Getting into… plants



Download the visual resource that accompanies the session below.

Activity A

Display the WWT ‘Plants’ visual. Here are two plants. One is called a dandelion and the other is called a water lily.

Which one do you think is which? Give the learners clues to link the name water lily to the plant growing underwater and the name dandelion with the plant thats flower looks like a lion’s mane.

Has anyone seen these plants before? Where?

Each part of a plant has a different name. (N.B. get the class to help with the spellings of these words as they are mostly all phonetically spelt)

  • Point to the roots of the dandelion. These are the roots. Write the word ‘roots’ on the visual. Where are the roots on the water lily? Why do you think that?
  • Point to the leaves. These are the leaves. Write the word ‘leaves’ on the visual. Where are the leaves on the water lily? What do they look like (colour, shape, smooth/spikey)?
  • Point to a stem. This is a stem. Write the word ‘stem’ on the visual. Where are the stems on the water lily? Do they look the same?
  • Point to the flower. This is a flower. Write the word ‘flower’ on the visual. Does the water lily have flowers too? Are they the same colour?

Learners may ask about the seed heads in both drawings. Explain that this is where the seeds grow. When one of these seeds gets planted in the ground, another, of the same plant, will grow.

Reiterate that even though these plants are different (one even grows underwater), they still have the same features.

Activity B

Go outside. With an adult holding up the labelled ‘Plants’ visual, say together the features of a plant (flower, stem, leaves and roots). Choose a learner to be the ‘caller’. They must point to a plant feature on the visual whilst saying the newly-learned, corresponding vocabulary (e.g. flower, stem, leaf or roots). Everyone must then find that feature on a nearby plant and point to it. Remind learners that they don’t need to pick flowers/plants to study them. In fact once we pick them, they can no longer live. Repeat several times, choosing different ‘callers’, and encouraging learners to move around finding examples on different plants.

Why can’t they see the roots? Show the WWT Plants ‘visual’ and explain that most plants have parts that are above ground and parts that are below ground.

Less time?

Just do section B

Have a whole afternoon?

Extend section A by asking learners to draw a plant. This could be a plant they have seen on their walk to school, in the garden, in the playground or it could be one they have made up. It must have a flower, a stem, leaves and roots. Some learners could label their plant’s features, sounding out or copying the words from the teachers labelled visual.

Go outside

Give learners a small piece of plain paper and a wax crayon. Demonstrating by using the long side of the crayon, ask the learners to do rubbings of leaves and bark from plants and trees in the surrounding area. Remind learners that it damages plants if we pick the leaves so where possible it’s always best to collect leaves that have already fallen off. Explore the textures and shapes, capturing learners’ comments about the similarities and differences.