Colorado Agriscience Curriculum
Section Plant Science
Unit Introduction to Plant Sciences
Lesson Number 1
Lesson Title Introduction to Plant Sciences
Ag Ed Standards
AGS11/12.04 The student will demonstrate an understanding of physiological processes.
Enabler 4 Identify economically important crop and weed plants and their seeds.
Colorado Science Standards
Standard 3.1 Students know and understand the characteristics of living things, the
diversity of life, and how living things interact with each other and their environment.
Standard 3.2 Students know and understand interrelationships of matter and energy in
Benchmark: describing the cycling of matter and the movement and change of
energy through the ecosystem.
Student Learning Objectives
As a result of this lesson, the student will be able to:
1. Define plant sciences
2. Define the purposes and uses of plants
3. Determine the difference between direct and indirect plant uses.
Time One 50 minute class period
CAERT Agriscience Lesson Library Series – Unit C, Problem Area 4, Lesson 4
Biondo & Lee (2003). Introduction to Plant and Soil Science, 2nd ed. Interstate
Publishers, Inc. Danville, Illinois
Tools, Equipment and Supplies
Notebooks and writing utensils
Poster paper and markers (for evaluation)
Large writing surface for Interest Approach and colorful writing utensils (either
poster paper or a white board).
The following terms are presented in this lesson and appear in bold italics:
Unit 1, Lesson 1: Introduction to Plant Sciences 1
Direct Plant Use
Indirect Plant Use
Greetings students! We are going to start the day by creating a mind map. Do any of you
know what a mind map is? A mind map is where we start with something in the center of
a writing surface, and draw a line and another circle off of it that somehow relates to the
first topic. Our goal is to continually divide into more and more ideas until the entire
writing surface is filled with our ideas. It is appropriate to make connections to as many
circles as possible. One circle could have an infinite number of connections made off of
it. Each of you will be responsible for adding at least five connections to the mind map;
the circles should obviously be related. For example, if we were to start with the word
family, if might be able to make two connections, the first one being holidays (because
most of my best memories with my family are during holidays), and off of holidays I
could connect to Thanksgiving (because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday)! Provide
the following diagram for reference for students.
Today our topic is not family, but instead Plant Sciences, the word that we are going to
start with is Plant Science. Put ‘Plant Science’ on the board (or on a large poster) in a
circle in the center. Give students markers, and have them begin making connections!
Continue until all students have listed at least five connections on the board. Have each
student report on one of the connections that they made and why they chose to make this
connection. When all students have reported, discuss with the students how varied and
broad their answers were, and how many different items could be connected off of just
one (JUST ONE) very important word! Excellent job students! Our task today is to more
thoroughly define plant sciences and over the next (week, month, semester) to discuss all
of these areas that you just referenced! Well done – give one another a high-five!
Summary of Content and Teaching Strategies
Objective 1. Define Plant Sciences
Show next PowerPoint slide.
What is plant science? Who can tell me?
Allow students to provide personal definitions. As they do, record a few of their key
phrases on the board. Incorporate them into the definition provided.
Unit 1, Lesson 1: Introduction to Plant Sciences 2
You are all exactly right! Plant science is the study of the structure, function, growth, and
protection of plants. You will note that several of the items that you said are included in
this definition. Record this definition in your student notebooks!
Show next PowerPoint slide.
What are the three main categories of plants? Well, as you can tell from our mind map
there are several different ways we categorize those things related to plant science, but
for our purposes we are going to assume that the three main categories of plants include
field crops, horticulture crops and forestry. Let’s brainstorm all of ways that these three
industries impact us as humans. Allow students to discuss all of the different industries in
the plant science field.
Objective 2. Define the purposes and uses of plants
Show next PowerPoint slide.
What are Plants used for? Most all plants are used to meet human needs!
In your notes, please draw an icon for all of the things that plants are used for in order to
meet human needs. I will give you three minutes to draw as many icons as possible.
When I say draw you are to begin. What can I clarify? Ready? DRAW!
Give students three minutes to draw icons of all the different things that plants are used
for, and then after three minutes call TIME! When complete have students, one at a time,
report to the class their different icons. You can utilize this list and that on the next
PowerPoint slide and have students record the list in their notes.
Great job, let’s write the list in your notes!
Plants are used for:
Reinforce the information by initiating a group discussion by asking the following: The
earth has over 6 billion People. In North America there are 435 million who need to be
fed, clothed and housed. How can we keep up with the demand?
Objective 3. Determine the difference in direct and indirect plant uses.
If I said to you that plant use can be defined as either direct or indirect, what do you think
this means? Give students time to answer your question and then provide the following
definitions. Have students list the information in their notebooks.
Direct plant sources are plants or plant products that are directly used by
Unit 1, Lesson 1: Introduction to Plant Sciences 3
Indirect plant sources that are used as animal feed and humans then use the
animal or its products.
If we were to talk about food sources being direct or indirect, which do you think that you
consume the most of? Allow students to answer the question and then proceed to the next
Those are all excellent assumptions. Here are the facts…on average the typical person
consumes the following amounts each year!
1. Vegetables (fresh frozen or canned) – 219.6 pounds
2. Fresh fruit and melon – 111.9 pounds
3. Potatoes 127.2 pounds
4. Rice, Flour, and Cereal Products 184.3 pounds
Indirect Plant Origin
1. Diary products and milk – 564.5 pounds
2. Eggs – 29.3 pounds
3. Fish and Shell Fish (wild harvest) 14.8 pounds
4. Chicken and Turkey – 56.8 pounds
5. Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb and Mutton 112.4 pounds
Often when we discuss vegetarianism, there are a lot of issues that arise. What reasons
could you imagine, other than health concerns, that people might consider vegetarianism
the best option? That’s right! There is a contention that it is more efficient to have direct
or indirect plant sources produced. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Great! Remember there are often multiple viewpoints to all agriculture issues. Think of
this often when you are quick to take sides! In order to value the contributions of each
student, in your notes draw a box. Divide the box in half. At the top of one box list
“Direct” and in the other list “Indirect.” Record the opinions expressed on the efficiency
of production of direct and indirect. Remember, it is important to record all opinions! Do
this now, please!
Utilize the “Eye Witness News Moment” to review important concepts learned in the
classroom today. Pair up the students within the classroom. Ask one student in each of
the pair to utilize their notes and become the interviewer on the 5:00 evening news. Have
the other student be the “expert” in the plant science field and answer the questions posed
by the news anchor. Give students 90 seconds to interview the expert, then have students
trade positions and repeat the process. Set it up so that everyone in the classroom is
comfortable with their respective roles!
Extended classroom activity:
Unit 1, Lesson 1: Introduction to Plant Sciences 4
Have students make a second mind map, this time connecting all of the different uses of
plants. Have students connect direct uses to other direct uses, and indirect uses to other
indirect uses to reinforce the information. Discuss the mind map as a class and determine
is each student contribution was correct on the direct and indirect use of plants.
Have students prepare a position speech on the different sides of being a vegetarian, and
how this impacts the efficiency of production and use of plant science products. Have
them present this paper as a speech at the district FFA prepared public speaking contest.
Have students develop marketing plans that are related to plant science SAEP’s. Have
students discuss how the information regarding the per capita consumption of food
products changes the way products are produced and marketed.
Break the students into three groups. Assign group one field crops, group two horticulture
crops and group three forestry crops and products. Have students look up careers related
to these plant science fields and create a class report and visual poster on the different
careers. Have them discuss the importance of this profession to the plant science industry
and how these plants meet human needs. Have students present the report and poster to
the class. If students utilize internet sources for their references, remind them that they
can not be just printed off and read and copied to their poster board, but instead they need
to synthesize the information for their reports. Please also provide any additional
information on careers that you may have access to.
Answers to Assessment
Evaluate the groups on the completeness of their posters and oral reports.
Unit 1, Lesson 1: Introduction to Plant Sciences 5