Lesson 2: Plants

Day 2

Before You Get Started

Materials: cup, lima beans (kit)
Reminder - Yesterday your child started an experiment called "Absorbing Water." Finish this experiment before you get started on today's lesson.

Prepare for Tomorrow - Ask your child to take a cup of water and drop in three or four lima beans. Set this aside for tomorrow. Note that the lima beans are in the Lesson 3 section of your kit.

Activity 4: What Do Plants Need?

Ask your child to make a list of what plants need in order to grow. Then ask her why certain plants grow better in certain environments than others. On the Internet or in an encyclopedia, read about cacti and how they survive with so little water.

Explain to your child that there are seven basic requirements that plants need in order to grow properly — the right temperature, light, water, carbon dioxide, nutrients (from the soil), time, and room to grow.

The "What do Plants Need?" page features a picture of a plant in its environment. Ask your child to list the seven things plants need in order to grow. Then ask her to describe on the lines provided how the plant in the picture is receiving the seven things it needs.

Answer Key:

  • Light -- The plant gets light from the sun.
  • Water -- The plant gets water from the rain.
  • Carbon dioxide -- The plant gets carbon dioxide from people and animals (the turtle in the picture).
  • Nutrients -- The plant receives its nutrients from the soil.
  • Time -- The plant has time to grow in its habitat.
  • Space to grow -- The plant is in an open space, so it has room to grow.
  • Temperature -- The environment is the right temperature for the plant.
Student Activity Page

Activity 5: Conditions for Growth Experiment

Materials: 4 small potted plants
Use 4 small potted plants of the same type for this activity. Let your child label the plants 1-4 and record their starting height. Now let her vary the amount of sunlight and water she gives to each one over eight to ten days. On the page, "Conditions for Growth Experiment," she can list the location of each plant and the amount of water it received every other day.

For example, she may place one plant in a bright window and give it 1/4 cup of water. Then she might place another in a room with a small window and very little light and give the plant 1/3 cup of water. Let her decide on the amount of light and water for each plant and ask her to record the information on her activity sheet. After two weeks, she can compare the growth of the plants in the cups and determine which conditions are optimal for seed growth.

Activity 6: Plant Art Ideas

Materials: cardstock*, glue, large sheet of paper*, markers*, paintbrush (kit), ruler (kit), scissors*, variety of flowers*
Encourage your child to select one of the plant art activities.

Option 1: Create Pressed Flower Cards

Let your child gather a variety of flowers and place them in the pages of a large phone book for a couple of days until the flowers are flat and dried. Then she can cut two or three pieces of cardstock paper in half and fold each part to make a card. She can arrange the pressed flowers on the front of the cards and paint over them with glue or decoupage. Let them dry, and she will have beautiful stationery cards.

Option 2: Design a Garden

Give your child a large piece of paper and tell her that she has been asked to be an architectural landscaper. Explain that architectural landscapers design people's gardens. They decide where to put plants and other garden pieces in the garden.

Let your child design the garden on the sheet of paper, labeling the plants and trees that should be placed in the garden. She can also include other gardening accessories such as fountains, ponds, arbors, step-stones, and birdbaths.