1. At the beginning of the unit, make a KWL chart with the class. Find out what the students know about plants, what they want to know about plants, and finally, at the end, find out what they learned about plants. Discussing the completed chart would be a good review at the end of the unit.
2. Take the class on a nature walk around the school grounds. Stop to look at some plants and see if you can identify their parts. Which parts are visible and which ones aren't? Have the students record some of their observations in a journal and make suggestions about how plant life may be improved at their school.
3. Have plants in the classroom for students to observe. Discuss the special needs plants need in order to make them grow. Conduct an experiment. Place one plant in the light without water, one in the dark without water, and one in the dark with water. Have students record what happens to each plant.
4. Create a large chart on banner paper with six columns, one for each part of the plant. Have students glue or draw pictures of plant parts we eat in each column. Discuss which parts are eaten the most and least.
5. Bring in a variety of small plants and place a set of them near each group of two or four. Ask students to brainstorm with their partner or small group what the plants have in common.
6. Have students create a mobile about the parts of a plant. Make one of your own to use as an example. Give each student 7 index cards. Have them draw a picture of a plant part on one side of the card and on the other side write the part's name and a description of that part's function. Also, have them do a title card with their name. They can even cut the parts out in the shape of that part. Another version is to Xerox pictures of plant parts, have students color and paste them onto the cards and write the description. When they are finished, collect the cards and attach them with string to a hanger. Attach the title card to the center of the hanger. Display all over the classroom.
7. Place students in learning groups. Assign each group a plant part to research and become an expert on. Explain that each group will then teach the rest of the class more about this important plant part. You may even want to make up a Note-taking sheet with important questions that they should answer in their reports like: Where is the part located on the plant, What is its job, Why is it so important to the plant, etc. Give the students a choice in how they present it to the class, such as a news report or skit. Then after the projects are complete, have the groups educate and justify why their particular part is so important to the plant to the class.
8. Have students bring in a small plant or provide them with different varieties. Have them take the plant apart piece by piece, examining each different part of the plant and discussing how it contributes to the growth of the plant as a whole. List some of the terms discussed and observations on the board.
9. Help students collect small plants with root and leaf systems attached. Have them measure their length and width. Each student will draw their own root system.
10. Have students place a carrot in a small cup containing water and food coloring (dark blue.) Discuss how plants absorb water and minerals. Explain that the carrot is the root of the carrot plant. Have students leave carrot in water for several hours and then remove. Cut of small section near the tip of the carrot. The circle of blue dots indicate where water is being carried up into the plant. Continue cutting small sections to see how far the dye has been absorbed.
11. Provide a bulletin board with a diagram of the six major parts of the plant. Have students identify each part and it's uses