The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone - Plants: 7-9
Links and Resources
A scheme of work by Hamilton Trust in which children find out about the parts of flowering plants and their functions, and investigate the conditions affecting plant growth and how water is transported in plants.
Ideas are also provided for learning about the stages of plant life cycles, in particular seed formation, dispersal and germination. Many children hold misconceptions believing that plants need the same conditions for seed germination and plant growth, so it is important to distinguish between the two. Whilst some seeds can germinate without soil, they cannot grow to mature plants without a source of nutrients.
This resource by FERA ( Food and environmental research agency) includes some practical ideas such as a Pollination roleplay where children model the process of insect pollination. They also are encouraged to investigate why been numbers are declining. This resource includes a short video to find out the job of a scientist at the Bee Unit in Fera. Observing and classifying are highlighted as key skills used in identifying insect pests.
This outdoor activity is a brilliant kinesthetic way for children to role play pollination. Be a bee participants forage amongst different species of ‘flowers’ collecting ‘nectar’ with their ‘honeybee’ or ‘bumblebee’ (plastic syringes) before returning to fill the ‘hive’ or ‘nest’. Participants discover that they transfer ‘pollen’ (glitter) between flowers, with fruit produced if the pollen matches.
From this the children could think about what might happen if we didn't have enough bees to pollinate plants. They could also design their own flower gardens to attract bees and think about how they might improve their school grounds.
The Great Plant Hunt was created to encourage children to think about plants and to look at the work of Charles Darwin. There are activities for each year group. Throughout the children are encouraged to get outside and look at their local habitats. They can then collect leaves from the plants that they find and store them by pressing. Darwin made collections and kept a herbarium - a collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data used for scientific study these collections are vitally important for conservation work. The children could talk about the significance of the national plant and seed collections for conservation.
In these activities the children recreate the thinking walks that Darwin used to do. They also do some practical work to identify the conditions that plants need to grow successfully. They should compare different plants as their requirements vary according to their habitat. Children could then practically investigate which conditions seeds need to germinate. Many seeds will germinate without soil however they need soil in order to grow into mature plants. This would be a good investigation for children to explore.
In addition, they could think about the garden that Frog Belly Rat Bone grew and think about why the first batch of seeds failed.
Opal have created this really useful pack of outdoor activities, which aim to develop an understanding of the importance of pollination in the wider environment. Designed for use in the school grounds or when visiting a wildlife area, they link to the topics of plants and animals. Children look for signs of spring, evidence of different forms of pollination by wind or animal, they identify parts of a plant and how some plants are attractive to pollinators. The children could use their observations to help them as they create a plant lifecycle poster / drama / dance or model.
This is a simple checklist to help children identify the main characteristics of fruits and seeds by making careful observations, drawing them and labelling their important features. They can then group them according to their dispersal mechanism and use this knowledge to construct a simple dichotomous key.