K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Related pages

  • The life cycle of a seed: This lesson integrates science into the language arts block. Students will read about plant life cycle events and then write their own books about the life cycle of a plant.
  • Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Center: Located a few miles outside Columbia, North Carolina, the center provides programming dealing with ecology, ecosystems, and animals and their habitats to area school groups.
  • New River State Park: Visit New River State Park and discover its unspoiled beauty as well as the flora and fauna of the area.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Recognize the parts of a plant and their functions.
  • Investigate and explore the development of plants.
  • Use oral language skills to describe plant growth.
  • Use a computer to open a Microsoft Word document and label the parts of a plant in a text box.
  • Save the documents and then retrieve them for publication.
  • Determine that new plants can be generated from seeds.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes


Technology resources

  • computer with internet access
  • paint program for painting plant illustration or a program like Kid Pix for drawing their own plant with parts labeled


  • Students should have previously planted bean seeds, monitored their growth, documented their growth, and finally evaluated the relationship between growth and needs (proper light, water, soil, warmth).
  • Students should have used a variety of resources prior to this lesson which will give them a background of knowledge on plant life: textbook, literature books such as: The Magic School Bus Plants a Seed and The Tiny Seed, and a Reading Rainbow video: Once There Was a Tree.


  1. Read orally the literature about seeds by reading Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and/or The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller to class. Promote discussion about seeds as the book is being read.
  2. Continue the discussion about seeds by asking, “What happens when you plant a seed?” (Students should be able to use their background of experiences from when they planted their bean seeds to talk about the life cycle of this bean plant: germination, growth, seed creation / reproduction, and fruit production.)
  3. Tell students, “We are going to do a web hunt to investigate the parts of the plants that grow from the seeds.”
  4. Use the following internet sites to introduce students to the parts of plants:
  5. After discussing the parts of a plant and their functions, students can label the parts of a plant using the attached document: Parts of a Bean Plant. Students should open this document from a diskette or the saved location on their classroom computer. Then they will label the parts of the plant in the text boxes. They should then save the document under a new name. Print this document after the parts have been labeled. This document can be retrieved later for using in a paint program as specified in the next step of this plan.
  6. Using “Paint” or any other paint type programs, have students color parts of the plant. They will use the plant graphic in the Microsoft document: select the graphic by clicking on it to get the anchors or handles, and then go to edit and copy this graphic. Then they should open up their paint program and go to edit-paste, pasting this graphic into this application. Using the paint tools they can now color/paint this illustration. Finally this can be printed. Refer to this example.
  7. Optional Activity: Students could use Kid Pix Studio Deluxe to draw a plant and then label each part.


  • Informal Assessment: Sharing of work done in class and an informal inventory by teacher as class discussion occurs as texts are being read. Teacher will mentally note what the students can recall from their bean planting activity.
  • Formal assessment: Parts of a Plant Activity Page
  • Computer Activity with “Paint” or any other paint program.

Supplemental information

The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed video is an excellent resource for this lesson. It could be used as a pre-activity and then later shown again as reinforcement for the concepts taught in this lesson. Students enjoy watching any of the Magic School Bus videos over and over.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.TT.1 Use technology tools and skills to reinforce classroom concepts and activities. 3.TT.1.1 Use a variety of technology tools to gather data and information (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.). 3.TT.1.2 Use a variety...
      • Science (2010)
        • 3.L.2 Understand how plants survive in their environments. 3.L.2.1 Remember the function of the following structures as it relates to the survival of plants in their environments: Roots – absorb nutrients Stems – provide support Leaves – synthesize food...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 3

  • Goal 3: The learner will use a variety of technologies to access, analyze, interpret, synthesize, apply, and communicate information.
    • Objective 3.04: Identify, discuss, and use multimedia to present ideas/concepts/information in a variety of ways as a class. Strand - Multimedia/Presentation

Science (2005)

Grade 3

  • Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and build an understanding of plant growth and adaptations.
    • Objective 1.03: Investigate and describe how plants pass through distinct stages in their life cycle including.
      • Growth.
      • Survival.
      • Reproduction.