Download This Lesson: People Need Plants
Brief Description: Students will be able to identify parts of a plant and recognize the importance of plants in our daily diet. They will learn new vocabulary and use these in activities pertaining to their own eating habits.
Focus Areas: Characteristics of Plants; Science
Focus Skills: observing, identifying, drawing conclusions
- To identify parts of a plant
- To recognize the importance of plants in our daily diet
- What are the parts of a plant?
- What parts of plants are important to people?
Green plants make their own food.
- Plants have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds.
- Plants are the main food source for living things, including humans.
- Plants provide us with many vitamins to keep us healthy.
Green plants are the only living things that can make their own food. Plants harness the energy that shines down on the Earth each day as light and use it to make their own food. Each leaf becomes a food factory as it converts the energy to simple sugars that feed the plant and enable it to grow.
The roots of the plant anchor it and take nutrients from the soil. Stems carry food and water to other parts of the plant. Flowers produce seeds, and seeds produce new plants.
Plants are food for many other living things, mainly animals. Animals that eat only plants are called herbivores. Deer, zebras, cows, and other animals with hooves are examples of herbivores. Mammals, such as monkeys and gorillas, that only eat fruit and leaves are also in this group.
Carnivores, creatures that only eat meat, also depend on green plants. They feed on animals that feed on the plants. They become part of a food chain. All the plants and animals are connected to each other like links in a chain. Most food chains begin with plants. Therefore, most living things rely on plants to survive.
flowers – the plant part that produces seeds
food chain – a pattern of predator and prey in which one organism provides food for another organism
fruit – the fleshy part of a plant that provides food
leaf – the plant part that changes energy from the sun to food for the plant
nectar – a liquid produced by some plants that provides food for bees
nuts – food source produced by some plants plant a living thing that can use sunlight to produce
food – root the plant part that holds the plant in the soil and carries water and nutrients to the plant
seed – the part of the plant that enables new plants to grow
stem – the part of the plant that carries food to the plant
Time: 30 minutes
Group size: 5 to 30
Space: a classroom
plastic models, real examples, or pictures of crop foods humans eat:
• fruits (oranges, grapes)
• nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
• roots (carrots, potatoes)
• leaves (lettuce, spinach)
• stems (celery, rhubarb)
• seeds (rice, wheat, beans)
• flowers (broccoli, cauliflower)
Izzy puppet *
picture cards of plants parts *
Overhead 1 and Handout 1 “Which Part?” *
chart paper or black/white board
* single copy provided
Collect pictures of plants that people eat or have students bring in samples. (Avoid real nuts if you have students with allergies.)
Set up overhead projector.
Make copies of Handout 1,“Which Part?” (one per child).
1. Izzy asks the children,“What are your favorite foods?” (List them.) Distinguish healthy foods from the snack foods with lots of sugar.
2. Izzy tells the children that most foods on the Earth, including cookies and cakes, contain plant ingredients.
3. Izzy asks,“Why are plants important to people?” (They provide vitamins and minerals our bodies need to grow.)
4. Izzy explains that plants have many parts. Some of these plant parts are good to eat. People eat the fruits, nuts, roots, stems, seeds, or flowers of different plants.
1. Using Izzy, display each of the following words (SEED, FRUIT, etc.), define it, and ask the children to give examples of this kind of edible plant part.
Seeds are a very important part of any plant. They grow and sprout to make new plants. More importantly, people on the Earth eat tons of seeds every day. Many people in poorer countries depend on seeds to live. Seeds are a major part of the diet of people on the continents of India, Asia, and Africa.
• Can you think of what seeds people eat? (rice, wheat, beans)
• Name some animals that eat seeds. (birds, mice)
Fruit contains seeds covered by a sweet, tasty treat. (strawberries, apples, grapes, and melons) Show students an example and have them identify other “favorite fruits.”
A nut has a very hard shell that protects a seed. Show students an example and have them identify others. (almonds, walnuts, and peanuts) Ask the children if they have seen any animals that collect and store nuts for winter. (squirrels)
Roots hold the plant in the soil and collect nutrients. The food that many plants make is stored in their roots, under the ground. Some edible roots may be called tubers. Show students examples and have the children identify them (carrots, potatoes, radishes, turnips, beets). People who grow gardens have problems with animals that dig and eat roots and tubers. What animal eats gardeners’ carrots? (bunnies)
LEAVES and STEMS
Leaves make food for plants using energy from the sun and stems carry the food to all parts of the plant. Show the students an example and have them dentify others. (lettuce, spinach, celery, and rhubarb) Tell them that many animals eat leaves and stems. Can you name some? (Koalas feed on eucalyptus leaves and pandas eat mostly bamboo.)
Izzy says,“Do you know that you eat flowers? Not every flower but the ones that are part of vegetable plants like broccoli and cauliflower. They have lots of important vitamins that keep us healthy. Flowers from other plants like roses and daisies have a sweet juice called nectar. Birds and bats feed on nectar. Bees make honey to feed their baby bees. Even humans eat honey!”
2. Distribute Handout 1,“Which Part?” and help the children complete it by circling the picture that corresponds to each plant part. There may be more than one picture per plant part. Say each plant part and point to it on the overhead. Note: You may wish to do this on the overhead as well.
Have the students put stalks of celery in water that has food coloring added to it. Have them observe how the colored water flows up the stem structure (xylem takes liquid up and phloem takes it down the stem). Explain that this is how the leaves get the water and nutrients from the soil and, with the energy from the sun, are able to make their own food. Explain that a BIG science word for this process is PHOTOSYNTHESIS.
Correlations to State of Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction
ELA = English Language Arts, HE/PE = Health Education and Physical Education, MA = Mathematics, SCI = Science, SS = Social Studies, VPA = Visual and Performing Arts
** Alignment possible only if lesson extension is done
Maine Learning Results
Common Core Standards for English and Mathematics
ELA – B. Writing
**B3. Students write to inform an audience on a specific topic.
a. Write brief descriptions of objects, people, places, or events.
b. Record and share, in writing, information that has been gathered.
**D1. Students demonstrate an understanding of the parts of speech and simple sentence structures to communicate.
b. Use simple sentences.
** Extension: Students define vocabulary and write/dictate an example of each of the 6 edible plant parts using simple sentences.
E. Listening & Speaking
E1. Students use early active listening skills.
a. Ask relevant questions at appropriate times.
SCI – B. Skills & Traits of Scientific Inquiry & Tech. Design
B1. Students conduct and communicate results of simple Investigations.
a. Ask questions and make observations about objects organisms, and events in the environment.
b. Safely conduct simple investigations to answer questions.
E.. The Living Environment
E3. Students describe parts and wholes of living things, their basic needs, and the structures and processes that help them stay alive.
**E4. Students describe the cycle of birth, development, and death in different organisms and the ways in which organisms resemble their parents.
b. Describe the life cycle of a plant or animal (include being born, growing, reproducing, and dying.
**Extension: Have students describe life cycles of pests, noting which stage they are most destructive.
ELA – Speaking & Listening
2. Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood
2. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
** 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
e. Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.
**Extension: Students define vocabulary words and use those words in a simple sentence.
**2. Use a combination or drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
**Extension: Students tell the meaning of vocabulary and use those words in a sentence.