One of a series of booklets written to support plant science in the Primary Curriculum. This booklet includes activities that children can do to find out more about plants, focusing on ways that children can grow their own plants. Several of the activities are set out as investigations, to support children developing their approach to investigations in a scientific way.
As the third theme in the series, this booklet includes activities that children can do to find out more about plants. It focuses on ways that children can grow their own plants, from seed and also from other parts of plants. Several of the activities are set out as investigations.
The introduction of the Planning Plant provides a means of developing children’s approach to investigations in a scientific way. They can investigate, for example, whether plants need water, light, soil and mineral salts. They can design a seed packet (with appropriate instructions for growing a newly discovered plant), find out how strong plants are and how water travels through a plant. Then they can wrap this up in two different games (new plant versions of ‘Snakes and ladders’ and ‘Happy families’) that are fun but help reinforce their understanding.
A section on having fun growing plants gives opportunities for children to gain a wider experience of plants and, as the activity suggests, have fun!
Following on from the earlier booklets in this series, this third booklet encourages a wider range of approaches. Children are able to develop greater independence, for example, in carrying out investigative work, in devising tables to record results or using IT to draw a graph. In several activities, suggestions are made as to ways that IT can be incorporated. Digital photography can provide a useful tool for recording events and sharing results with others in the class. Both photography and drawing are valuable and can be used as appropriate in several of the activities in this booklet. Teachers should also be aware of opportunities offered in the different activities for development of skills in literacy, numeracy, investigative work and strategies for assessment.
The 6 'Plants for Primary Pupils' booklets were written in conjunction with the Field Studies Council, and copies were sent out to all UK state primary schools. For extra print copies, please contact the FSC. The booklets can also be downloaded in PDF form from the links on the right. Worksheets are also available online in Word format for editing in your own classroom.
Download the Zip files from the links on the right.
Converting templates into cards and other items
In this supporting material, templates are provided for certain items required for several of the activities in the booklet. The teacher can then make these up into the required form for use with children in the class. These items are listed above. In the booklet, reduced versions are given so that you can see at a glance what is available. The full-sized templates (A4) are provided on the SAPS website, usually as both pdf and Word files. You can download the pdf files and use them as they are, or you may prefer to adapt the Word files to your particular version of the game or activity.
Usually it would be appropriate to make your sheets out of lightweight card. To do this, print out the template and photocopy onto appropriately coloured card or paper. Alternatively you may be able to print directly onto the card. You can then make good durable sets by laminating the pages. When you have your whole page, you then cut out the cards or parts for use with your class.
Using the Planning Plant
- The Planning Plant (poster size version) (pages 3 to 5) - Templates
- The Planning Plant (A4 Pupil Sheets) - Planning your investigation, Results, Evaluation (pages 3 to 5) - Templates
Growing plants in the classroom: introducing the techniques
Germinating seeds in film pots
- Germinating seeds in a film pot (page 7) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Germinating seeds in Petri dishes
- Petri dish grid (page 9) - Template
- Germinating seeds in a Petri dish (page 10) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Growing plants in film pots
- Growing plants in a film pot (page 13) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
The seed and germination
Activity 1: What’s in a seed? - using a “Giant Brassica” as a model for seed germination
- Giant Brassica (page 16) - Template
Activity 2: What’s in a seed? - taking a seed apart
- Taking a seed apart (page 18) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Plants and how they grow
Activity 1: Do plants need soil to grow?
- Do plants need soil to grow? (page 21) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Activity 2: Do plants need light to grow?
- Do plants need light to grow? (page 23) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Activity 4: How fast does a root grow?
- How fast does a root grow? (page 27) - Pupil Sheet (adapted as a Word file)
Activity 8: Vines and villains - a game
- Vines and Villains - game board in black and white and colour (page 33) - Templates
Activity 9: Plant quartet (Happy families)
- Plant quartet - cards (page 35) - Templates
Additional activities and background information for teachers
The plant life cycle
- Activity 1: The plant life cycle - growing rapid cycling Brassicas
- Activity 2: A life cycle game
Additional Background information for teachers
- Further notes on rapid-cycling Brassicas and their use in the classroom
For the activities listed below, the Writing Group has drawn on ideas that originated in other publications, as shown.
Plants and how they grow
- Activity 3 (How strong are plants?) – British Association for Young Scientists (BAYS) award for Young Investigators
- Activity 5 (Adding mineral salts – do radishes grow better?) – Hewitson, J. and Price, R. (1994), Plant mineral nutrition in the classroom, School Science Review, 76 (274), 45-55
- Activity 6 (How does water travel through a plant) – BAYS
Science and Plants for Schools and the Field Studies Council are grateful for permission to include the following copyright photographs and artwork. Photographs: All photographs are by John Bebbington, with the exceptions of Figures 12, 14 and 22 which are by Erica Larkcom and Figure 26 which is by Maggie Bolt. FRPS Artwork: All artwork, including cartoons and cover artwork, is by Anne Bebbington, with the exception of the illustrations used in Figure 19 are reproduced by courtesy of The Cavendish School, London.
The design of the container for Petri dishes using take-away boxes (page 9) is by Gill Halton.
Members of the Writing Group: Anne Bebbington (FSC and SAPS), Colin Bielby (Manchester Metropolitan University), Janette Kean (Westfield Primary School, West Lothian), Ruth Thomas (Cavendish School) and Erica Clark, editor (SAPS). We are grateful to Maggie Bolt and John Hewitson for their skill and effort, and to the following who reviewed the text and activities during the development of this booklet: Nicky Edrich, Susie Kelpie, Judy Vincent and Paul Warwick.