• Views 199
  • Favorites


Ecosystems, Measurement and Data


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, Biology, Math


90 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 2, 2022

In this lesson, students investigate plant growth by measuring their own plants.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students investigate a small portion of the school yard, such as a square foot, to discover what lives and grows there and then work together to answer the questions “Why are plants important for the Earth and for people?” and “What do plants need to grow?”


Step 2 - Investigate: Students watch a video about what plants need to grow and read a book to learn how gardening can transform a community and provide needed resources.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students create their own classroom garden from common items found at school and in their kitchens and predict and measure plant growth.


  • This lesson includes elements of project-based learning through hands-on activities.

  • This lesson is cross-curricular.

  • The materials are easily accessible for teachers and can be collected by students from home. Consumable items can be collected from home, donated by families, or even local companies that support education. If donations are not possible, seed and bean costs are minimal and can be shared among multiple teachers in a school.

  • Parts of the lesson can be conducted outdoors to connect with nature.

Additional Prerequisites

  • For the Inquire section, students need access to outdoor space with living things to observe.

  • The lesson time is approximately 90 minutes, but the lesson also requires 10-minutes daily for 2 weeks after the lesson to measure and log plant growth in their journals.

  • Students should have a basic understanding of the difference between living and nonliving things.

  • Students should have an understanding of what living things need to grow.


  • This lesson can be taught as three separate 30-minute lessons.

  • Students can graph growth at the end of the 2-week time period showing how their plants changed. This is an assessment opportunity for teachers to determine understanding of measurement.

  • If there is no possibility of a nature walk or finding space outside for observation, substitutions can be made such as observing a living plant in a pot, a photograph of a space outside, a raised garden bed, etc.

  • Due to the hands-on aspects of this lesson, English language learners can engage and be supported with vocabulary in their native language.

  • The Plant Growth Journal can be edited to include additional writing opportunities.

  • Measurements can be made through standard or nonstandard units of measure.

  • Graphing can be included for students ready to engage in graphing based on grade level.

  • Enrichment lessons can be included through designing outdoor space at students’ homes or creating a school garden.

This lesson lets students discover the importance of plants in their environment and the basic materials plants need for growth. It also contains an activity for students to measure plant growth rate so as to discuss the factors that influence plant growth. All the accompanying materials in the lesson are well-sourced, and this lesson has passed our science credibility review.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • K-LS1-1 Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Measurement & Data (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.1 Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.A.1 Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.

  • Students take a nature walk and observe their surroundings.

    • Students work with a partner to investigate a small area outside, such as a square foot of the school yard.

    • Students look for living things and record them on paper to create a map, picture, or list of what they find. This can be done on a playground, nature walk, or garden space by the school.

  • Students discuss with the class what they found living in the area outside. For younger students, teachers could use the sentence starter “I spy with my little eyes” to facilitate discussion.

  • Students share and discuss what living things need to grow and survive. From students' responses, the teacher will make a class list of items needed for all living things.

  • Students compare what plants need to survive with what kids need to survive.

  • SEL Check: Students discuss how they feel having all of the necessary items for survival. What may change if one is taken away? How would they feel? How would a plant feel in a similar situation?

  • Teacher leads discussion about the needs of children. Does every child have everything they need? What would happen if they do not have all of their needs met? Where could they get the help they need?

  • Students discuss why plants are important to people and nature.

  • Students learn what plants need to grow by watching a video.

  • Students discuss in a whole group or small group setting the following questions:

    • What are some plants you saw in the video that you may have seen before?

    • What do all plants have in common and what do they need to grow?

    • Where do plants grow?

    • How can we care for plants?

    • Why are plants important to people and the environment?

  • Teacher or students read a book about community gardening.

    • Option (K-1st grade) to borrow a copy from the library of Green Green: A Community Garden Story by Marie & Baldev Lamba with pictures by Sonia Sánchez.

    • Option (2nd grade) to borrow a copy from the library of City Green by DyAnne Disalvo-Ryan.

  • Students discuss how the story made them feel.

  • Using the Venn Diagram, students compare and contrast the neighborhood in the book to what they have or could create at school.

  • Students discuss how they could create a classroom garden.

  • Students plan for how to create their own classroom garden from common items found at school and in their kitchens.

    • Examples could include recycled items such as cans, milk cartons, bottles, tubs, boxes, or pots.

    • Students bring recycled items in from home. School lunchrooms or cafeterias can provide items such as washed-out milk cartons.

  • Students use their recycled items to create a planting container for their seeds.

    • Seeds can be dried beans or seed packets found at local food stores or donated by families.

    • Soil can be collected outside, or seeds can be grown in a damp paper towel.

  • Students work together to plant their seeds in recycled containers. They will water and place their plants in a sunny location.

  • Students predict and measure plant growth charting in their Plant Growth Journal.

    • Measurements can be made using standard or nonstandard units of measure such as Unifix Cubes, links, blocks, beans, etc.

    • Measurements should be taken and recorded daily to increase understanding and observe change.

  • Students continue to record plant measurements in their Plant Growth Journal.

  • Students compare growth charts to assess care differences, location differences with lighting, differences in the amount of water provided, etc.

  • After the lesson is complete, students can move their garden containers outdoors in appropriate weather or bring them home for continued care. As a follow-up activity, students can harvest and eat their food, leading into a nutrition discussion to make additional connections.

Similar Resources


Login to leave a review