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Hands-On Plant Activities for First Grade

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Are you planning a plant unit for your first graders this spring? With the right activities, you can turn your class into a room full of budding botanists! In this post, I’m sharing my favorite hands-on and engaging plant activities for first grade. These activity ideas will help plant science come to life for your students!

Plant Activities for First Grade

Concepts to Teach in a Plant Unit

When you start looking for activities to use in a plant unit, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by choices. To narrow things down, it’s helpful to focus on activities that will help you cover a wide range of plant-related concepts, like:

  • Learning about the parts of a seed
  • Understanding the plant life cycle
  • Observing seed germination
  • Learning about the parts of a plant and how plants stay healthy
  • Understanding how plants help us

Prioritizing what you want to cover in your plant unit will make it easier to find the best activities for your students.

Plant Activities for First Grade

With those concepts in mind, here are some of my favorite plant activities to use in first grade. Each of these ideas can be used to cover at least one of those five important plant science topics.

1. Seed Dissection Investigation

Since plants start from a seed, it only makes sense to start a plant unit by learning more about seeds. A great way to do this is with a seed dissection! It makes it so much easier for students to understand the parts of a seed when they can see a real-life example.

A petri dish with a lima bean sits next to tweezers and a seed diagram

In this activity, students dissect a lima bean to help them investigate the different parts of a seed. They also get to color and label a seed diagram as part of this hands-on investigation.

2. Plant Life Cycle Craft

Learning about the plant life cycle is also an important part of any plant unit. This fun craft is a great way for students to learn about what happens during the process of a seed becoming a plant.

The Life Cycle of a Plant flower craft

Students always love how this craft spins and are eager to take home the final product to share with their families. Talking about the plant life cycle at home is a great way to help those new vocabulary words stick! 

3. Growing a Seed

Once your students have learned about how seeds become plants, it’s time for them to see it in action! These student greenhouse bags are a fun way to help students observe the process of seed germination.

A greenhouse paper holds a bag with beans and a wet paper towel

Students will place a seed and wet paper towel inside of a plastic bag. Attaching a greenhouse frame is a fun way to label the bags and mount them to the classroom window. Students are always excited to check on the progress of their seed germination each morning. They can even track their seed growth data over the course of the unit!

4. Parts of a Plant

After focusing on the process of how a plant grows, it’s time to learn more about the plant itself! Teaching students about the parts of a plant can help them better understand what it takes for a plant to stay healthy. They can learn that the parts of the plant you can’t see, like the roots, are just as important for the plant’s health as what you can see.

Parts of a Plant diagram activity

A diagram is an engaging way for students to document what they’ve learned about the parts of a plant. They can color the picture and then add the correct labels to help them practice the new plant vocabulary.

5. Chloroplast Investigation

We all know how much first graders love to ask about why things are the way they are. That’s why this chloroplast investigation is always such a fun addition to a plant unit. You’re able to discuss with your students why leaves are green. 

"Coloring Chloroplast" worksheet with leaves in a small beaker of water

This hands-on activity introduces students to the importance of chloroplasts and chlorophyll. They can even see chlorophyll in action as they complete this investigation with plant leaves. 

6. Photosynthesis in a Bag

Photosynthesis might be a mouthful for young first graders to pronounce, but you can make the actual process easier for them to understand! This kid-friendly model of photosynthesis is a great way to help students understand the important role that plants play in the health of our planet.

Adding a water bottle to a bag with a paper leaf on it

You can show them how a leaf takes in carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water by putting those items in a bag. Then you can pull out sugar and oxygen from the bag to illustrate the result of photosynthesis. Students are always so fascinated by this “magic” trick!

7. How to Grow a Plant Writing Craftivity

You can give your students a chance to share what they’ve learned about the plant life cycle and what it takes to keep a plant healthy. In this writing craftivity, students will practice their informational writing skills as they write about the different steps in growing a plant.

How to Grow a Plant craft and writing activity

Students can create a plant craft to go with their writing. This is a fun way for students to share what they have been learning about plants! You can even display your students’ completed crafts on an interactive bulletin board.

Hands-On Plant Unit for First Grade

All of the activities mentioned above (and more!) can be found in one fun and comprehensive plant unit for first grade. I have put together two weeks’ worth of lessons that will help you address NGSS standards while incorporating literacy and math practice.

A variety of printable plant activities sitting on a table

In this time-saving resource, you’ll find detailed lesson plans, vocabulary cards, and differentiated reading passages to make the most of these plant activities. Your students will be budding botanists by the end of this two-week unit! 

Just head over to my TPT shop to take a closer look at everything included in this resource.

Save These Plant Activities for First Grade

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later! Add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest so you can quickly find this post when you’re looking for first grade plant activities.

Plant Activities for 1st Grade

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Stephanie Stewart

Stephanie Stewart

Hi, I' Stephanie! I’m always looking for new ways to put a creative twist on the standards and I love helping primary teachers do the same in their classroom. Think of me as your virtual teaching partner right down the hall. I can’t wait to share new lesson ideas, teaching tips, and engaging K-2 resources with you!

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Welcome

Hi, I’ Stephanie! I’m always looking for new ways to put a creative twist on the standards and I love helping primary teachers do the same in their classroom. Think of me as your virtual teaching partner right down the hall. I can’t wait to share new lesson ideas, teaching tips, and engaging K-2 resources with you!

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