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Do Plants Need Water?
Lesson Objective
The student will carefully observe, predict, and describe the unfolding investigations of plants and how they grow.
Background Information for Teacher
This lesson is divided into 2 separate activities spanning 5 days to 2 weeks. Words said by the teacher are in bold.
Student Prior Knowledge
The student should be able to utilize observational skills and a descriptive vocabulary to articulate similarities and
differences in the plants they observe. They should be able to make comparisons of size, color, and height.
chart paper
approximately 45 lima bean seeds
planter box or 9x12 disposable baking pan
potting soil
small clay flower pot 2 inches in diameter
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Step 2: Teach Lesson
Tell the student: Plants are composed of about 70% water, and water is essential to them in many ways. It is
necessary in the beginning stages of the plant's life to soften the seed coat. This allows the root and leaf within
to push open the seed. Water dissolves minerals in the soil. Plant roots pick up the water and dissolved minerals.
Water transports materials up the stem to the leaves. All stages of a plant's life require water.
Today we will observe the impact of water on seed germination by planting Lima beans at a far distance from the
a water source. We are going to make predictions about how the seeds will grow. Record their predictions, and
amend predictions as needed.
Things to discuss during the activity. "Do plants need water? Can plants have too much water? Do seeds need water?
Can seeds have too much water? What else seems to affect the growth of seeds? Of plants?"
Activity 1:
Put the flower pot in the corner of the planter box. For the moment, the pot should be empty. Add soil to the planter box
until it is approximately 2 inches deep. Make sure the soil is packed tightly in the box.
In the planter box, mark off 4 diagonal rows with the string. The first row should be very close to the pot. Each diagonal
row after that is 3 inches apart from the other.
Have the student plant the first row of seeds very close to the pot. Plant the remaining seeds following the string
markings. The student should push the seeds into the soil with their fingers. Fill the flower pot half full of water. Do not put
any water in the soil. Add water to the flowerpot as necessary, keeping the soil close to the flower pot slightly moist.
Have the student predict what will happen. Write their predictions on a chart which can be accessed for later use.
(The seeds nearest the water will sprout first. Another row may germinate. The seeds farthest out usually do not sprout
due to the lack of water.)
Have the student keep a record of their observation in learning logs over the next 2 weeks. Analyze findings and have
students relate them to the seeds' access to water. Have the student compare the findings with their initial predictions
which were listed on the chart paper. Discuss the conditions that impacted plant growth.
Activity 2:
Review what the student learned about conditions that impact the growth of plants from the first investigation. Have them
identify the experimental conditions, such as: amount of water, frequency of waterings, amount sunlight, etc. Ask them to
predict which conditions will have the most impact on the growth of their lima bean seeds.
Place lima bean seeds in a Ziploc bag. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the bag. Staple across the bag to create a
shelf for the seed to sit on. The seeds can be watered through the top of the bag. Ask the student how they could use the
set up to find out what a seed needs to sprout. Develop a list of experimental conditions they could create to determine
what a seed needs to sprout. A list of possibilities includes:
sun, but no water
water, but no sun
sun and too much water
sun, air and water
sun and water, but no air
Have the student put each experimental condition to test. Check the seed's progress daily for five days. At the end of five
days, have the student report the results. Discuss the conclusions.
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Worksheet for extra practice
Step 4: Review. Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can
demonstrate understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Plant Life Cycle (online) game after activity 1