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


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  • From dirt to dinner: This lesson serves as an introductory study of the plant world. The lesson allows students to study seeds, parts of plants, microclimates, and how to grow seeds into vegetable plants for harvest. Parents are encouraged to assist at home.
  • Inside a baby seed: Students will identify the three main parts of a seed after the bean/seeds have been soaked in water overnight.
  • Getting down & dirty with soils: In this lesson, we will explore different kinds of soil (humus, sand, clay). The students will plant seeds in the different soils as part of further exploration.

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Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • identify seed parts
  • label and draw seed parts
  • describe a seed
  • describe a plant
  • identify plant parts
  • write facts about plants
  • compare and contrast two plants

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4 weeks


  • lima bean seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • clear cups
  • potting soil
  • water
  • plant book journal
  • paper and pencil


Before beginning this lesson, the teacher should have taught a lesson on plants. The students will review the KWL chart on plants. Students will have made a flower from construction paper and labeled the parts of the plant. The teacher should write each student’s name on two clear cups and label each cup “lima bean” and “sunflower.” The teacher should soak the seeds overnight before beginning this lesson.


  1. Pass out two lima bean seeds to students. One is to examine, one is to put aside for planting.
  2. The teacher will model how to examine the seed coat.
  3. The students will then examine their seeds.
  4. The students will remove the skin with fingers.
  5. The teacher will ask, “Why does a seed have a seed coat?” The teacher will wait for responses.
  6. The teacher will explain the seed coat protects the seed from damage, holds its parts together and probably protects it from drying out completely.
  7. The teacher will model how the seed falls into two halves. The students will then separate their seed.
  8. The teacher will then explain that attached to one seed leaf is the baby plant (embryo), consisting of a root and two tiny leaves, showing veins. These will be the first true leaves of the new plant.
  9. The students will write their name on their plant book.
  10. On the second page, the students will draw a picture of their lima bean seed inside and outside and label the parts in their plant book. The student will write a sentence that describes their lima bean seed.
  11. The teacher will pass out one sunflower seed to each student.
  12. The students will pour half a cup of soil in the clear cup labeled “lima bean” and plant one lima bean seed and pour half a cup of soil on top of the lima bean. The student will then pour one-fourth cup of water in the cup.
  13. The student will repeat this same process planting their sunflower seed.
  14. The teacher will ask the students what a seed needs in order to grow. The students will respond.
  15. On the third page, the teacher will ask the students to respond in their plant book and record their information on the graph.
  16. As plants begin to sprout and grow, the students will record the information in the plant book on the third and fourth pages.
  17. The students will draw a double bubble thinking map to compare and contrast the differences and likenesses in the plants life cycle and growth.


  • Assess students seed drawings and labeling of parts.
  • Assess students plant book for information and accuracy to detail.
  • Assess students thinking map of the double bubble to compare and contrast the differences and likenesses of the plants life cycle and growth.

Supplemental information

For more information on Thinking Maps: Tools For Learning (such as the Double Bubble Map) contact Innovative Learning Group, 975 Walnut Street, Suite 342 Cary, North Carolina 27511 (800) 243-9169.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.L.1 Understand characteristics of various environments and behaviors of humans that enable plants and animals to survive. 1.L.1.1 Recognize that plants and animals need air, water, light (plants only), space, food and shelter and that these may be found...
        • 1.L.2 Summarize the needs of living organisms for energy and growth. 1.L.2.1 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different plants (including air, water, nutrients, and light) for energy and growth. 1.L.2.2 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and make observations to build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.
    • Objective 1.01: Investigate the needs of a variety of different plants:
      • Air.
      • Water.
      • Light.
      • Space.