days 4 & 5: Parts of a Plant

Use the proxima with computer software that illustrates the parts of a plant to show to your class. Point out and discuss the function of each of the parts. Compare the parts of the plant to human functions. Students draw the plant parts and functions in their journal. A celery experiment is going to be used to show how water travels through the plant. Take dried out celery and cut off the bottom. Place the celery stick in cold water with a red or blue food coloring. Place another celery stick in water without food coloring. The students predict what will happen. over time (30 mins.), observe the water rise. While this is taking place the teacher can read Tops and Bottoms to the class. Discuss class observations.

Day #6: Photosynthesis

Have students predict how they think plants make food. Define c4c photosynthesis" and explain its process. Use computer software with proxima to show this process on overhead if possible. Children in groups set up experiment. Using a geranium plant, cover one leaf with petroleum jelly, to show the need of carbon dioxide. Cover another leaf with black paper and leave the rest of the leaves alone. Have students predict in writing what will happen with their reasons why. Students share. In 3-5 days, make a class chart to record the results after discussion.

Day #7: What Plants Need to Survive

Give the students two scenarios (i.e.: one plant is being taken care of and one is not). The students make predictions on which one will live longer and why (based on previous knowledge of the two plants). whole class lesson on what plants need to live, (water, sunlight, etc.). Set up radish seeds in paper cups (2 in each cup). Fill cup with potting soil. Pour two spoonfuls of water over the seeds. The children put their name on each cup. write the word LIGHT on one and NO LIGHT on the other. Place the cup with LIGHT in sunlight and the other in a darker area. Give a little water to the cups each day. When one measures 6-8 cm. tall, put both on the children's desks and have them draw in their journal a picture of each plant. Discuss the differences between the two plants, why they are different and the things plants need to survive.


Days 8 & 9: Projects
The following ideas can be used for these two days. It is up to the teacher to decide how you would like to use one or more of these activities in your classroom.

*Students in pairs use a shoebox with cardboard to construct a maze. Hold the shoebox vertically and cut a hole in the top right corner of the box. Place a plant seed on the bottom and place the box in sunlight. Over days, the plant will grow toward the sunlight, following the maze, and coming through the hole.

*Using Goldenbooks (computer software), pull up 'plants' under Seek and Find. The teacher can have students pull down certain questions that the children will read the answers to. The students can write the questions and answers in their own way in their journal.

*Using PowerPoint (computer software), have the students make a presentation on either the care of a plant, the parts of a plant or another idea from the information they have learned about during the unit.

 Day #10: End of Unit Activity

Identify the types of plants needed on a space station. List ideas about what traits are needed for a plant to survive on a space station. Discuss: How much space does a plant need? Must the plant make its own food? What would it need to make its own food? What plants do you need and enjoy and can truly be used on a space station? The students will each create their own "space plant" They need to draw the plant with the labeled parts and write a descriptive explanation of their choice of plant, including the properties and conditions the plant needs. This activity will be evaluated with the rubric outline (see p.2).


St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050