Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Digital Plants...Alike and Different!

Shannon Flynn
Okaloosa County Schools


Use digital cameras and games to motivate students to learn about plants! Students get to take their own pictures of plants and compose them into a learning game about the similarities and differences of plants.


The student understands similarities and differences among plants.


-Digital Cameras, preferably one Sony Mavica FD per group
-Floppy disks, one per group
-Computers, one per group
-Color printer with ink and paper
-3x5 index cards, 10 per group
-Copies of Playing the Game Instructions, Digital Plants Chart, How's My Game? Rubric, How's My Chart? Rubric (see associated files)
-Bulletin board and lettering


1. Make student copies of Playing the Game instructions, Digital Plants charts, How's My Chart? rubric, and How's my Game? rubric forms. (See associated file.)
2. Charge the digital camera batteries. Install software if necessary.
3. Separate index cards into sets of ten, enough for one set per student group.
4. Assign students to groups based on variable ability levels. Groups should have at least three students, but no more than five students.
5. Prepare the bulletin board with a divided background and title.


Note: This lesson requires that students have prior knowledge of use of the digital camera and how to work in groups.

Days 1 and 2:
1. Ask for ten volunteer students to line up at the front of the room. Ask the rest of the class how the volunteers could be sorted into two groups based on how they are similar (boys and girls, light and dark hair, etc.) Rearrange the volunteers based on the input from the class. Discuss with the class that living things share similarities and differences.

2. Explain that the students will be working in groups to create a game to show similarities and differences of plants. Tell them that they will create ten pictures mounted on cards and labeled with an identifying title. To demonstrate that there are similarities and differences to be found, they will also create a chart with possible similarities and differences that could be identified from the cards. Go through the instructions for playing the game so that students will know how the game will be played. (See associated file.) Go through the assessment rubrics to be sure the students know what is expected. (See associated file.)

3. Review expectations for working in groups. (Give encouragement. Respect others. Stay on task. Use quiet voices. Participate. Stay in groups.) Assign students to their groups.

4. Student groups take pictures of plants found on the school grounds. If you can get a parent volunteer for each group, they could accompany them as they look around for plants. If not, take the entire class outside together so you can monitor them as they look for plants to photograph.

5. Student groups download pictures, change the sizes to smaller than 3x5 inches, and print them out. Then they cut out the pictures, mount each on a 3x5 index card, and identify them by writing a title of their choice on the card, such as “Mrs. Smith's plant” or “the flower outside the library.” The purpose of the title is to provide a method to identify the picture card on the chart during the game.

6. Student groups work together to complete a Digital Plants similarities and differences chart that includes at least ten examples of similarities and differences that could be identified using their cards. They work together to complete only one chart in order to demonstrate that they understand how to find similarities and differences. (See associated file.)

7. Use the rubrics: How’s My Game? and How’s My Chart? to formatively assess the games and the charts. (See associated file.) If a game is not acceptable, help the group fix it before proceeding to the Day 3 activities.

Day 3:
8. Students' groups set up their games to be ready to play. They place the cards, face down, on a desk. Each group sets up in a different location in the room.

9. Give each student a blank Digital Plants Chart page. Student groups rotate among the games. Each student completes an individual chart of similarities and differences while they play the games. (The instructions can be found in the Playing the Game associated file.) As each group finishes at one game site, they move on to another one until they have all completed their Digital Plants charts.

10. Discuss with the class what similarities and difference they found. Attach cards from the games to a bulletin board that is divided and labeled with the title: Plants can be… Similar (on one side) Different (on the other side).

11. Use the rubric: How’s My Chart? to formatively assess the completed Digital Plants charts completed during the game. (See associated file.)


Groups of students use original digital pictures of plants to create a similarities and differences card game. Each group also creates a chart of possible similarities and differences that could be found in their game.

Each student will play the games created by other groups and complete a plants' similarities and differences chart from the games they play. Use the rubrics to formatively assess the games and the charts. (See associated files.)

Criteria for the game:
1. The picture cards include examples of at least ten different types of plants.
2. The picture cards include examples of plants that display similarities and differences.

Criteria for the similarities and differences charts:
1. The chart clearly describes similarities and differences between at least ten sets of plant cards.


Students may research the specific names of their plants to use as labels for the cards. Then they write sentences that state similarities and differences for specific plants.
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