Activity 1.2: Expressing Ideas About How Plants Grow (30 min)

Target Student Performance

Students ask and record specific questions about changes in matter and energy in response to the unit driving question: How do you think that a plant grows, moves, and functions?

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Prepare your computer for showing the PPT as well as a time lapse video of a plant growing . Have 1 copy for each student of 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions Tool for Plants Growing, 1.2 Plants Storyline Reading: Learning from the Work of Asima Chatterjee, and sticky notes. If you are using it, print one copy of the Big Idea Probe: Houseplant for a Busy Family for each student.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


Use the student responses to the class discussions and also their ideas on the 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions Tool for Plants Growing, as well as the 1.2 Assessing the Expressing Ideas Tool for Plants Growing to assess their thinking at the beginning of the unit. By the end of the unit, students should be able to explain what happens when plants grow and move at macroscopic and atomic molecular scales. For now, listen to students’ ideas, with attention to how they describe matter and energy. Most of your students will probably express learning progression Level 2 or Level 3 ideas at this time.


If you are teaching this to multiple classes, print multiple copies of the poster, one for each class. Alternatively, have all classes combine their answers and have students look for similarities and differences.

  • Refer back to Expressing Ideas and Questions from Systems & Scale and/or Animals as a model
  • Strategic grouping with strong speakers 
  • Provide sentence stems to aid individual writing and for discussion
  • Insist on ideas and questions from all students
  • Emphasize that there are no incorrect answers and check for alternative ideas that may be cultural in nature
Extending the Learning