Preschool – Lower Elementary Plant Unit

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free plant unit study resourcesHere is the Plant Unit I loosely designed for my K5/1st grader and K4 child. We worked on this for 4 months. I started out using Apologia’s Young Explorers Biology text as a foundation. I read little snip-its from it and then supplemented with books from the library. You’ll find a list of every book we read listed below. The objectives are from The Core Knowledge Series for Kindergarten.

Working together as a team to harvest potatoes

OBJECTIVES: The student will be able to:

• Understand that there are many different kinds and sizes of plants
• Understand that different kinds of plants grow in different environments
• Understand that plants are living things
• Describe what plants need to live and grow: food, water, air, and sunlight
• Identify the root, stem, branch, leaf, flower, fruit, and seed of a plant
• Explain that roots anchor the plant and take in water and nutrients
• Explain that stems support the plant and carry water and nutrients to the various parts of the plant
• Explain that the plant makes its food in the leaves
• Explain that seeds are the beginning of new plants
• Describe how bees collect nectar and pollen
• Understand how bees make and use honey
• Describe the important role bees play in plant pollination
• Understand that some plants produce fruit to hold seeds
• Demonstrate familiarity with the tall tale “Johnny Appleseed”
• Compare and contrast fruits and seeds of different plants
• Understand the basic life cycle of plants
• Identify the part of specific plants that are eaten by people
• Compare and contrast deciduous and evergreen plants
• Identify things that plants provide us: oxygen, food, and important products
• Understand the life and scientific achievements of George Washington Carver

Activities with Plants:

1) Plant a garden – This is THE easiest way to teach plants, especially plant cycle objectives. Even if you only have room for a few pots. We are blessed to have space to create a nice size vegetable garden and the kids help with every aspect of it. Conversation and instruction comes naturally as the entire family works on the garden together. This also teaches team work and that hard work produces results. We also teach the children that God is the one who gives us the harvest and we always pray over the first fruits we pick.

Can you tell which flower was in which color?

2) Carnations or celery coloring – We used white carnations and three colors of food coloring. After about a week of observing and discussing what was happening to the white flowers, we took them out of the water and dissected the flowers identifying the parts and discovering the colors in the petals.

3) Plants need Light – Take two plants of the same type and size and put one in the sun and one in the dark and discuss the results after 3-5 days.

Sorting the leaves we collected.

4) Leaf Hunt – Take a walk through the woods and find different leaves. Sort them by types and try to identify them.

Daffodil Picture: The poem is as follows – A little yellow cup, A little yellow frill, A little yellow star, And that’s a daffodil!

“Mr. Apple” the apple tree

5) Daffodil Picture with Poem – I made one of these when I was in preschool and my mom kept it on the refrigerator until I was married, I think. I had cut patterns for the stars and leaves. The kids traced, cut, and glued. I wrote out the poem. Now, whenever we see a daffodil, we always say the poem.

6) Tree painting – After learning about changing seasons, I had RB choose one season and then paint what a tree would look like in that season.

7) Fruit and Veggie painting – Choose 6-8 different fruits and veggies that have seeds and “hard” meat inside (ex. apple, cucumber, squash, carrot, pear, potato). Cut the fruit and veggies in half. Put kid friendly paint in shallow containers and allow the kid to stamp with the veggies. Point out the different shapes and patterns that can be made.

8) Nursery Visit – Go to a local nursery, or Lowe’s. Walk around looking at the different plants. Have your child observe differences in shape, size, color, pattern, and texture.

9) Plants from Roots – Cut off the top of a carrot or a piece of potato (or use the whole thing). Put it in water and watch the plant grow from the root.

Plant Notebooking and Lapbooks:

There are different websites you can go to (see below) to find materials and ideas. Because of RB’s age, I chose to not do an all out notebook, but we do keep a Science Journal.

Plant Websites: (for lapbooks, printables, etc.) (You have to have a subscription to print out most of these.) (has many fun activities listed) (VERY good printables for lapbooks) (scroll down for a Plants of the Bible lapbook)

Plant Book List:

Parts of a plant and his observation of his carnation that changed colors.

How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
Plants with Seeds by Elaine Pascoe
How Do Apples Grow? by Batsy Maestro
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Apples by Gail Gibbons
From Seed to Apple by Anita Ganeri
The Life Cycle of an Apple by Ruth Thomson
A Packet of Seeds by Deborah Hopkinson
Magic School Bus Plants Seeds by Scholastic

General Plants:
Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman
Venus Flytraps, Bladderworts, and Other Wild and Amazing Plants by Monica Halpern
Ferns by June Loves
Plants by DK eye know series
Pick, Pull, Snap! by Lola M. Schaefer
Desert Giant by Barbara Bash
The Life of George Washington Carver by Stephen Krenshy
In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby
A Picture Book of George Washington Carver by David Adler
Plants and Flowers by Sally Hewitt
Plants in Different Habitats by Bobbie Kalman


Growing stages of a plant and a list of plants RB would like to plant in his own garden. He was determined to fill up EVERY line! But he came up with every name.

A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros
Crinklroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky
Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller
Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber
Tree by DK eye know series
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins
Protecting Trees and Forests by Usborne
Forests by Rand McNally
Trees and Forests by Scholastic Voyages of Discovery
Forest Life by Barbara Taylor
The Big Tree by Bruce Hiscock
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
Starting Life-Tree by Claire Llewellyn
The Tree by Dana Lyons
The Gift of the Tree by Alvin Tresselt
Redwoods by Jason Chin
The Life Cycle of a Pine Tree by Linda Tagliaferro
The Secret Life of Trees by Chiara Chevallier
Tropical Rainforests by Seymour Simon
Tree of Life by Barbara Bash
A Tree in a Forest by Jan Thornhill
Sky Tree by Thomas Locker
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
I Wonder Why Leaves Change Color by Andrew Charman

Fiction Plant Stories:

Parts of a Tree

Grandma Lena’s Big Ol’ Turnip by Denia Lewis Hester
Wild Wild Sunflower Child Anna by Nancy White Carlstrom
A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman
Lily’s Garden by Deborah Kogan Ray
Cecil”s Garden by Holly Keller
A Tree is Nice by Marc Simont
Blaze and the Forest Fire by C.W. Anderson
Goldfish and Chrysanthemums by Andrea Cheng
Tiny Green Thumbs by C.Z. Guest
The Turnip by Pierr Morgan
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia
A Green, Green Garden by Mercer Mayer

Garden Books:
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
The Sunflower Farmer by Jessica Gunderson
Holly Bloom’s Garden by Sarah Ashmen and Nancy Parent
Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base
How Groundhog’s Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry
Miss Emma’s Wild Garden by Anna Grossnickle Hines
The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt
Rah, Rah, Radishes by April Pulley Sayre
Bean and Plant by Christine Back
Quiet in the Garden by Aliki
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith
Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
Nibble’s Garden by Charlotte Middleton

Garden Helpers (or pests):
Ask a Bug by DK Publishers
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn and Jack Tickle
The Caterpillow Fight by Sam McBratney
More Than Just a Flower Garden by Dwight Kuhn
More Than Just a Vegetable Garden by Dwight Kuhn

From Garden to Table Books:
From Oranges to Orange Juice by Kristin Keller
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
From Maple Trees to Maple Syrup by Kristin Keller
From a Farm to You: Chocolate by Carol Jones
The Heart of the Wood by Marguerite W. Davol
10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel

As you can probably tell, I believe in the power of books. I immersed my kids in plants and I was amazed at how much they retained. In about 3 years, I’ll come back to this unit and add some harder objectives and reread many of these books. And then the kids will retain even more.

Do you know of any other plant resources?


Preschool – Lower Elementary Plant Unit — 9 Comments

  1. your amazing for sharing this !!! Thanks so much! I shared with my followers on facebook!! Brittany-

  2. Pingback: Free Printable Spring Bucket List with extra ideas too! - Meet Penny

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