Lesson 2: Plants

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How are plants dependent on their environment?
  • How are the parts of a plant interconnected?

Facts and Definitions

  • A flowering plant has flowers, and a nonflowering plant has no flowers.
  • A woody plant survives from one year to the next and has a stem that contains wood.
  • An herbaceous plant has leaves and stems that die at the end of the growing season.


  • Observe and measure how the quantities and qualities of nutrients, light, and water in the environment affect plant growth. (S)
  • Observe and describe how environmental conditions determine how plants survive and grow in a particular environment. (S)
  • Conduct science experiments and investigations. (S)
  • Follow the scientific method. (S)
  • Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence. (S)
  • Communicate valid conclusions. (S)


  • 4 small potted plants
  • cardstock* (Activity 6 - Option 1)
  • colored pencils or markers
  • cup
  • glue
  • hole punch* (Activity 1 - Option 2)
  • index cards (kit)* (Activity 1 - Option 2)
  • jar or glass
  • large sheet of paper* (Activity 6 - Option 2)
  • lima beans (kit)
  • markers* (Activity 6 - Option 2)
  • measuring cup
  • metal hanger* (Activity 1 - Option 2)
  • paintbrush (kit)
  • plastic wrap
  • ruler (kit)
  • science journal
  • scissors* (Activity 6 - Option 1)
  • small knife
  • small potted plant
  • variety of flowers* (Activity 6 - Option 1)
  • yarn (kit)* (Activity 1 - Option 2)

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed


Tell your child that today she is going to begin her in-depth study of plants. Explain that plants can fall into two categories: herbaceous plants and woody plants. Herbaceous plants have stems and leaves. They die and go back into the ground at the end of the growing season. These include vegetable plants, annual flowers (make seeds, grow a flower, and die in one year), and perennial flowers (grow back year after year). Woody plants have wooden stems and survive from one year to the next. Woody plants include trees, lilac bushes, and shrubs.
Encourage your child to go in the yard and identify examples of herbaceous plants and woody plants.