Free Nature Studies: How Plants Grow

Free Nature Studies: How Plants Grow
Free Nature Studies: How Plants Grow

Each part of a plant — root, stem, leaves, and flowers — has an important role to play.

Now we begin the third section of the book, Garden Life, covering plants in 12 lessons including how plants grow, flowers, roots, stems, leaves, wildflowers, pollination, trees, seeds, and wheat/bread.

Read current chapter online: “How Plants Grow”

  • Create an eggshell garden for use throughout this section of the book. Of course, an egg carton will work here.

Pupils will delight in making and caring for an eggshell garden in which many small seeds may be grown for observation. Any stout pasteboard box may serve, but a small wooden box will stand the wear much better. Cut in the top of such a box a number of circles of the proper size to receive the half of an eggshell. Fill the shells with rich soil; sow the seeds, and keep them well watered and in a sunny window, and material for very interesting studies is easily obtained.

Our Wonderful World Teacher’s Manual
  • Copy Genesis 1:11,12 into your notebook.
  • Find out what a canna is.
  • You can follow along experimentally with the discussion by having the following plants pulled, washed and ready for examination:  weeds, a bean plant, a lettuce plant, a tomato plant, a radish plant, a beet plant.  You may also wish to have a magnifying glass on hand.  Have your child examine each part of the plant as it is described and record his observations in a notebook.
  • Record the functions of roots mentioned (to hold the plant firmly in the ground, to feed the plants, and to eat).
  • Make a list of edible roots.  You’ll find helpful resources below.
  • What plants grow from bulbs? Check the PlantFacts List at Ohio State University.
  • Make a list of edible stems.  You’ll find helpful resources below.
  • Review the scientific method at Why is it important to get all the facts first before coming to a conclusion?
  • Record the functions of stems.  See the resources below for help.
  • Record the functions of leaves.  See the resources below for help.
  • View a leaf closeup at the Museum of Science in Boston to see the “little openings or mouths.”
  • Try the experiment mentioned in the lesson by placing a leaf against a window pane and watching the water collect on the glass.  Apply the scientific method to the experiment and record the findings on a scientific experiment method sheet.
  • List the various ways plants protect themselves from losing too much moisture.
  • Something to do #1 & #2: You’ll find helps and notebooking resources for labeling the parts of a plant below.
  • Something to do #3: You’ll find information on the different types of stems mentioned at the University of Arizona.
  • Something to do #4:  Instead of the window pane experiment mentioned above, try this transpiration lab activity at Georgian Court University.
  • Something to do #5:  You’ll find helps below for charting the growth of the seeds.
  • Something to do #6:  The book Useful Plants below will help you make a list of plants that are of most use to man.
  • Something to do #7: This page from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens explains how some animals use plants.
  • Use the Bible verses listed for copywork or dictation.
  • More about plants from the Book of Knowledge:

Like a man, a mouse or an elephant, a plant has a body with different organs.  We have a mouth to swallow food and water.  The plant absorbs water through its roots and root hairs.  We have a stomach to digest food.  The plant has leaves to make food.  The plant has no lungs or gills, so it has to breathe all over its surface.  Hence, although you would not drown even if you kept your feet in water for many days, a tree can easily be killed if the ground is flooded and its roots are unable to get oxygen.  It can not send oxygen down from the leaves to the roots.

The principal parts of a seed plant are the leaves, the stem, the roots, the flowers and the fruit.  The fruit contains the seeds.  As you know, the fruits are produced by the flowers.

“The Structure of Seed Plants,” The Book of Knowledge
  • Plants
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers plants beginning on page 453, and continuing through page 731. The beginning pages cover how to begin the study of plants and their flowers, and then follow guidelines for investigating specific wildflowers, weeds, garden flowers, cultivated crop plants, trees, and flowerless plants.

Further Investigation

Eggshell Planters
How-to from the Pottery Barn.

Plant Parts
Simple explanation of the parts of plants and their functions at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Botany: Plants Parts and Functions
Explanations of each part of the plant and what they do. Use the menu under the introductory paragraph to see them all. From the University of Arizona College of Agriculture.

What Parts of the Plant Do We Eat?
Chart showing the edible parts of plants at the University of Illinois Extension.

Bulb Anatomy
Diagram and information from


Plant Parts Salad
Make a salad with edible plant parts with these instructions at

Plant Parts We Eat
Download from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service includes a small booklet to put together with room for listing flowers, stems, leaves, roots and seeds that we eat.

Look at Those Seeds Grow
Directions at

Sock Seeds
Download Mr. Q’s free Lab Notes for observing seeds grow.

Add Color to Flowers Using Science
Fun and easy transpiration experiment at


The First Book of Plants {Free eBook}
Free public domain title that makes an excellent introduction to plants and can be used as a helpful plant study reference.

Useful Plants: Plants Adapted for the Food of Man Described and Illustrated
Short and wonderfully illustrated book in the public domain that is “devoted to an exposition of the immense varieties of Vegetable Food which the goodness of God has placed at our disposal.”  Great read for young people.

Free Nature Studies: How Plants Grow

The World of Plants by Dinah Zike
Dinah Zike was known for her foldables before lapbooks became popular. In this book she incorporates that learning tool with learning about plants. Includes 24 complete lessons including templates, activities, the scientific method and suggestions for further activities and research. You’ll find an example lesson at the publisher’s website. Lessons on roots, stems and leaves are included.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Plant Science
22-pg download from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service covering plants in general including parts we eat.

Starting Plants From Seeds
Everything you need to know in this free download at Cornell University.

Forcing Bulbs
Another free Cornell download with step-by-step instructions for this great winter project!

Peanut Unit {Free}

Peanut Unit {Free}
Great way to see how plants grow!

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Parts of a Vascular Plant
Diagram suitable for notebook from University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Center.

Parts of a Plant Lapbook
Labeling foldable from

Plant Parts Worksheet
Great notebook page at

We Eat Different Parts of the Plant
Plant labeling activity at the top; parts of the plant we eat categorized below.

Science Experiment Notebooking Pages
Very nicely done from

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

How Plants Grow Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, and several of the Something to Do activities mentioned in the lesson.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World