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                                                     Greenhouses (K-2nd) | Series 2, Lesson #3


Key Topics/Vocabulary: Greenhouse, Hoop House, Weather, Sun, Temperature, Thermometer

Grade Levels: K-2nd

Click here for Series #2 Description 

Spanish Lesson Plan

Science Framework

Lesson Bridge

Connect this lesson (3) to Cool Carbon Sink Oaks (2) by reflecting on what we recently learned about the carbon cycle and how human impact contributes to the greenhouse effect. On a large scale, the greenhouse effect is known to negatively disrupt the earth’s climate, but on a small scale it can benefit our garden! Close the Loop by pointing out that by reducing our inorganic or non-natural waste, we can keep less carbon from entering the atmosphere! The more plants we grow and compost we make, the more carbon is returned to the earth where it is safe and can be used as food for plants and animals. Furthermore, consuming less (thus reducing waste) means the use of less fossil fuels!

Lesson Overview:  

In this lesson, students will learn about how thermometers work to measure temperature and how plants grow best at certain temperatures. Students will then learn about how humans developed greenhouses to change their local environmental conditions to grow plants in colder weather!  Students will then engineer their own prototypes of greenhouses to modify soil temperature and growing conditions.

Suggested Activities & Learning Objectives by Grade:

Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs: 


Greenhouse- A building with glass walls and a glass ceiling. It is able to stay warm inside even during cold winter days

Hoop House- Hoops that are over garden beds or crops in fields to place protective coverings over them.

Weather- The daily conditions of the air in any given place. Wind, rain, clouds, sun etc.

Sun- The star at the center of our solar system warming the earth

Temperature- A measurement of how warm or cold it is

Thermometer- A tool used to measure the temperature


Option #1: With Soil

Option #2: Without Soil


Activity Procedure:


Feel the soil you are standing/sitting on. What does it feel like (Think, Pair, Share)? Is it hot or cold? Do you think the plants care what temperature it is? Just like us, plants don’t like it too hot, or too cold!


Have students walk around the garden to take the temperature of the soil. Use a soil thermometer or meat thermometer and place it in different areas (sunny, shady, etc). First, have students feel the soil with their hands and see if they can compare the temperatures in different areas. Then read the thermometer to see if they are correct.


The bigger the number, the hotter it is and the smaller the number, the colder it is. 32 degrees and under means that it’s cold enough to have ice.

Thumbs up/down: Have you ever noticed ice or frost on the grass in the morning?

 Many plants in our garden do not like being this cold. Plants have water inside them, just like we do, and if it gets too cold the water inside them turns to ice, which can cause plants to die. 

Think, Pair, Shares: What are some ways you keep warm when it’s cold outside (a jacket, a house, a blanket)?

Thumbs up/down: Could we put a blanket on them? Could we make a house for them?

In fact, there is a type of house made just for plants! It’s called a greenhouse. Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever seen a greenhouse.  A greenhouse is made of clear glass or plastic. It is like a house covered in windows. That way the sun can get inside and warm up the plants. Even when it becomes night, the air inside the greenhouse stays warm!


Option #1: With Soil

  1. Review Garden Agreements
  2. Show students the greenhouse prototype they will be making.
  3. Hand out mini pots to students and have them fill their pot with potting soil. (you can either break students into groups and have one mini greenhouse per group or provide each student with the materials).
  4. Demonstrate how we will be planting a seed in the pot. (Poke a hole with your finger, as deep as the seed needs to be in order to germinate)
  5. Supply each group or individual with a seed and baggie.
  6. A student in each group can fill a cup at the sink and water their plants. Or, you can walk around to each individual and use a watering can to water their seeds.
  7. Use tape and sharpie to label their greenhouse with their group name, table number, or individual names. You will need to do this yourself for the little kids - it’s helpful to have the teacher and any adults help you with the labeling to make it go faster.
  8. Work with the teacher to find a suitable, well-lit place to set the greenhouses.

Option #2: Without soil

  1. Review Garden Agreements
  2. Show students the greenhouse prototype they will be making.
  3. Have students spend a few minutes decorating their mini-greenhouses.
  4. Pass out a seed, a damp cotton ball/paper towel, and a baggie to each student. Remember, the bigger the seed, the better!  
  5. Instruct the students to fold the paper towel/cotton ball over their seed and stick it in their baggie.
  6. By enlisting help from the teacher, walk around to each student and help them attach the baggie to their greenhouse via tape or staples. Do not entirely seal the bag as air will need to enter.
  7. Work with the teacher to find a suitable, well-lit place to hang the greenhouses. They can be taped to a window or strung with string!
  8. Explain that you will be transplanting what comes up later in the garden. To help the plants get more sun, teachers can take them out during the day and back in at night. The soil inside should be kept damp as a wrung-out sponge.


Do you think your mini greenhouse will work as well as a big glass greenhouse (thumbs up-yes, down-no)? Why/why not? Do you think the plants in your greenhouse will be warm enough to grow well? Do you think the plants will sprout overnight, or will it take a while to come out of the seeds you planted and out of the soil (Think, Pair, Share)?

Extension Activities:

Gardens Change Lives!                                                          Page  of