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Learning Experience/Unit

How Do Bean Seeds Grow Into Plants? by ECSDM

Course, Subject

Biology/Living Environment, Math, Science & Technology

Grade Levels

Elementary, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade


Students should have some previous experience with the concept of life cycles prior to introducing this unit.


  • Students will be able to tell or draw to describe the life cycle of the bean plant.
  • Students will be able to put the pictures of a developing bean plant into its life cycle order.
  • Students will be able to participate in experiments and document their finding by drawing pictures.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of sorting and classifying during bean identification activities.
  • Materials

    One set of the following materials per student:

  • paper
  • scissors
  • coloring and drawing materials
  • a wide variety of bean seeds
  • cups to sort bean seeds
  • plastic baggie
  • plastic plate
  • paper towel
  • 10 oz. see thru plastic cup
  • some potting soil
  • lima beans for planting
  • Experiments

    • Students will sort and classify a variety of bean seeds and record their observations.
    • Students will conduct an experiment and place lima beans in water to observe the effects water has on the seeds. They will also form a control group with no water to form a comparison.
    • Students will conduct the "Paper Towel Plants" experiment to begin the opening of the lima bean and growth of roots and record their observations.
    • Students will plant the baby lima bean plants in soil to observe any further growth.

    Step-by-Step Procedure

    Use the SMART Notebook file to guide the lesson. (This can be found in the Support Materials section below.)

    Day 1:

    1. Slide 1: Begin by asking students to list some of the things that living things need to grow and change.
    2. Slide 2: Have students define what they think a bean seed is and what it would need to grow and change. Write these on the idea web on Slide 2.
    3. Slide 3: Explain that we are going to do a study to see how bean seeds grow and change beginning with a little research. We will view the short video “Flowers and Seeds” with Timothy Littleboot to get some ideas and some information about seeds.
    4. Slide 4: Discuss the video and what they observed and learned about seeds. Explain that we are going to study bean seeds very closely to see how they grow and change.

    Day 2:

    1. Slide 5: Model the song lyrics for "Seeds Grow Into Plants" using the tune from the Farmer in The Dell.
    2. Slides 6, 7, and 8: Use the Enchanted Learning Book "A Sprouting Bean" and the illustrations to show and discuss the stages of bean growth. Ask students to respond to the information and tell what they think plants may need to stay alive.
    3. Slides 9, 10 and 11: Discuss what plants need to live, reading the text for discussion.

    Day 3:

    1. Slide 12: Invite students to identify the parts of plants they recognize.
    2. Slide 13: Return to the idea web to add new ideas and facts we have learned.
    3. Slide 14: Ask students to participate in the activity of placing the pictures to demonstrate the life cycle of the bean plant.

    Day 4:


    1. Slide 15: Read the text to the students. Introduce the first bean seed experiment of observing and exploring dried bean seeds. Provide a wide variety of dried beans, in many sizes and colors for the students to explore and observe and use a hand held magnifying glass. Demonstrate how they can be sorted and grouped according to how they look.
    2. Students should use small cups to group each type of bean. Ask students to summarize their findings by telling the class about the seeds they studied and what they saw.
    3. Have students draw pictures of the seeds and record a sentence about their findings.
    4. Slide 16: Discuss how the beans look, feel and smell. Explain that each seed has a coat that protects it and how water helps the bean seed to get ready to do its growing. State that we are going to do an experiment to see if it is true that water will help our lima bean seeds to grow and change.

    Day 5:

    1. Do the second experiment of placing about 7 to 15 lima beans in clear cups of water to soak overnight. Try to have at least one bean per two students to allow for close study. Prepare other cups without any water and put the same amount of beans in the cups to create a comparison group.
    2. Record student’s observations as you do the experiment. Briefly explain that a hypothesis is a prediction of what we think may happen and record their predictions on a chart. You can evaluate the results of the experiment and refer back to their predictions, confirming or negating based on their observations of what has happened to the bean seeds.
    3. Slide 17: Distribute if possible “The Bean Sprout” handout (from Enchanted Learning.com), or one like it, detailing the stages of growth of the bean seed to help children summarize the steps both verbally and in written form.

    Day 6:


    1. Slide 18: Describe for students the last experiment that is in two stages. In the first stage, students will view and follow the steps described to establish their own paper towel plants.
    2. Ask students to record their hypotheses of what may occur while experimenting in class. Continue to record observations during the experiment using both pictures and words.
    3. After the first part of the experiment has been conducted, review how the lima bean seeds grew and changed, naming the parts that grew while it was in the bag. Refer back to the SMART Board diagrams to help students recall the names of the parts that they will begin observing.
    4. Have students record the changes daily and discuss what their own bean seeds are doing and report these to the class. It is recommended that you make extra paper towel plants in case of casualties.

    Day 7:

    1. Slide 19: Once the beans begin opening and creating some roots, the second part of the experiment begins.
    2. Plant each student's budding beans in a cup with soil. Have students record their daily progress and spray water on their plants every day. Stand back and watch the show…encourage students to use the new vocabulary they have learned as their bean plants grow and change. Send the bean plants home for further growing and changing.
    3. Have students discuss their data and findings, using the notes and pictures they have taken during the process.
    4. Summarize the conclusions they have drawn by writing dictated sentences in simple patterns on a chart paper with each student's name. Use this as a discussion and a reference point to help students prepare for their own writing about the growth and change of seeds. Please see the assessment section for the writing activity.


    Enchanted Learning

    Materials and Resources


    ESL Considerations

    1. Use of a limited vocabulary used in pattern sentences is useful to allow students an opportunity to grasp and practice new words.
    2. Use of visual representations while discussing the topic helps students to make immediate connections to vocabulary.
    3. Repeated opportunities to view the Smart Board and video presentations will reinforce vocabulary and allow other opportunities to understand the vocabulary.
    4. Accepting limited answers and drawings as responses, encourages student participation.
    5. Read text aloud and encourage students to participate in 'reading' photos to gain information.


    Use a variety of posters and picture books, (both fiction and non-fiction) to visually demonstrate how seeds grow and change.

    Some book suggestions are listed below:

    • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
    • From Seed to Plant (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler
    • The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow (Magic School Bus) by Joanna Cole, John Speirs, and Bruce Degan
    • Curious George Plants a Seed (Curious George Early Readers) by H.A. and Margret Rey
    • The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson
    • How A Seed Grows or the Spanish edition - Como crece una semilla (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Helene J. Jordan and Loretta Krupinski
    • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
    • One Watermelon Seed by Celia Barker Lottridge and Karen Patkau
    • Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
    • From Seed to Pumpkin by Jan Kottke
    • From Seed to Sunflower by Gerald Legg
    • Plant a Seed of Peace by Rebecca Seiling
    • A Seed in Need: a First Look at the Plant Cycle (First Look: Science) by Sam Godwin and Simone Abel
    • The Sun Seed by Jan Schubert
    • From Seed to Pumpkin (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale
    • Spring Is Here! A Story About Seeds (Ready-to-Read. Pre-Level 1) by Joan Holub and Will Terry
    • The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
    • How a Seed Grows Into a Sunflower (Amaze) by David Stewart
    • All About Seeds - Pbk (Now I Know) by Susan Kuchalla and Jane McBee
    • From Seed to Dandelion (Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers: How Things Grow) by Ellen Weiss
    • I'm A Seed (level 1) (Hello Reader) by Jean Marzollo and Judith Moffatt

    Some chart or poster recommendations might include:

    • Scholastic magazine and National Geographic Magazine for Children have posters that are always attractive and informative.
    • How Seeds Grow - Chart, How Plants Make Food, Plants on the Grow Bulletin Board Set Manufacturer: FRANK SCHAFFER
    • Plant Kingdom Poster Set Manufacturer: MCDONALD PUBLISHING
    • Vegetables & Fruits Poster Cards Manufacturer: WORLDCLASS LEARNING MATERIALS
    • Photo Fun Plants 8/Pk 8-1/2'' X 11'' Manufacturer: EDUPRESS
    • Plants Thematic Unit Manufacturer: TEACHER CREATED RESOURCES


    Help students to write and illustrate a book telling about the sequential development of seeds growing into plants. Use four sheets of scaffolded paper in growing sizes, stapled at the top.

      • The first page should be the cover and include the title and authors name.
      • The second page should describe the "beginning" of the seed process.
      • The third page should include the "Middle" of the seedling process.
      • The fourth page should include the "Ending" of how the seed grows into a plant.

      See attached rubric.

    • writing rubric.doc
    • Duration

      Seven days of lessons that are about 40-minutes each.

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