What do plants need to survive and thrive?

Lesson: Plant Parts & Functions

Level: 4th Grade

Source: The Living Lab Program at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden


  • SC.4.L.16.1: Heredity and Reproduction
  • SC.4.L.16.2: Heredity and Reproduction
  • SC.4.L.16.4: Heredity and Reproduction
  • SC.4.L.17.3: Interdependence
  • SC.4.L.17.4: Interdependence
  • SC.4.N.1.1: The Practice of Science
  • SC.4.P.10.1: Forms of Energy
  • SC.4.N.1.6: The Practice of Science
  • SC.4.N.1.7: The Practice of Science
  • SC.4.N.1.4: The Practice of Science

Learning Goals:

  • Students will be able to identify botanical adaptations and use critical thinking to hypothesize on the purpose behind said adaptations.
  • Students will be able to identify and explain the significance of the parts of a plant.
  • Students will be able to identify the main means of seed dispersal.
  • Students will be able to describe the needs of plants and how these needs are met.

Resources for guided learning: Living Lab Plant Lab Book


  • Lab books
  • Writing Utensils
  • Various Crafting Materials
  • Optional: iPad and microscopes


Activity 1: Students will identify and pull out a common plant (Spanish Needle) by the roots. They will then dissect the plant by removing examples of each part of the plant, attaching it to their lab books in the appropriate place, and labeling each part. Students record any observations they have on the plant’s parts.

Activity 2: Students form small groups and examine a collection of different types of seeds. They utilize lab book questions as a guide to discuss the various dispersal methods possible for each seed, and sort them accordingly.

Activity 3: Student groups participate in a scavenger hunt for unique plant parts and adaptations, recording their discoveries and making hypothesis as to the function of said adaptations in their lab books. Students utilize iPads with connected microscopes to examine and photograph botanical samples as they explore the Botanical Garden searching for adaptations.

Activity 4: Students participate in large group circle time, discussing their findings and sharing photographic evidence.

Activity 5: Students use craft supplies to create their perfect unique plant to demonstrate their knowledge on plant parts and adaptations. Students share their plant with the group and explain the purpose of each part they created.


You can download and print the lesson plan. Simply click on the link.

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