The Poetry of Plants

Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.


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Most Recent Review

5 Do You Know Which Will Grow?

I used this rhyming picture book with a class of 4-year-olds and they loved it. The book is interactive and perfect for early elementary level. It sparked a lively discussion about the differences between living and nonliving things.


This resource is divided into two sections, one for  grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5. The K-2 lesson uses a rhyming picture book, Do You Know Which Will Grow? as a springboard to discuss  the differences between living and nonliving things. Students will learn about the basic needs of plants: air, water, and sunlight.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will make observations of lima bean growth to collect evidence to prove that plants need water, air, and sunlight to grow. They also make a comparison of a rock and the lima bean seed to show that one is living and one is nonliving. They should write and or illustrate in a science journal to document the evidence found and share their evidence with one another. .

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
After using a formative assessment probe, Is It Living?, students make a predication about a seed and a rock being living or nonliving things. They observe and discuss the germination of a lima bean and are asked to compare their prediction to what happened to the bean and the rock after several days in water. The predication of each student should be recorded on chart paper or in a science journal so it can be revisited when the germination is complete. Kindergartners may need more experience with plant growth by reading books or watching videos.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students investigate and make observations about how a seed needs water and light to grow. They further discuss different types of seeds and what plants they grow into. They create a rhyming flip page about a chosen seed that was discussed. Each student page that is created could be used to make a classroom book to share.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students observe lima bean growth to prove a plant needs air, water, and light to grow. To enhance this lesson different types of seeds should be planted and observed to see the pattern of this taking place in the natural world.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson builds understanding of grade‐appropriate elements of the science and engineering practices (comparing a seed and a rock to learn if it is living or nonliving), Disciplinary Core ideas (reading about and investigating to know if plants need sun and water to live), and Crosscutting Concepts (patterns in nature) to aid student sense‐making of phenomena. To extend the lesson there could be more plants grown to learn about their basic needs to show patterns in nature..

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson uses scientifically accurate and grade‐appropriate scientific information, phenomena, and representations to support students’ three‐dimensional learning. It also provides opportunities for students to express, clarify, justify, and represent their ideas and to respond to teacher feedback orally and/or in written form as appropriate. The template to make a rhyming flip book page about living and nonliving things that should be provided from NSTA for this lesson is not available on line so one will have to be created by the teacher.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is use of a formative assessment probe at the beginning and end of the lesson. Students also illustrate and label a page to show their understanding of a plants needs to survive. Another way to evaluate students would be to have them act out the growth of a plant needing light, water, and air.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technology is needed for this lesson.