The Sunflower unit on Plants is divided into three sections:
1. Plants in our own neighborhoods
2. Plants as food
3. How plants work
In the first section, students examine the plant life in their own neighborhoods. By undertaking a "field study" of the block around their neighborhood, children gain appreciation for the diversity of plant life even in an urban neighborhood.
In the second section, students examine the foods they eat every day, and learn to appreciate our dependence on plants as a food source. They also learn about plant foods that grow in their parents' native countries, and get a sense of the diversity of plant life in different parts of the world. Finally, they look at specific foods, and discover that foods we eat come from many different parts (root, stem, leaf, etc.) of a plant.
In the final section, students experiment to learn how a plant works. First they look at germinating seeds, and then they experiment to understand the critical role of light and water in the development of plants. Finally, students do an activity that illustrates the important role of the leaves in maintaining the health of the plant. In this section, children begin to understand a bit about the complicated process of photosynthesis how plants make their own food.
The length of time the Plant Unit takes to complete depends on the number of extension activities you choose to do. In total, you should expect to spend about 9-10 weeks. Since the final 4 weeks are dedicated to plant growth experiments, many teachers begin another Sunflower unit (we would recommend Water or Air) while finishing up Plants.
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