During the spring and summer months an easy theme you can use to cover goals for your younger and older students is the plant life cycle.
When I was working with K-8 students, I would try and think of themes or activities that could be adapted for both age groups because it made easier for me to plan and not feel like my brain was constantly shifting gears when it came to teaching content.
Today, I am going to share resources and activities you can do to teach language using the plant life cycle.
Planting Sensory Bin for Younger Students
Our younger students learn best from exploring and what better way to work on a plant life cycle then with a planting sensory bin.
All you need is a sensory bin filler (i.e., black beans, or real dirt), fake flowers from the Dollar Store or flower Toobs, a shovel, mini watering can, and mini pots for planting the flowers. If you need more spring sensory bin ideas, you can check out this blog HERE.
For SLPs that LOVE sensory bins and enjoy doing a flower theme, you can use this flower sensory bin companion to cover all your goals during play therapy.
Books that Teach the Plant Life Cycle
Another great way to discuss the plant life cycle is through books. This can be a great resource to help work on wh-questions, describing, and building vocabulary in the context of the book. Here are some book recommendations that would help you teach the plant life cycle (Amazon Affiliate links include):
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Plant the Tiny Seed by Greenwillow Books
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
The Amazing Life Cycle of Plants by Kay Barnham
Videos to Teach Plant Life Cycle’s and Vocabulary
There are a lot of great videos that walk through the plant life cycle for children. What can be great about using videos is that it can visually show students the process. When kids can see it in a video, they will be more likely to stay engaged.
Scishowkids has a great video for discussing the parts of a flower, which has some great tier II vocabulary words to work on such as support, stiff, study, separate, nutrients, collect, healthy, or spread.
You can also have students work on explaining the process for how a seed becomes a plant. Particularly, you can give your students transition words to use to help connect their ideas while explaining the plant life cycle.
Here are a couple of songs to use with younger students to explain the plant life cycle. If you search “plant life cycle songs” on YouTube, you will find more options!
Even More YouTube Videos for Discussing the Plant Life Cycle
Fun Science Demos on YouTube has some good videos that visually show where you can find seeds on a plant. I don’t know about you, but I love watching videos with real people using real-life examples. It helps me to understand the content a lot more thoroughly. You can use these videos to discuss main idea and details as well as answering wh-questions. You could also practice using conjunctions and transition words while summarizing the video.
YouTube Videos About Plants for Older Students
Ted-Ed has a lot of great videos that discuss cool science about how plants grow. These videos more friendly for the older student and you won’t get accused for bringing in kiddie materials. In addition, using plant videos aligns with the science standards for life sciences. Here are a couple of videos I thought middle schoolers would like.
Curriculum to Teach Plant Life Cycle in Language Therapy
Have you ever heard of Mystery Science? It has easy to follow videos that answer a question about a science mystery. Often times, the videos also come with a hands on science experiment. What I love the most about Mystery Science is that it even has videos for each of the steps for completing the project, so it helps our students with receptive language challenges follow directions easier. This could be a great resource for using in your small groups to work on tier II vocabulary, syntax, wh-questions, working together in a group, and summarizing. Furthermore, this could be your next collaborative co-teaching activity for a general education classroom. I am sure you could offer to help with a science lesson in your student’s class and co-teach with the student’s teacher. If you are wondering how to co-teach, here is a blog post breaking down collaborative services.
Mystery Science has two great plant series that can last you up to 2 months of therapy. There is the Power of Flowers series that has four lessons and Plant Adaptations that includes five lessons.
Plant Life Cycle Craft Ideas
Students really do love making crafts. It can be a great way for them to process the information you are sharing with them. When I do choose to do a craft, I want it to be functional for their goals and the concepts that we are doing. You could do this plant life cycle unit for 2-3 weeks and on the last week, allow your students to craft a flower life cycle craft. If you have a lot of mixed groups, there are templates for different sounds and language targets, so everything is working on their goals.
I also saw a fun craft using two paper plates. You can draw the plant life cycle on one plate and then cut a triangle out of the other plate. Attach the two plates with mini brass paper fasteners. Your students can rotate the plate to share the steps of the plant life cycle.
What Activities and Resources Do You Use for Teaching the Plant Life Cycle?
What resources, crafts, books, or activities do you use to teach the plant life cycle? Share in the comments because I am always on the hunt for more relevant resources.