Cycling Through Plantsby: Ann Cavallo

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Through a sequence of three related learning cycles--exploring seeds, germinating seeds and monitoring plant experiments--third-grade students answer answer these and other questions about plant growth and discover that new seeds are made from the plants they grow. The activities in these learning cycles are not new, however they are uniquely presented as connected learning experiences with some cycles occuring simultaneously.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:40 PM

The author leads you in a comprehensive lesson that connects multiple learning experiences as students learn about the life cycle of plants. This lesson has six learning cycles each supporting the previous cycle. The activities support the 5E’s. The lessons are engaging and use reading, writing and math in a science setting. I like that the teacher allows students to explore and bring in prior knowledge to each of the lessons. The student become fluent in the scientific names of a plants life cycle. The multiple learning cycles in the lesson allows students to frequently use the vocabulary and this leads to a better understanding of the topic. The last lesson of the learning cycle allows students to create their own research questions and experiments. This student led lesson allows students to uses the skills that they learn and apply to this last lesson. This lesson helps students build a strong foundation on learning the life cycle of plants and helping them enhance their scientific learning skills in the process.


  • on Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:09 PM

I feel that this is a great article to read because it provides a lot of valuable information and ideas that can easily be implemented in a classroom. One of the things that I really like is that the article provides many great examples of how students can be actively engaged when learning about the life cycle of plants, such as making a seed booklet, dissecting a seed, and planting a bean seed. These activity ideas are really beneficial for teachers who have kinesthetic learners in their classroom. I also like how the lessons use a more student-centered approach where students explore the different parts of a seed with a group or partner. This allows children to monitor their own learning as well as cooperatively work in groups. Also, the article does a great job explaining some challenges that can occur when having students complete the various activities, such as the students’ bean plants growing mold and/or not sprouting. It is very important that teachers are cognizant and plan for challenges and other mishaps to try to make sure that lessons go more smoothly and effectively. Furthermore, the lesson ideas in the article are well organized and connected. For example, in the beginning lesson, students create an observation booklet that they will be able to use for subsequent activities.

Michelle B
Michelle B

  • on Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:00 PM

This is an excellent article that packs a lot of punch; simple bean seeds and their investigations can be utilized to teach the basics of botany, inquiry, and process skills. Easy and inexpensive, the students will enjoy the the world they uncover with their seed investigations. The careful sequence of activities builds student understanding of germination and plant growth in a manner that allows reinforcement of earlier concepts as students move through the activities. Why wait? Start tomorrow and have sprouts in your classoom next week!

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:13 PM

This article is full of great ideas for "hands-on" science learning involving seeds and plants. I found the article to be easy to use, easy to read, and applicable to the grade I teach. The student examples of writing/illustrations and the use of science journals was very valuable. It provided me with ideas on how to get my young scientists excited about seeds. I plan to use the lesson plan ideas in this article during an upcoming unit on plants and seeds.

Amber  (Anchorage, AK)
Amber (Anchorage, AK)

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