Early Childhood

Life Cycle Engage

Hello NSTA Community, I am a student teacher to 1st graders and we are going to start covering life cycles. What are some good ideas I can do in my engage section? 

Gloria Ortega
Gloria Ortega
445 Activity Points

You could have students start a science notebook where they record observations through drawings or writing about plants, caterpillars, other insects, etc.! Anything hands on will be engaging!

Abbi Staack
Abbi Staack
1985 Activity Points

Hello Gloria,

There are many possibilities and I concur with many of the other replies - try to incorporate hands on as much as possible.  

One of the best ways is by growing plants from seeds. Using peas or beans you can show the different life stages with a minimal budget. I've seen seed packs in discount stores. I'm sure you're aware of the plastic baggie and wet paper towel activity. It is great! I recommend that you soak the peas or beans overnight before the students set up their little green house bags. In a short time students will see where plants come from and you can discuss the different parts of an adult plant. Go for a walk outside and have students identify the same structures in the plants and trees they see.  Flowering plants reproduce via flowers - so get some cheap flowers and identify the parts.  Make sure to cut open the ovary and display the ovules waiting to be pollinated.  You can then bring in a discussion of pollinators. Do a little grocery shopping to get different fruits, pea and bean pods and identify the seeds (and have a snack!).  And where to fruits come from?  Flowers!  

Animal reproduction usually takes more time than you have to do a hands on activity completely during your practicum.  But, you can get really cheap mealworms at a pet store and house them in clear plastic food containers with oatmeal for food.  (Tell them you're teaching grade 1 kids and they might give them to you for free). Mealworms are the grubs of darkling beetles and in a few weeks you will see pupae and adults.  You can ask the pet store if they can scoop some pupae and adults from their stock.  Eggs of the beetles are almost impossible to find, but you can ask the students to conjecture how the larvae came about. Have students observe and journal the different life stages.  Use magnifiers to have them get real close ups!

If you have a budget and time, consider butterfies (purchased from science suppliers) or lady beetle larvae (from some garden centres).  I had a terrarium (just an old aquarium) of stick bugs in my classroom.  They don't go through a complete metamorphosis like beetles or butterflies, but you can find the eggs they drop onto the bottom of their enclosure (they look like tiny, black acorns).  Isolate them in smaller containers and see the nymphs hatch out.  This bug is interesting - they can reproduce without mating (parthenogenesis) and males are very rare.  But, it is a life cycle.

Hope this helps!

Gabe Kraljevic




Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
4079 Activity Points

Hello Gloria, for the enagage section of your lesson you can take the students outside and have them take their science journals. While they are outside have them observe the plants, caterpillars, birds, etc. Tell them to draw what they see and take notes. Mention to them that they are going to learn about plants and animals before you take them outside. 

Jessica Oviedo
Jessica Oviedo
910 Activity Points

Hello Gloria, I would say bring some chicken eggs to the classroom and have the students predict what happens to the eggs? Do they stay an egg forever? You can do the same for a plant seed have them predict what will happen to the seed if they were to plan it under soil and water it?

Kate Segovia
Kate Segovia
170 Activity Points

Hello Gloria!

My name is Mariana Meza, a student at the University of Houston. I am doing my 5E Lesson plan on the life cycle of the lesson plan. Something that I came up with was having the students plant their own seed and water and record the growth of the plant once each week till it flourishes. Apart from actually learning of the cycle of the plants, doing the hands-on activity will help the students retain the information more! 

Mariana Meza
Mariana Meza
220 Activity Points

Hello Mariana, 


I really like how you want to implement a hands-on activity and visual representation for your students this will definitely help your students retain the information. Aside from planting a seed will the students be tracking the growth of the plant.

Andrea Jaime
andrea jaime
405 Activity Points




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George Mehler
George Mehler
1340 Activity Points

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