What plants need to live

What plants need to live

I can name the things that a plant needs to live.

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What plants need to live

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Students learn about what a plant needs to live: water, sunlight, air, and soil. They also practice identifying those items. The lesson also includes a worksheet that can be printed for students to draw plant needs.


Next Generation Science Standards:

Learning objective

Students will be able to identify the needs of plants and explain how plants use these things to survive.


Ask students to brainstorm about the things they absolutely need to survive. Then have them turn and discuss those things with their partner(s) and explain why they need them. Ask students to compare how their lists are similar and different. As a class, discuss if food and water were included in the things needed to survive. Tell students that plants also need these things to survive and that this lesson will focus on the things that plants need to survive. When we know what plants need to survive, we can grow plants, which are a key part of our food cycle! Ask students to think about their favorite fruit or vegetable- we can only eat it because farmers know how to grow these delicious plants for us!


Start by defining what a plant is, and then say that the four things that a plant needs to survive are water, sunlight, soil, and air. Discuss how plants use water- namely that they absorb the water with their roots which are (usually) found in the ground below the plant. Next, discuss air and explain that plants take in air through their leaves. They use the air to make food for growth. The next thing plants need is sunlight. They take in sunlight just like air, through their leaves, and use it to make food for growth. Finally, explain that soil or dirt is used as a home for the plant. They need the soil to anchor and grow their roots so that they can stand upright to catch all the possible sunlight and air to make food. They also get nutrients from the soil. Ask students to drag the picture to the correct box to show what a plant needs to survive. Next show the images on the interactive whiteboard. Ask students to determine if the images shown are needed by plants or not by dragging a green checkmark or red x to the object. Then ask students to become assistant detectives! Ask students to drag a magnifying glass over each object in the picture that represents a plant's need. Ask students to think about a favorite place in their house. Have them consider if it would be a good place to grow a plant. What would a good place for a plant be in their home? Then ask a student to come to the front and draw a good place to grow a plant on the interactive whiteboard. Students can also draw on a separate sheet of paper.


Students are given multiple-choice questions in which they must determine plant needs, and true/false questions to check their understanding of concepts given in the lesson.


Repeat the learning goal and discuss the different plant needs. To close the lesson, ask the students to draw each of the things a plant needs on the graphic organizer shown on the interactive whiteboard.

Teaching tips

Challenge students to come up with "odd" plants- namely plants that don't seem to follow the rules. Examples would be "air plants", orchids (that grown on trees rather than in the ground) and mangroves (which have a large portion of their roots above ground).
You can also choose to give students a paper copy of the graphic organizer shown on the last page and have students draw on each sheet of paper individually.

Instruction materials

The lesson contains a printable version of the graphic organizer for the closing activity.

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