Engaging with Nature

Plant Needs

Information for Educators

Experience nature through a scientific lens with investigations and experiments into plant parts and plant interactions with the environment.

This resource is intended for use by educators. In this resource, educators will find background information on plant science and activation strategies for use with students.

Essential Questions

How can scientific investigations help us understand plants and their habitats?

How do plant parts interact with the environment to meet the needs of the plant?

Key Understandings

Close looking helps us identify the structures plants use to grow and reproduce.

Plants have needs, and they meet these needs by interacting with their environment in complex ways.

Conducting investigations of plants’ structures and habitats can develop our scientific understanding of the plant world.

A Note on Materials and Spaces

The investigations and experiments in this resource encourage hands-on, multisensory engagements with plants and their environments. Some investigations can be completed in the classroom with precollected plant materials. Many investigations only require materials that are available at grocery stores!

Some investigations and experiments require access to a garden or a similar place where students can observe the environmental factors contributing to plants’ growth. We use the term garden in the resource, but many aspects of the investigations can be completed in other spaces such as parks, arboretums, nature preserves, and other natural areas. Educators are encouraged to adapt the investigations to their unique available space. When an investigation requires access to a garden or a similar place, we note this in the required materials.

Supported Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

  • LS-1-A. Structure and function.

  • LS-1-C. Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms.

  • LS-2-A. Interdependent relationships in ecosystems.

  • LS-2-B. Cycles of matter and energy transfer in ecosystems.

Next Generation Science Standards (Key Practices)

  • Practice 3. Planning and carrying out investigations.

  • Practice 4. Analyzing and interpreting data.

  • Practice 7. Engaging in argument from evidence.

  • Practice 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.