• Elementary Science Grade 3 Unit 3

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 3 
    Timeline: 12 weeks
    Unit Title: Plant Life Cycle

    Unit Overview: 
    In this unit students engage in scientific inquiry utilizing Brassica rapa, the Wisconsin Fast Plant. They explore the concept that plants go through distinct stages that are part of a life cycle.  After planting seeds, students observe and record the first stages of growth.  Using a bee stick to simulate the actions of a bee, students gain an understanding of pollination and its role in fertilization.  They explore the relationship between form and function as they construct models of a Brassica plant and of a bee. 

    Unit Objectives:
    • Patterns of change can be used to make predictions.
    • Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort and classify natural phenomena.
    Cause and Effect
    • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change.
    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
    • Observable phenomena exist from very short to very long periods of time.
    Systems and System Models
    • A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.
    Energy and Matter
    • Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems.

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content:
    S4.A.1.3.1 Observe and record change by using time and measurement.
    S4.A.1.3.3 Observe and describe the change to objects caused by heat, cold, or light.
    S4.A.1.3.4 Explain what happens to a living organism when its food supply, access to water, shelter, or space is changed.
    S4.A.2.1.1 Generate questions about objects, organisms, or events that can be answered through scientific investigations.
    S4.A.2.1.3 Observe natural phenomena, record observations, and then make a prediction based on those observations.
    S4.A.2.1.4 State a conclusion that is consistent with the information/data.
    S4.A.2.2.1 Identify appropriate tools or instruments for specific tasks and describe the information they can provide.
    S4.A.3.1.1 Categorize systems as either natural or human-made.
    S4.A.3.1.2 Explain a relationship between the living and nonliving components in a system.
    S4.A.3.2.1 Identify what different models represent.
    S4.A.3.2.2 Use models to make observations to explain how systems work.
    S4.A.3.2.3 Use appropriate, simple modeling tools and techniques to describe or illustrate a system.
    S4.A.3.3.1 Identify and describe observable patterns.
    S4.B.1.1.1 Identify life processes of living things.
    S4.B.1.1.2 Compare similar functions of external characteristics of organisms.
    S4.B.1.1.3 Describe basic needs of plants and animals.
    S4.B.1.1.4 Describe how different parts of a living thing work together to provide what the organism needs.
    S4.B.1.1.5 Describe the life cycles of different organisms.
    S4.B.2.1.1 Identify characteristics for plant and animal survival in different environments.
    S4.B.2.1.2 Explain how specific adaptations can help a living organism survive.
    S4.B.3.2.1 Describe what happens to a living thisng when its habitat is changed.
    S4.B.3.2.2 Describe and prefivct how changrsd in the envitonment can affect systems.
    S4.B.3.2.3 Explain and predict how changes in seasons affect plants, animals, or daily human life.
    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:
     LS1.B:  Growth and Development of Organisms
    • Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism.  Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles.
    LS2.D:  Social Interactions and Group Behavior
    • Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes.  Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size.

    LS2.C:  Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

    • When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die. 

    LS4.C: Adaptation

    • For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

    LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

    • Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.

    LS1.A: Structure and Function 

    • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

    LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

    • Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.

    LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

    • The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants, or plants parts, and animals) and
      therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.

    LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

    • Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment, and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment.
    Concepts - Students will know:
    • the structure and function of parts of plants.
    • the structure and function of body parts of animals
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • examine and identify structures of select plant specimens.
    • explain how the structure of various plant parts corresponds to their function.
    • explain how different parts of a plant work together to permit the plant to survive in a specific environment.
    • examine and identify external structures of select animals.
    • explain how the characteristics of those structures correspond to their function.
    • explain how different external structures of an animal work together to permit the animal to survive in a specific environment.

    Formative Assessments:
    • Pre-Assessment
    • Notebook Entries
    • Whole Group and Small Group Discussion
    • Teacher Observation
    • Record Sheets
    • Scientific Drawings
    • Building Models
    • Graphing
    • Interpreting Data
    • Student Self Assessment
    • Formative Assessment Probes
    Summative Assessments: 
    • Performance Assessments with Rubric
    • Notebook Entries with Rubric
    • Post-Assessment

    Elements of Instruction:
    Developing and Using Models
    Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to
    represent events and design solutions.
    • Develop a model to describe phenomena.

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.

    • Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning.

    • word walls and flip charts
    • structured notebooks
    • differentiated grouping
    • learning center
    • whole group discussions


    • Research (crucifer plants, honey bees)
    • Written and oral reports
    • Design and conduct experiments with Brassica rapa
    • "How Far Can You Grow" Taking Plant Growth and Development beyond the kit extension activities

    Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Language Arts:
    • Science/Literacy kit (informational text)
    • "The Life Cycle of Plants" (informational text)
    • research/report bee anatomy, physiology and behavior
    • research/report other crucifer plants
    • write a script (drama) depicting bees and pollination
    • research "African Honebees:  Killer Bees" 
    • measure, record, and graph growth of plant seeds
    • identify parts of a graph and interpret data
    • interpret data from selected graphs
    • art project using seeds
    • collect leaves and do spatter paintings or leaf rubbings

    Additional Resources / Games: