The purpose of this lesson is for students to discover whether or not plants need sunlight to grown and what makes plants green and healthy. In groups of four, the students will make observations of plants in sunlight, of plants in artificial light, and of plants with no light. The students will create a spreadsheet to show comparisons of the three plants' growth. They will communicate their findings through a bar graph. The students will make inferences and draw conclusions based on their observations and data collected.
By the end of this lesson, the students will know whether or not plants need sunlight to grow; know that chlorophyll is responsible for making plants green and healthy; demonstrate their results through a spreadsheet and bar graph; and demonstrated knowledge of computer skills.
Plants need certain things to live and grow. We will do an experiment to help us discover whether or not plants need sunlight to grow. Do plants need sunlight? What happens if plants do not get sunlight? What makes plants green and healthy?
Computer Function: Graph
Computer Application: Spreadsheet
Data Manipulation: Students will enter data collected on the growth of their plants over three weeks. They will record the measurements they recorded every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a total of 9 measurements for each plant. Students will create a bar graph to show the variances in plant growth.
Resources (per group)
3 green healthy plantsAccess to closet or dark space
Access to Sunlight
Data collection sheet (chart with 3 plants across the top and spaces underneath for measurements)
Access to computer and printer
ClarisWorks or Microsoft Excel
Think Sheet (see below)
Results Presentation (Bar Graph and Think Sheet)
Activities while at the computer: The students will enter their collected data onto a spreadsheet. Two people from each group will use a computer to enter data or the groups can rotate to computers during center time. Then, they will create a bar graph to represent the plant growth. The students will print their graph (one for each group member) to answer the Think Sheet questions and analyze their data. Note: students will need previous computer experience or you will need to teach lessons on spreadsheets and graphs prior to this lesson.
Activities prior to computer: The students will label their plants with "sun", "artificial", and "no light" and their group member's names. Then they will measure each plant and record it on their data collection chart. Next they will place their plants in the appropriate places. Each day, the students will water their plants. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 3 weeks, the students will measure their plants and record the data on their data collection charts.
Activities after using the computer: The students will use their data and bar graphs to answer the Think Sheet questions. This will allow them to analyze the data and discover the answer to the problem: do plants need sunlight to grow? Have a class discussion of the results. Optional follow-up activity: try the experiment with seeds in bags and compare/contrast the two experiments.
Supporting activities: Class discussion of elements needed for plant growth; text reading assignments on plants (learn about chlorophyll); worksheets on elements needed for plant growth; plant reports; vocabulary; field trip to Botanical Garden.
Evaluation: Observation of students' data collection during measurements; observation of student discussions during experiment; collection of Think Sheets for grading; students' verbal answers to questions during class discussion; and quiz following plants unit.
Plant Growth Think Sheet
1. Looking at your graph, which plant grew the most?
2. Why do you think it grew the most?
3. Which plant grew the least?
4. Why did this plant grow the least?
5. What happened to the plant that had no sunlight?
6. Do plants need sunlight to grow?