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In this well-developed lesson, students create a Photo Story 3 presentation on the life cycle of a plant


Computers & Internet, Science  


1, 2  

Title – Life Cycle of a Plant
By – Raquel Cantu
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 1-2

Suggested Time Frame:

    1 to 2 weeks (observation period may run into the third week)

Standards Addressed:


        (Grade 1) 2A, 6B, 7D, 9AB


        (Grade 2) 2A, 6C, 8A, 9AB



      (Grades K-2) 2A, 2C, 2E, 7A, 11A-B

General Goal(s):

    The students will learn the stages of the life cycle of a plant. The learner will also be able to photograph every stage of the life cycle of a plant and with teacher assistance will be able to create a photo story about the different stages of the life cycle of a plant.

Specific Objectives:

  • The learner will understand that plants have a life cycle.
  • The learner will observe the changes that occur during plant growth.
  • The learner will be able to identify each of the different stages of bean plant growth.
  • The learner will be able to place in the correct sequence the different growth stages of a plant.

Required Materials:


From Seed to Dandelion


The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted


Soy una Semilla

      , (depending on level and language of students)
      Video (optional):

The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed


The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted

    , (depending on level of students). (Teacher can obtain videos from school library, public library or download from United Streaming.)

Activity Materials:

  • Bean seeds
  • Water
  • Ziploc bags
  • Cotton balls
  • Clear tape
  • Digital camera
  • Computer


  1. The teacher can introduce the topic by using any of the following options:
    1. Read the book From Seed to Dandelion or The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted or Soy una semilla
    2. Show students the video The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed or The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted
    3. Taking a walk through the school grounds (if plants and greenery are available).
  2. The teacher may use guided questions to begin the introduction of the topic:
    1. “How do you think these plants or flowers got here?”
    2. “How quick did they get here?”
    3. “How long does it take them to grow to this size?”
    4. “What do they need to continue to grow?”
    5. “What happens if they don’t get these things?”
  3. Begin the discussion of the Life Cycle of a Plant :
    Discuss the different stages a plant goes through (seed, seed sprouts, roots, stem and leaves, flower).
  4. Let the students know that they will each plant a seed and document the steps of a plant’s life cycle.

Step-By-Step Procedures for planting the seed:

      Capture a picture of every step of this process. Each student will use a minimum of five pictures.
  1. Give each student a Ziploc bag, one cotton ball, one bean seed, a piece of tape.
  2. Instruct them to write their name at the bottom of their bags (with a marker if possible).
  3. Instruct them to soak their cotton ball in water and then bury the seed inside the cotton ball.
  4. Have them open the Ziploc bag and tape the cotton ball with the seed about 4 inches down inside the bag.
  5. Grab a second cotton ball and soak it in water and have them squeeze some more water into the cotton ball that contains their seed.
  6. Find a window that has access to sunlight daily and tape the Ziploc bags to the window. Remind them that they may have to add water to their cotton ball either daily or every other day. (Do not allow the cotton ball to dry out).
  7. During the following days allow them enough time to observe their bag and take note of any changes (also allow them to take pictures of any changes in their bags).
    1. Very soon their seeds will begin to change ( sprout ).
    2. Their seed should also begin to develop roots.
    3. A stem should soon be visible.
    4. Leaves should be next.
    5. Soon enough, a seed will show ( flower ).

Plan for Guided Practice:

      Create a short Photo Story of the

Life Cycle of a Plant

      (minimum 5 photos).
  1. Introduce the photos (through projector or document camera) and allow students to identify the different stages of the life cycle.
  2. Have them place the photos in order (sequence of events).
  3. Once this is done and students seem to have mastered this activity, move over to the computer and introduce them to the Photo Story software.
  4. Notes: The following steps might have to be mostly guided by the teacher, but once the students are more comfortable with Photo Story, the teacher can step back and allow them to work independently. Also, by this point, the teacher has already imported the photos into the computer.
  5. Teacher may want to break the students into groups, that way all students are given the opportunity to create their group Photo Story.
  6. Guide them on how to open Photo Story.
  7. Show the students how to insert photos into Photo Story, by clicking and dragging.
  8. Show the students how to insert text to describe the stage of the life cycle that is being shown.
  9. Show the students how to insert “Audio”. Give opportunity for each student to insert his or her own voice.
  10. Show them how to “Preview,” “Edit” and “Save”.
  11. Note: Remember all of these steps will be guided by the teacher. If time permits, teacher can create a Photo Story with entire class first and then allow students to work in groups.

Plan for Independent Practice:

      Draw/describe the sequence of a life cycle of a bean seed.
  1. Take a page and divide into four sections.
  2. Have the students label the squares: 1-4.
  3. Have the students illustrate and describe the steps of the bean’s life cycle.

    Note: The teacher can eliminate steps 1 and 2 by running off a handout similar to this one.


      Review the topic that was learned and allow all students to share their

Life Cycle of a Plant Photo Story

    to the class.

Adaptations (For Students with Learning Disabilities):

  • Allow student to work with a partner or teacher during Guided Practice.
  • Allow student to only draw and color (no description needed) during Independent Activity.
  • Have previously prepared cards of Life Cycle of a Plant and allow student to place cards in sequential order.
  • Allow verbal or oral response.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

  • Allow them to do research on a seed of their preference and let them insert their research into their Photo Story.
  • If time permits – allow them to create their own Photo Story on the Life Cycle of a Plant or even the Life Cycle of an Animal .


      The students can be assessed by any or all of the following:
  • Teacher Observation
  • Being able to place in sequential order the life cycle of a plant.
  • Being able to illustrate the life cycle of a plant.
  • Group Assessment — Putting together a Photo Story on the Life Cycle of a Plant
    (may not be graded if this is their first time using Photo Story due to teacher assistance).

Possible Connections to Other Subjects:

  • Reading — Find a reading passage that may be related to the Life Cycle of a Plant .
  • Writing — Have the students write a short paragraph on what they learned about the Life Cycle of a Plant .
  • Math – Measure the length of time (days) it takes for the bean to grow roots or a stem. Create a graph comparing the amount of time each student’s bean seed took to grow.
  • Math — Measure the amount of water drops needed to wet a cotton ball completely. Create a graph of the amount of drops used per student.
  • Fine Arts — Allow the students to bring in and create a mosaic or a picture using different types of seeds.

E-Mail Raquel Cantu !

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