STEM Garden and Life-cycles

Let it Grow integrated topic:

Classroom Inspiration 

Great Class Pets- Tadpoles, Spiny Leaf Inspects and Bearded Dragon (hired) 

  • Tadpoles are a particularly good class pet if studying life-cycles and metamorphosis.
  • Spiny Leaf Insect and Bearded Dragon are good as students can hold these pets.

Science Resources 

  • Lesson Ideas: Sort living and non-living; identify characteristics of living things; identify pet’s needs and human needs; explore seeds; observations of bean plant growth; experiment designed based on student questions;  compare similarities and differences of flowers; sort pictures based on means of seed dispersal; diagrams of fruit. See Primary Connections resources (below) for details of lessons.
  • Science Primary Connections Lessons Plants in Action
  • Other related Primary Connections: Feathers, fur or leavesFriends or foes
  • Hire live animals and nature kits in Adelaide:  

The Spiny Leaf Insect is a good animal to research, and create a visual representation of the life-cycle. Unlike many life-cycles, such as a frog life cycle, you can’t simply look up the life cycle on Google Images. Students need to read and understand written information about this inspect and their apply these understandings to create a visual representation of the life-cycle.


Literacy- Life cycle Explanations 

These are videos I show students to introduce the vocabulary and stages of the life cycle.

  • Flowering plant:

Start at 1.16m

  • Turtles
  • Bearded Dragons

Recommend playing first video on X2 speed

Grammar focus: noun groups and present tense, as well as organisational features of explanation texts.


Literacy Vocabulary- students initial vocabulary is in green, and students added to the list in yellow, as we learnt more vocabulary


Wonder Wall- Students posed questions which were answered by their peers



STEM Gardening Process 

We used the Engineering Design Process to design and plant the garden.

  1. Students identified need: they believed students weren’t looking after the school garden areas.
  2. Researched: we identified questions and researched using the internet and interviewed the school groundskeeper. Students were put into groups and needed to research possible vegetables and choose one their group would plant.
  3. Possible Solutions: Students draw drafts of 4 possible garden designs
  4. Select a promising solution: Students selected one of their designs to draw up in more detail. Staff selected 4 ‘finalist’ designs that students voted on. The class then discussed any alterations they wanted to make to the design.
  5. Create: plant the garden, on-going maintenance and monitoring (graphing the plant growth).
  6. Test/Evaluate: Redesign as needed: Reflect on the garden progress and make necessary on-going adjustments (eg. watering scheduled, pest control, additional shade)


STEM Gardening Resources 


Garden Design Examples 


Gardening Ideas

Ziplock Bag Greenhouse: write names of seeds on the front of the bag, put in cotton wool, wet with spray bottle, put seeds in, tape to window where seeds will get necessary sunlight


Compostable & Biodegradable Seedling Pots: fold newspaper to make pot, add potting mix, add seeds, water.

***Paperclips could be used instead of staples. Then the paperclips could be removed before planting.

Bird Feeders: apples, gelatin, screw, string, birdseed and water.


Scarecrow: We used straw for padding and some employees from Bunnings came and helped my class assemble the scarecrow.

copy 2.jpg

Plant Treasure Hunt- Students LOVED this 

Plant treasure hunt recording sheet



Gardening Resources


Gardening in the future and the role of new technologies  


Sustainability Connections 

Click here to see more examples of STEM units which use the engineering design process 



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