Sunday, November 6, 2011

Annotated Bib - Plants

Plants play the most important role in the cycle of nature.  Without plants, there could be no life on Earth.  They are the primary producers that sustain all other life forms.  In fact, plants are the only organisms that can produce their own food.  Therefore, certain characteristics of plants set them apart from other living things.  The following books and web sites are great resources to teach the basic needs and functional parts of plants to first graders.

From Seed to Plant.  By Allan Fowler.  2001. 32p. Children's Press, (9780516273075). Gr. 1-3.

This book introduces young readers to the importance of seeds.  Additionally, the book discusses pollination and fertilization.  Adorned with colorful photographs and simple text, the book encourages children to read independently as they discover how seeds become plants.

Leaves.  By Vijaya Khisty Bodach.  Illus. by Shannon E. Denton. 2007. 24p. Capstone Press, (9780736896214).  Gr. 1-3.

This book explains the important functions of leaves.  In particular, the discusses how leaves enable plants to make their own food by using water, air, and sunlight.  Additionally, the book explains how the veins inside leaves bring the food to the stem of plants.  The book mentions that leaves give off oxygen, which is vital for human life.  In addition, students are exposed to different types of leaves, such as those found on trees, as well as leaves in which we eat (i.e. lettuce).  The book contains full-page photographs accompanied by "kid friendly" text.  Furthermore, the book contains a glossary and different resources that provide further information.

Look Once, Look Again: Plant Leaves.  By David M. Schwartz.  Illus. by Dwight Kuhn. 1998.  Creative Teaching Press, (9781574713282), Gr. 2-4.

This Look Once, Look Again series book taps into readers' sense of sight.  The book introduces young readers to leaves by providing vivid photographs of the leaves of moss, cabbage, fern, sundew, maple, and the colored leaves of autumn for students to analyze.

Look Once, Look Again: Stems and Roots.  By David M. Schwartz.  Illus. by Dwight Kuhn. 1998. Creative Teaching Press, (9781574713275), Gr. 3-5.

Another addition to the Look Once, Look Again series, this book allows students to explore various stems and roots, the essential plant parts that give us radishes, blackberries, peas, corn, and strawberries.  This is a great book for students to utilize their sense of sight.
Plants Are Living Things.  By Bobbie Kalman.  Illus. By  Crystal Sikkens. 2007. 24p. Crabtree Publishing Company, (9780778732570). Gr. 1-3.

In the book, Plants Are Living Things, students are provided with a wealth of information on plants.  The book begins by explaining the things in which all living things need to survive.  Additionally, the author explains that plants are living things because they are made up of cells.  The author describes different kinds of plant life, as well as identifies the parts of a plant using a simple illustration.  Moreover, the book shows the life cycle of plants and exposes students to plants that do not necessarily grow from seeds.   Finally, the book explains how plants make food through photosynthesis.  In general, this book is a great resource for younger readers because it provides excellent visuals that are labeled to guide understanding.

Roots. By Vijaya Khisty Bodach.  Illus. by Kelly Brown.  2008. 24p. Capstone Press, (9780736896221).  Gr. 1-3.

Using simple text and magnificent photographs, this book presents information about the roots of plants.  Additionally, the book describes different types of roots and the roots in which we eat.  The book also provides readers with a diagram that identifies the parts of a corn plant.  At the end of the book, readers will find a glossary and other resources to explore.

Stems. By Vijaya Khisty Bodach.  Illus. by Kelly Garvin. 2008. 24p. Capstone Press, (9780736896245). Gr. 1-3.

This Plant Part series book introduces students to the stems of plants.  In particular, readers learn why plants need stems.  Additionally, different kinds of stems are discussed, as well as the stems in which we consume.  The book concludes with a labeled diagram that features the parts of an oak tree.

The Tiny Seed.  By Eric Carle.  Illus. by Author.  2009. 36p. Little Simon, (9781416979173). Gr. 3-5.

Author and illustrator extraordinaire Eric Carle uses plant life as the basis for the book, The Tiny Seed.  The book describes the life cycle of a flower told through the adventures of a tiny seed.  Additionally, the mini-book includes a piece of detachable seed-embedded paper on the front cover.  The paper is marked with a message to encourage readers to plant the entire piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny seeds grow into beautiful flowers.

Web Sites
The following web sites are an excellent way for students to build their understanding of the basic needs and functional parts of plants:

Brain Pop Jr.: Plant Life Cycle Game
This sequence game requires students to place cards in order to show how a seed grows into an adult plant.

BBC: Helping Plants Grow Well
This game requires students to see if they can make a plant grow to a full, healthy height.  Students must use determine the necessary levels of water and temperature.

The Great Plant Escape
In this game, students must help Detective Leplant and his partners, Bud and Sprout, to unlock the amazing mysteries of plant life.  The "In Search of Green Life" game requires students to identify the different parts of the plants, functions of the parts, and how plants grow.

Plant Growth Factors
Students must complete different simulations in which they examine the effects of different factors on plant growth. 

Plant Life, Plants Galore
This interactive game requires students to examine the different stages of plant life.  Students must match different plants to the appropriate category (i.e. fruit, herb, flowering plant, plant with seeds).

For Teachers

Virginia Standards of Learning
Standard 1.4 The student will investigate and understand that plants have basic life needs and functional parts and can be classified according to certain characteristics.  Key concepts include
(a)   plants need nutrients, air, water, light, and a place to grow;
(b)   basic parts of plants; and
(c)   plants can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.

Background Information
  •  Plants have basic needs, including nutrients, air, water, light, and a place with sufficient space to grow.
  • Plants have different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
  • The functions of plant parts include the roots which hold plants in place and absorb water, seeds which make new plants, leaves which make food for the plant, and stems which hold the plants upright and transport materials up and down the plant.

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