Unit Title

Sharing the Planet: Learning About Plants with Nonfiction Reading and Writing



Designed by

Jessica Phillips

Time Frame

7 Weeks

Stage 1- Desired Results

Science Standards

Strand 3: The Living Environment

Standard 15: Students will be aware of the diversity of living organisms and how they can be compared scientifically.

Sci15a. Explain the similarities and differences in the way plants and animals look and in what they do.

Sci15b. Identify the features of different plants and animals that help them thrive in different environments.

Sci15c. Sort living things depending on which features are used to group them.

Sci15d. Understand that plants and animals progress through life cycles of birth, growth and development, reproduction, and death; the details of these life cycles are different for different organisms.

Standard 16: Students will understand the structure, functions, and reproduction of living cells and organisms.

Sci16a List the basic needs of plants (e.g. air, water, sunlight).

Standard 17: Students will understand how and why organisms are dependent on one another and their environments.

Sci17a. Explore how plants have features that help them live in different environments.

Sci17b. Know that animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants, or even other animals, for shelter and nesting.

Sci17c. Know that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and explain why different kinds of plants and animals live in different places.

Strand 4: Scientific Inquiry

Standard 1: Students will demonstrate their understanding of the importance of curiosity, honesty, open-mindedness, and skepticism in their own efforts to understand how and why universal phenomena exist and occur.

Sci1b. Plan and conduct simple investigations, making predictions and observations.

Standard 2: Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.

Sci2a. Know how to describe and compare things in terms of number, shape, texture, size, weight, color, and motion.

Sci2b. Know how to draw pictures that correctly portray features of an object being observed or described.

Standard 3: Students will be familiar with the character of scientific knowledge and inquiry and how it is achieved.

Sci2b. Know how to draw pictures that correctly portray features of an object being observed or described.

Sci3b. Explain why accurate descriptions are important in science.

Sci3c. Know that tools such as thermometers, hand lenses, and rulers aid inquiry by gaining more information.

Standard 4: Students will be able to select and use tools and instruments to conduct scientific activities.

Sci4a. Use ordinary hand tools and simple equipment to construct, measure and look at objects.

AERO Language Arts Standards


Students demonstrate an understanding of craft and structure.

2.1 Explain major differences between genres.

2.4 Know and use various text features. (e.g. headings, table of contents, glossaries, bold words, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

Students integrate knowledge and ideas presented in diverse media/formats

3.3 Use illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

3.4 Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

3.5 Compare and contrast two texts on the same topic.


Students write a variety of text types for a variety of purposes.

5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

5.4 Uses appropriate transition words.

Students will demonstrate research skills

7.1 Participate in shared research and writing projects.

7.2 Recall information from experiences.

7.3 Gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

7.4 Formulate questions with support.

Listening, Viewing, and Speaking:

Students listen and speak to communicate and collaborate with others.

8.2 Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.

8.3 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through our media.

8.4 Ask and answer relevant questions.

Language Foundations:

Students understand and apply the conventions of English when writing and speaking.

10.7 Capitalize dates, proper nouns, and the first word in a sentence.

10.9 Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.

ISTE: Educational Technology Standards

Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Digital Citizen

Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

2b. Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

2c. Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

Knowledge Constructor

Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

3a. Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.

3c. Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

6a. Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.

6b. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

6c. Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

6d. Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

PYP Elements

Concepts & Related Concepts

Function - Parts of the plant(roots, leaves, stem, flowers, fruit). How plants grow.

Connection - The features of a plant are connected to its environment.

Reflection - Why do you think it is like that? The Scientific Process.

Cycles- The life cycle of a plant.

Learner Profile

Inquirers - Students are encouraged to use their inquiry skills to formulate questions about plants.

Reflective - Students engage in many observation activities as they watch their classroom plants grow.


Learners will be able to....

What kinds of long-term independent accomplishments are desired?

  • Write informational texts that provide facts about a topic.
  • Understand how writers connect to non-fiction texts.
  • Understand ways non-fiction texts are organized.
  • Understand the purpose for non-fiction.
  • Read informational text for purpose and understanding.
  • Know kinds of non-fiction texts and their sub-genres.
  • Know the features of different non-fiction texts and how to use them.
  • Explain how plants grow in a life cycle.
  • Recognize and describe the features of plants.
  • Follow the scientific process.
  • Understand what makes a plant a plant.
  • Explain how plants are similar and different.
  • Research to learn about plants.



Learners will understand that...

  • Readers/writers connect to non-fiction texts through personal experience, other texts, or the world.
  • Non-fiction texts are organized in different ways to help the reader find information more easily.
  • Writers write non-fiction texts for different purposes.
  • The features of non-fiction texts vary depending on the source. (text vs digital)
  • Plants are complex living things
  • Plants grow in a life cycle and have specific needs.
  • Plants have different features depending on where in the world they are found.
  • The scientific process helps us learn about the world around us.

Essential Questions

Learners will keep considering...

  • How can readers connect to nonfiction texts?
  • Why are non-fiction texts organized in different ways?
  • What are the different purposes of nonfiction?
  • What is non-fiction?
  • What are the features of non-fiction?
  • What are plants?
  • How do plants grow?
  • How are plants similar and different?
  • How do scientists use the scientific process to inquire into the world around them?


Learners  will know…

  • Making connections to non-fiction texts help us to understand them better
  • Headings tell what that section will be about.
  • The table of contents is at the beginning of the books and organizes the text.
  • Glossaries are usually in the back and define vocabulary words.
  • Bold/Italic/Highlighted words are important vocabulary to remember.
  • Electronic menus help us know where to find certain information.
  • Online text is organized differently than texts in books.
  • You need to use keywords to research.
  • Fiction is made up and non-fiction is true.
  • Transition words connect parts of stories together.
  • Commas separate words in a series.
  • Plants have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit.
  • Roots bring in water and hold the plant in place.
  • Stems support the plant and transport nutrients to the leaves.
  • Leaves take in sunlight to make food for the plant.
  • Flowers and fruit help the plant reproduce.
  • The life cycle of a plant goes from seed, sprout, seedling, and adult plant.
  • The scientific process is ask a question, make a hypothesis, conduct and experiment, collect and record data, report your results, analyze and draw conclusions.

Learners will be skilled at...

  • Reading and understanding non-fiction texts in books and online.
  • Making connections to non-fiction texts.
  • Using text features to find information in non-fiction texts.
  • Using features of digital text to find information.
  • Searching for information using keywords.
  • Writing non-fiction/explanatory texts to teach about something.
  • Dissecting plants to see their parts.
  • Following the steps of the scientific process.
  • Asking questions to learn more about plants.
  • Making hypotheses about the questions they ask.
  • Planning out experiments to find answers to their questions.
  • Conducting experiments to find answers to questions.
  • Describing and recording observations using analog and digital tools.
  • Collecting and recording data using both analog and digital tools.
  • Sorting and categorizing information into narrative descriptions, tables, timelines, graphs and diagrams.
  • Drawing conclusions from relationships and patterns which emerge from organized data.
  • Sharing results using digital and analog tools.
  • Creating How-To writing and videos to teach others how to do something.
  • Writing steps in a lab report including; question, hypothesis, materials, directions, observations, and conclusions.
  • Curating information into a padlet.

Stage 2- Evidence


Learners will show that they understand by evidence of…

Final Plant Experiment & Tutorial Video Creation

GRASPS Task written in student-friendly language:


Students will plan and perform a plant experiment following the steps of the scientific method and will then create a how-to tutorial video about it.


Students will engage in all aspects of the scientific method to plan and create an experiment using plants and then transform it into a how-to tutorial video.


Students will share their created video experiment with their peers when posting them on their personal Seesaw blog. Then they will add it to our public blog and ask classes connected to our blog to follow our tutorials to perform them as well.


Students will work as individuals or in partnerships to plan and create their video tutorial experiments. Students will use the app Puppet Edu to create their video tutorial and post it on to our Seesaw blog. Students need to follow all steps of the scientific process.


Students will create a written formal lab report including a; question, hypothesis, materials, directions, observations, and conclusions. Upon completion of the experiment, they will create a video tutorial on the Puppet Edu app to teach others how to perform the experiment and then post it to our Seesaw connected blog.


Learners  will show they have achieved Stage 1 goals by demonstrating their understanding through the Six Facets of Understanding...


Students will demonstrate all that they know about plants when writing their plant information books. Students will use the text features of non-fiction to add more detail to their books and explain facts about them.


Students will demonstrate their understanding of non-fiction when completing their final plant information book. Students will also demonstrate their understanding of of the scientific process when creating, planning, and implementing their plant experiment. Students will also interpret the data gathered from their plant experiments to draw conclusions about plants.


Students will apply all they have learned about plants and the scientific process throughout this unit by creating, planning, and performing a plant experiment. With the video tutorial explanation, students will need to consider how to best communicate it to the desired audience. Students will apply all that they know about reading non-fiction to research a topic of their desire and create a green screen presentation sharing all that they have learned about it.

Have perspective

Students will be able to collaborate with their peers as well as view and comment on others’ plant experiment tutorial videos and green screen presentations via Seesaw blogs. They will do this in order to see if others were able to follow their steps outlined in their videos and reflect on if their method of presentation was effective.  


Students will demonstrate empathy when posting comments on others’ plant experiment video tutorials and green screen presentations.

Have self-knowledge

After viewing and commenting on the experiments of their peers, students will view their own video tutorial plant experiment they created and published. Students will then comment on their videos to reflect on how well they communicated the information and organized the steps in the process.

Stage 3- Learning Plan

Time Frame

Learning Events

Progress Monitoring

Week 1


- Plants Pre-assessment: Draw and label a plant in your science notebook. Tell me all you know about plants on the next page.

- Courtyard walk and take pictures of plants we notice. Write wonderings in science notebook.

- Add plant pictures to a Popplet. Put questions beside pictures and then record and explain on Seesaw.

- Introduce the steps of the Scientific Process & plant out the planting of mung beans. Students take a picture of what the Mung Beans look like on day 1. They will continue to take photos each day that will be added later to Stop Motion app to create a time-lapse video of how it grows.

Reading Mini Lessons

-Readers compare fiction and non-fiction books. Alerting to the differences and similarities in the texts

-Getting Started as a Nonfiction Reader-Take a Sneak Peek

-Nonfiction Text Features Introduction- Students explore books to find out what they are: Real Pictures, Diagrams with labels, Headings, TOC, Bold/Italic Words, Glossary

-Studying Text Features and how to use them-Real Pictures & Diagrams

Writing Mini Lessons

-Pre-assess Nonfiction On Demand: 45 minutes to write a teaching book

- Writers Get Ready to Write By Teaching All About a Topic

-Writers Tell Information across their fingers, sketch, then Write

- Writers Keep Readers in Mind;Writing to Answer Questions

-Plant diagram drawing and facts written in journal will be checked by the teacher to see prior knowledge

-Non-fiction Writing pre-assessment will be graded and used to create partnerships and groupings during writing.

-Students take photos of Mung Beans daily to record observations for how plants grow.

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 2


- Intro to the New Unit

Central Idea: Plants are complex living things

Learner Profiles:Inquirer & Reflective

Key Concepts: Function & Connection

Teacher questions: What are plants? How do plants grow? How are plants similar and different? How do scientists use the scientific process to inquire into the world around them?

- What are plants? Living VS Nonliving. Watch Youtube video-Sesame Street: Who's Alive?

and sort things in science notebook.

-How do Plants grow? What do plants need to live? Teach kids how to add to class Padlet page and they add research to it today

Reading Mini Lessons

-Studying Text Features and how to use them-Chapters and Headings

- Studying Text Features and how to use them-Different Style/Size Words

- Studying Text Features and how to use them-Captions & Labels

- Studying Text Features and how to use them-Table of Contents

Writing Mini Lessons

- Elaborating by writing in Twin Sentences

- Nonfiction writers Teach with Pictures as well as Words: Diagram, Picture with Caption, Picture with zoom in

- Being Brave Enough to Spell Domain-Specific Words (Spelling Fancy Words)

- Nonfiction Writers Use Readers to Help them Add and Subtract

-Students continue to take photos of Mung Beans daily to record observations for how plants grow.

-Students complete a living vs non-living sort in their science journals

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 3


- Planting all seeds we have-research how on youtube then do it.

- Research-How Do Plants Grow? Add resources to Padlet from a website by adding a link or screen shot.

-Seed Dissection

- What are different kinds of seeds? Why do plants make fruit?-Fruits and Seeds Function-dissect fruits to find out

Reading Mini Lessons

- Studying Text Features- Glossary

- Readers Learn More by Chatting about What’s Happening

- Readers Reread to make sure They Understand Their Books

- Main Idea of NF: Readers think about what is my book/section of book mostly about?

Writing Mini Lessons

- Taking Stock: Self Assessing and Setting Goals-Use Checklists

- Writing a Table of Contents to Help Us Organize

- Writing Chapter Titles

- Editing: Commas in a Series

-Students continue to take photos of Mung Beans daily to record observations for how plants grow.

-Students complete a seed dissection and label the parts of a seed

-Students add plant resources to Padlet about how plants grow

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 4


- What are the parts of a plant? Research and draw diagram. Add resources to Padlet. Students perform a plant Parts Flower Dissection

-What is the function of roots? How does it work? Add resources to Padlet.

- What is the function of stems? How does it work?-flowers in colored water experiment. Add resources to Padlet.

- What is the function of leaves? How does it work?-put leaves in water to see what happens. Add resources to Padlet.

Reading Mini Lessons

- Retelling Nonfiction

- Working on fluency, stress, and intonation

- Readers don’t let hard words get in their way

- Partners Help Each other do Word Solving Work

Writing Mini Lessons

- Planning and Writing Chapters like we plan to write whole books

- Writers Write with Details by using Comparisons

- Add Details with LOTS of Examples

-Different Kinds of Writing in Teaching Books: Writing How-to’s, Lists, diagrams, glossaries in teaching books

-Students continue to take photos of Mung Beans daily to record observations for how plants grow.

-Students complete a flower dissection and label the parts in science journal

-Students perform first plant experiment by placing white carnations in colored water to see what happens. They record observations in science journal.

-Students add plant resources to Padlet

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 5


- What is the function of flowers? How does it work? Add resources to Padlet.

-How plants grow time lapse video creation. Students take all of the photos of Mung Bean growth and add it to Stop Motion Studio app to create a time lapse

- Plant Adaptions in different places Research: Desert, Grassland, Ocean, Polar, Rain forest, Wetland, Woodland. Add resources to Padlet.

- Plant Adaptations Plan How to Share info

- Plant Adaptations Mini Presentations to class

-Field Trip to Botanical Gardens-make popplet while there of the plants they see and learn about

Reading Mini Lessons

- Readers Learn New Words as They Read

- Readers Find and Think about Key Words

- Readers can Read More Than One Book About a Topic That Interests Them pg 86 PDF: Readers meet with book clubs of students who are interested in similar things

- Readers in Book NF Book Clubs can do Online Reading too. Dig literacy lesson features of online reading.

Writing Mini Lessons

- Writing Introductions that Introduce

- Writing Conclusions that close the book

-Writers Think about all they know on the topic PLANTS to begin book-Use Science journal & Padlet Resources

-Students take all of the photos of Mung Bean growth and add it to Stop Motion Studio app to create a time lapse

-Students add plant resources to Padlet

-Students research about plant adaptations in different biomes, then choose a way they will share information to the class in a mini presentation.

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 6


-Experiment/tutorial Introduction-Explain final project plant experiment with its parts. Then kids watch some experiment tutorials to get the idea of how to do it.

-Plant Experiment: title, question, hypothesis, materials. Snow and I will gather materials to start the experiment tomorrow.

-Plant Experiment: Make a Plan written and practice how you will perform it for video

Reading Mini Lessons

-Readers take sketchnotes to remember what we learned from videos online

- Readers Compare and contrast Key Words on Same topic to see how they are the same

- Experts Use Specific Language when Comparing and Contrasting books on the same topic

- Experts in book clubs ask questions to think more deeply about their topics-PDF

Writing Mini Lessons

- Writers RESEARCH to add more details to their plant books-not allowed to copy someone else’s word

- Give Credit- Site your books & websites you used.

- Revising Checklist-Make Sure you add EVERYTHING you can to show all you know about Informational Writing.

-Students create and plan out a plant experiment

-In book clubs, students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast

-Students research plants and add all sources to a works cited page in their plant books

-Conferring while taking anecdotal notes.

Week 7


-Experiment tutorial video creating while setting up actual experiment

-Post Experiment tutorial video on Seesaw

-Plant Experiment make observations-take photo and add to popplet

- Plant Experiment make observations-take photo and add to popplet

-Plant Experiment: Draw conclusions and watch Seesaw video to reflect

Reading Mini Lessons

- Experts Choose What they Want to Share with others about their topics-For Do Ink Green Screen

- Teach DoInk Greenscreen App then students plant it out and cite source-Pebble Go

- I will record Presentations

- Do Ink Presentations Make and post on Seesaw

Writing Mini Lessons

- Fancy Up Your Plant Book

- Shadow Puppet Plant Books

- Plant Book Celebration! Comment on Others books on Seesaw

-Students perform plant experiment and create tutorial video using Shadow Puppet Edu app to explain how to do it.

-Students create a DoInk Green screen presentation to teach others about a topic of their choice

-Students create a final information book teaching all about plants

Resources / Materials:

  • A variety of Fiction and Non-fiction texts for sorting
  • Pebble Go online non-fiction texts
  • Lucy Calkins Grade 1 Reading Non-Fiction Unit book and resources
  • Lucy Calkins Grade 1 Writing Information Books Unit book and resources
  • Science Notebooks
  • Brain Pop Jr Science Videos
  • Popplet App on class iPads
  • Living Vs Non-living sort
  • 5 Finger Non-fiction retell poster
  • All Anchor charts with mini lesson topics ready to be added
  • Kidrex search engine for kids
  • Kiddle search engine for kids
  • Youtube for watching tutorials for how to plant plants
  • Plant Padlet full of resources and for kids to add more
  • Stop-Motion Studio app for creating time lapse of Mung Bean growth
  • How to Cite Sources Poster
  • DoInk green screen app for reading final project
  • Seesaw app on iPads connected to other blogs around the world.
  • Shadow Puppet Edu app to create video tutorial