Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Plastic Bag Greenhouse

Elizabeth Elliott
Colleges and Universities - Florida


Students observe, record, and describe how roots, stems, and leaves grow.


The student knows that some source of energy is needed for organisms to stay alive and grow.


-Book: Stewart, Sarah. [The Gardener]. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1997.
-Lima beans (or any type of quick growing seed)
-Plastic Ziploc bags
-Paper towels
-Stapler & staples
-Masking tape
-Computers with Internet access
-Teacher's Discussion Notes, Parts 1 & 2 (See Associated File)
-Student Activity Sheet (See Associated File)


1. Locate and preview the book, [The Gardener], by Sarah Stewart.
2. Familiarize yourself with the plant growth cycle. (See Teacher's Discussion Notes in Associated File)
3. Gather needed materials for the lesson.
4. Download and copy one Student Activity Sheet (See Associated File) for each student.


Begin the lesson by reading the book, [The Gardener], by Sarah Stewart.

1. Discuss with the students the different parts of a plant.

2. Discuss the process of photosynthesis.

3. Discuss how plants produce the food that we eat.

1. Use Part 2 of the Teacher's Discussion Notes (See Associated File) to continue the discussion of what plants need to grow and stay alive.

2. Place a folded paper towel inside the plastic bags.

3. Staple a line across the bag 2 from the bottom.

4. Fill bags just below the staple line with water.

5. Drop in the seeds.

6. Seal the bags.

7. Tape the bags to the classroom windows with masking tape across the top of the Ziploc bag.

8. Have students complete the Student Activity Sheet. (See Associated File)

PART 3 Over the next several days...
1. Predict how long it will take to grow.

2. Begin a journal of the daily life cycle of the plant.

3. Observe and record daily the changes that occur in the greenhouses.

1. Have the students work in pairs and explore the Website, The Great Plant Escape. (See Weblinks)

2. Instruct students to choose a case to solve on the Website.


1. Observe the students during the discussion period. Make sure they understand the concepts being presented by verifying oral correct answers.
2. Check for understanding in their journals. Do their writings indicate that they know that some source of energy is needed for organisms to stay alive and grow?
3. Check the Student Activity Sheet for correct answers. (See Associated File)
4. Print out answers from the Website. (See Weblinks)

Also, circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.

Web Links

Help Detective LePlant and his partners, Bud and Sprout, unlock the amazing mysteries of plant life!
The Great Plant Escape

Attached Files

Teacher's Discussion Notes Parts 1 and 2, Student Activity Sheet.     File Extension: pdf

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