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Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™: How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow? 1-Use Module



Grade 2. Module Highlights: In 10 lessons over 13 class sessions, students investigate what plants need to live, grow, and reproduce, and how these factors are parts of a system that work together in each plant's habitat. Throughout the module, students will be aiming to understand an overarching phenomenon: Why is the number of grand spider orchids in Western Australia decreasing? They begin by asking questions about what makes a good habitat for a plant and observing how different plant parts have structures that relate to their function in helping the plant thrive. Students collaboratively plan and carry out investigations about whether plants need water and/or light to grow. As students make observations and use them as evidence to make claims, they also begin to learn about the interconnectedness of plants and animals in habitats. They look at real bees to discern structures that help with pollination, and engineer hand pollinators that mimic bee structures through asking questions about how to solve the problem of pollinator population decline. Students then investigate how seed structure relates to dispersal method, and use a computer simulation to investigate how different animals and plants live in different places and work together as parts in a system. In the science challenge, students use their knowledge of plant needs to decide where to plant two types of seeds, and analyze others' claims. Finally, students use their knowledge and evidence accumulated throughout the lessons to construct an explanation for why there may be fewer and fewer grand spider orchids each year.

This module includes a teacher guide, 16 Smithsonian Science Stories student readers, and enough materials for 32 students to use 1 time.

Alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards*
Performance Expectations

  • 2-LS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to determine whether plants need sunlight and water to grow.
  • 2-LS2-2: Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.
  • 2-LS4-1: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
  • K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
  • Plants depend on water and light to grow.
  • Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans
  • There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.
ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
  • A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering.
  • Asking questions, making observations, and gathering information are helpful in thinking about problems.
  • Before beginning to design a solution, it is important to clearly understand the problem.
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
  • Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people.
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Designing solutions
  • Developing and using models
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Asking questions
  • Constructing explanations
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Cause and effect
  • Patterns
  • Structure and function
  • Systems and system models
  • Stability and change

Concepts and Practices Storyline
Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: Plants and Places

Plants need many different things to live, grow, and reproduce.
Students analyze habitat photos to make claims about how a habitat can affect a plant's growth and reproduction. They ask questions about the grand spider orchid and its habitat to find out more information about the decreasing number of grand spider orchids.
Lesson 2: Plant Parts
A plant has parts that have structures related to their functions.
Students obtain information and make observations using text, illustrations, photos, and live plants to make connections between plant structures and their functions.
Lesson 3: Plan It Out
Investigations can be planned to determine whether plants need light and/or water to grow.
Students plan and carry out an investigation to investigate whether light and water cause a plant to grow.
Lesson 4: Sunshine and Rain
Plants need light and water to live and grow.
Students analyze and interpret data from their plant growth investigations to use as evidence to make claims about whether light and water cause a plant to grow.
Lesson 5: Flower to Flower
Bees have parts that help them move pollen from stamen to pistil.
Students analyze bee structures and how they function in moving pollen from stamen to pistil.
Lesson 6: A Gardener's Gadget
A solution to decreasing pollinator populations is designing hand pollinators to move pollen.
Students design a solution to the decreasing number of pollinators by mimicking bee structures and their function to make a hand pollinator.
Lesson 7: Hitching a Ride
Seeds have structures that relate to how they are dispersed.
Students use models to investigate how seeds' structure relates to their function and use their observations to support claims about seed dispersal methods, using evidence.
Lesson 8: Home on the Range
Different plants and animals live in different places and work together in their habitats.
Students analyze data about animal and plant ranges by using a simulation to discern patterns among plants and animals in a habitat and investigate how these parts work together in the natural world.
Science Challenge
Lesson 9: Place That Plant! Part 1

Plants can be placed in habitats that provide what they need to live, grow, and reproduce.
Students analyze and interpret information about two plants and use a map to make suggestions about where to plant them, using knowledge about what causes each plant to grow, how seeds will be dispersed based on their structure, and how the plant will be a part of the habitat system.
Lesson 10: Place That Plant! Part 2
The grand spider orchid is facing population decline because of its pollinator.
Students analyze an argument about where to place a plant in a schoolyard, based on what they know about how the parts in a habitat will work together to help the plant live, grow, and reproduce. They use evidence collected thorough the module to construct an explanation for the decreasing number of grand spider orchids.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


Shipping Information or Purchase Restrictions
  • HI residents must contact the HI Department of Agriculture before ordering.
What’s Included:
  • How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow? Teacher Guide
  • 16 Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series™: Blossoms, Bees, and Seeds
  • 1 Digital Access to Teacher Guide and Student Literacy (for 32 students)
  • 50 Beads, Blue Pony, 9 mm
  • 50 Beads, Red Pony, 9 mm
  • 4 Bookend, Small, Nonslip Base
  • 1 Bottle, Plant Mister
  • 16 Card Set, Ask and Argue
  • 8 Card Set, Mystery Seeds
  • 8 Card Set, Place that Plant
  • 16 Card Set, Plant Habitats
  • 16 Card Set, Save the Orchid
  • 2 Clamp Lamps, with Reflector (without bulb)
  • 50 Cockle Burrs
  • 16 Comparing Seedlings Sheet
  • 300 Cotton Balls
  • 500 Cotton Swabs
  • 60 Craft Stick, Wood
  • 60 Cup, Plastic, 1 oz
  • 33 Cup, Plastic, 7 oz
  • 25 Cup, Plastic, 9 oz
  • 1 Desk Fan, 6"
  • 30 Drinking Straw, Plastic
  • 1 Feathers, Pack
  • 2 Fur, Craft Sheet, 9 x 12"
  • 1 Honeybee, Dried, Pack
  • 32 Lens, Dual Hand
  • 2 Lightbulbs, Compact Fluorescent
  • 16 Magnifier Cube, 1"
  • 50 Maple Wings
  • 1 Pail, Plastic, 1 gal
  • 1 Paper Towel, White, Roll
  • 40 Petri Dish, 100 x 15 mm, with Lid
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Vocabulary
  • 100 Pipe Cleaners, Assorted Colors
  • 100 Pom-Pom, Blue, 3/8"
  • 100 Pom-Pom, Yellow, 3/8"
  • 8 Schoolyard Map
  • 1 Seed, Lima, Bush Bean, 1/2 lb
  • 2 Seed, Radish, var. "Scarlet Globe," 1 oz
  • 1 Soil, Potting, with Seed Starter, 16-qt Bag
  • 1 Sprayer, Plant Mister
  • 1 Tape, Measuring, 150 cm/60"
  • 40 Tray, Foam, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2"
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.