Plants and Seeds Unit


Have you ever made terrariums out of 2 liter clear, plastic bottles? Just cut them in half, fill the bottom with some rocks and potting soil and plantings. I use ivy and creeping charlie out of my garden and placed them in water for a few days hoping they will grow roots. So, ivy will grow pretty much from a cutting. Or you can plant seeds.  

Plants and Seeds Unit Activity was Making Terrariums out of a clear, 2 Liter Soda Bottle! 

I like to read the kids the story Jack and the Beanstalk.  And just for fun we read a different rendition of it in the form of a reader’s theater, which is ALWAYS fun! Some retelling picture cards to color I found are HERE at Sparklebox. Or you could make up your own creative writing titles (Jack and the potato plant,Jack and the Cornstalk, Jack and His Cow, etc.) That would be a hoot to write a creative story using Jack and the Beanstalk as a springboard!

Some kids added shells to their soda bottle terrariums, to make them look even prettier! 

  Also At are some PUPPET FACES for acting out the parts in the reader’s theater. HERE is a cute reader’s theater  HERE at Grandview Library there is lots of other reader’s theaters. We will soon do The Little Red Hen too. It’s a fun one. 

I think K loved doing this little science activity more than anybody else. She loved her terrarium! (notice the pride on her face). She would only put in one plant because she added some veggie seeds to hers and wasn’t sure they would have enough room to grow. I hope she isn’t expecting a bean stalk! 🙂

After reading the  Jack and the Beanstalk, write out a question to ask the class.  We have a big discussion about how honest Jack was, and if the Giant’s wife was nice or not, or why nobody comes down the beanstalk? 

These girls loved making terrariums too. 


Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Jack in the Beanstalk by Stephen Kellogg

We are also trying to learn to find the “main idea” in stories. At Brainpop I found a powerpoint on how to find the main idea.

Plants and Seeds are fun to study. Making Terrariums is a great activity for plant units. 
We added a few shells to these terrariums too for interest. 

Some fun color and sequence cards to go with the story are HERE at Sparklebox. These could also be made into a retelling book to add some sentences to. HERE at are some easy reader’s theaters to try. 

There is also a crossword puzzle of Jack and the Beanstalk at this link from ABC teach.  It was a fun activity for my kids to do after reading the story and acting out the reader’s theater. My students loved doing it. 

Close up of our terrariums 

 Clear 2 liter bottles make pretty good terrariums. I was thinking if I wanted to really seal them up I could have wrapped the seam in some 2 inch book tape, but all of the kids wanted to water their plants! Oh well. A good step by step how to is found at this link to Teaching Tiny Tots HERE. 

We added some rocks to the bottom, then about 3 inches of good potting soil, then the plants, and topped it with rocks again (and a few pellets of plant food). 

TERRARIUMS (using empty 2 liter bottles)

 A good book to read is  From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. She is a master of children’s science books.

 2 Liter bottle terrarium instructions HERE

Another fun planting activity I’ve done in the past is doing “Sprout Houses” in a zip lock baggie. That’s what we did last year. I pass out Lima bean seeds that have been soaking overnight. Then I pass out wet cotton balls. A link to a fun lesson plan using Lima beans is HERE at A to Z Teacher Stuff. 

We use the Lima beans as our seeds for our sprout houses which are another kind of terrarium. Tape them up against a window for light. Watch what happens in a week!  I really like the kids to plant radishes when we’ve done plantings in a clear plastic cup because they come up within about 2 to 3 weeks and you can see the roots growing.

Wet Lima Beans and cotton balls in a ziplock baggie make cute Sprout Houses. 

MUSIC  (use percussion instruments) 
A Seed Needs (To the tune of “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay” )  
I see you are a seed,
Tell me what DO you need?
I need some soil to grow,
And then the sun to glow,
Water to make me wet,
Air for my leaves to get,
Space for my roots to spread,
I’ll make your flower bed!

by: Iram Khan
POEMS  I always look for a poem to put on the back of art to sing or read together for shared reading. This is a great one for the backs of our puffy pumpkins we made out of orange butcher paper in the fall. See them HERE.  .
CELERY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT – We’ll do THIS experiment at teaching tiny tots.  We added red and blue food coloring to 2 stalks of celery in 2 jars and watched to see what would happen when the celery drinks up the colored water. Here are some pictures after a few days.

Celery and food coloring experiment – you can see the celery turned red (left) and blue (right) at the tips of the leaves! 

Ask what would happen to plants if people put pollution items in lakes and streams like oil, paint and car fluids and it went downstream and plants used that water to survive. Do you think the plants might get sick?

Our Plant and Seed Journals have lots of interesting activities in them like labeling plants, writing out what part of the plant we eat, crosswords, fill in the blanks, and this celery experiment.


A fun MATH ACTIVITY designing a garden for Frog and Toad for their 24 plants can be found HERE at birdville.k12. It is a math exemplar which are great math problems to solve that are challenging and fun. I will give the kids a page of clip art plants to color with 6 of each plant and they will choose the number of plants  and their own totals to map out a garden “array”.  The book is called Frog and Toad Together  by Arnold Lobel. The chapter is called The GardenHERE at Virtual Vine  are some other Frog and Toad activities like compound words which are great to print. 

Here are some pictures of multiplication arrays we’ve done after reading Jack and the Beanstalk. 
Making Multiplication Arrays with vegetables in rows and columns. 

 I turned it into a lesson on “arrays” and multiplication. They lined their garden veggies up and multiplied the “rows” times the “columns” of veggies. Here are a few finished ones.  Some did larger arrays and some just did 2 x 4. So it is a great lesson for differentiation with that open ended aspect to it. I also modeled one on the board and wrote in “column 1, column 2 and Row 1, Row 2 etc. So they labeled their columns and rows. Everybody did their totals a little differently.


Parts of the Plant Magnet Center Idea….

This idea was taken from a Red Butte Garden docent that came into my 2nd grade classroom and did this magnetic parts of a plant one year. I loved it so much I made one that very day!  I  have the parts of a yellow sunflower plant I made up and laminated and put magnets on the backs of all the pieces, along with the labels that I place out at the magnet center. Kids love to put the flowers together and label them. 

  I hope you enjoyed my plant and seed unit! It’s been a very popular one with the kiddos!