G6-12 Flower Discovery

Published July 21, 2016 | Updated July 31, 2017
Place of Learning: Garden
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 6
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

In this sixth-grade science lesson, students take on the roles of young scientists as they explore and study flowers. They learn about and practice scientific drawing, label and explain flowers’ reproductive structures, ask questions, share ideas and discuss their findings.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Name the structures of a flower
  • Draw what they see
  • Make an inference 

During this lesson, students will:

  • Describe and name flower structures
  • Explore flowers in the garden, create a scientific drawing and label the parts of a flower using a key
  • Share their inferences in pairs, small groups and the entire class
Before You Begin

Timeline Overview

Total Duration: 90 minutes

  1. Invitation* (10 minutes)
  2. Exploration* (15 minutes)
  3. Exploration* (10 minutes)
  4. Concept Invention* (35 minutes)
  5. Application* (10 minutes)
  6. Reflection* (10 minutes)

At the Opening Circle

1. Invitation*: (10 minutes)

Welcome students and introduce this Flower Discovery lesson as an opportunity for them to learn how flowering plants reproduce by studying real flowers.

  1. Explain that today they will spend the entire class on a guided exploration of flowers, primarily looking at their structures and functions. 
  2. Ask students if they know what the words structure and function mean? 
  3. Have students share responses and then introduce the Visual Aid.
    • Have a different student volunteer read each definition.
  4. Divide students into groups and send each group out to a different part of the garden with an adult to lead them.

In the Field (60 minutes total)

2. Exploration*: (15 minutes)

Introduce studying flowers scientifically.

  1. Explain that their focus of study will be flowers in the garden.
    • We’re going to explore and study flowers like scientists do
    • To think like scientists, we need to know some background information about this ecosystem before we begin.
  2. Orient students to this unique garden ecosystem using Think-Pair-Share* or Walk & Talk* with general questions, some specific to the ecosystem and a review of what structures and functions are.
    • What is a structure?
    • What is a function?

3. Exploration*: (10 minutes)

Students look at different flowers and select one to draw.

  1. Divide students into pairs.
  2. Introduce sketching and recording information as a scientific tool and explain that looking at structures and how they function is something scientists do.
    1. In pairs, you’ll have 5 minutes to explore this area and observe as many flowers as you can.
      • We will not be picking the flowers, but studying the appearance of their structures instead.
      • The goal during exploration time is to be gentle with these plants and to explore as many different kinds as possible, then choose a favorite.
      • Choose your favorite flower as a team of two.
  3. Explain that each person will then make their own scientific drawing of the flower, recording as many observations and questions as possible, like a scientist.
    • You will have about 15 minutes to study the flower, draw and take notes.
    • In this type of drawing noticing things accurately and writing them down is more important than making a pretty picture.
    • Sometimes a drawing will help show what you noticed, sometimes words will communicate it better. Use both in your study.
  4. Invite students to grab a clipboard, pencil, and blank paper now or in 5 minutes, after their exploration.
  5. Give out hand lenses.
  6. Facilitate student exploration by circulating and offering ideas when needed, allow students five minutes to explore.

4. Concept Invention*: (35 minutes)

Students draw flowers and discuss their findings.

  1. After 5 minutes of exploration, inform students it is time to choose their flowers and begin drawing.
  2. Remind students that each pair chooses one flower to focus on.
    • Make sure each student has a clipboard, pencil, and blank paper.
    • Each student records observations by writing and drawing.
    • Give them about 15 minutes to write and draw.
    • While they are drawing, assign each half of a student pair to a different group for The Swap; one will be Student A, the other Student B.
  3. Call students back to explain how The Swap will work.
    • The A team stays with their flower to share findings, while the B team circulates among A students, like a pollinator.
    • Let the student scientists know they’ll be discussing their discoveries and questions, not just lecturing each other on what they found.
    • Post the G6-12 Cross-Pollinating questions and read them aloud to help students dive deeper into discovering each other’s flowers.
      1. Person A will share observations, questions, and ideas from their investigation and then ask the B person what they think.
        • Do you think I have all the structures I could draw on my scientific drawing? If not, what more could I add?
        • Did anything about my flower remind you of your flower?
      2. Person B asks clarifying questions to the person with flowers (person A).
        • Does your flower have________? (name a structure: sepals, petals, stamen, pistil)
        • How is it represented in your drawing?
        • What did you notice about this structure? What to you 
think the function is?
        • What do you wonder about your flower?
      3. Begin The Swap with B students circulating and instructors participating.
  4. After 5 minutes, call for the group’s attention and ask pairs to switch roles.
    • This time B group members stay with their flower while A members circulate.

2.  Application*: (10 minutes)

Students discuss the structures or functions they noticed.

  1. Bring students back together as a group and have them break into pairs.
  2. Ask them to use the Think-Pair-Share* process using the Small Circle TPS questions.
    • What do you notice about the flowers in the garden?
    • What are some plant structures that help them survive here?
    • To use Think-Pair-Share*:
      • Think - Give students an interesting broad question to think or write about briefly.
      • Pair - Pair students, and ask them to discuss the question(s) with their partner.
      • Share - Students share their discussion ideas with another pair of students or the instructor leads a whole group discussion about the topic.
  3. Have students circle up and discuss their findings as a group.

At the Closing Circle (10 minutes)

3. Reflection*: (10 minutes)

  1. Have students share observations, questions, and inferences about the structures they observed and functions they inferred.
  2. Collect worksheets and drawings from students and hand them in to their classroom teacher.
Connections to Edible Education Framework

Communication is strengthened by group discussion, collaboration with a partner, drawing and writing about students’ own observations. Sustainability is highlighted by the unique ecosystem and habitat offered by the garden classroom. Nourishment is offered by opportunities to snack on oxalis flowers and taste nectar from other flowers in the garden. Life Skills are sharpened as students draw what they observe, and notice and appreciate beauty around them.

Academics fulfill Next Generation Science Standards for structure and function; Common Core State Standards for integrating information presented in different media; following a multistep procedure; collaborative discussion; interpreting information; speaking and listening; language; and acquiring words and phrases See Connections to Academic Standards below for details.

Connections to Academic Standards

Next Generation Science Standards, Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
    • In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.
    • Multicellular organisms have a hierarchical structural organization, in which any one system is made up of numerous parts and is itself a component of the next level.

Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Structure and Function
    • The shape and stability of structures of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s). (1-LS1-1)
    • Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
    • Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (MS-LS1-2)
    • Structure and Function: Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (MS-LS1-2)

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity, Science and Engineering Practices, Asking Questions and Defining Problems: Asking questions and defining problems in grades 6–8 builds on grades K–5 experiences and progresses to specifying relationships between variables, clarify arguments and models.
    • Ask questions to identify and clarify evidence of an argument. (MS-ESS3–5)

Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts and Literacy, Grade 6

  • RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RST.6.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.  
  • SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • SL.6.1.b Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • SL.6.1.c Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
    • SL.6.1.d Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
  • SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL.6.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language standards 1 and 3 on page 53 for specific expectations.)
  • L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • L.6.1.a Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • L.6.1.b Use all pronouns, including intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves) correctly.
    • L.6.1.c Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • L.6.1.d Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
  • L.6.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
    • L.6.3.a Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/ listener interest, and style.
    • L.6.3.b Maintain consistency in style and tone.
  • L.6.6  Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.



Connections to Edible Schoolyard Standards

Edible Schoolyard 3.0

In the Edible Schoolyard Program

  • 1.0 Students work with each other and teachers to develop community and personal stewardship, along with skills that will help them navigate different situations throughout their lives.
  • 1.1.1 – 1.3.12 This lesson fulfills all Edible Schoolyard Program standards, numbers 1.1.1 through 1.3.12. See The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley Standards for details.

In the Garden Classroom, Grade 6

  • Tools 1.2 Identify, begin to use and care for scientific measuring tools in the garden.
  • Concepts 3.7  Use observation and awareness to explore, investigate and be inquisitive learners in the garden. The garden classroom provides the opportunity for students to tap into their inherent curiosity about the natural world, observe patterns and connections and understand cause and effect



All lessons at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley are developed in collaboration with the teachers and staff of the Edible Schoolyard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

Learning Cycle and Think-Pair-Share discussion routine © The Regents of the University of California. All materials created by BEETLES™ at The Lawrence Hall of Science.

This lesson follows the BEETLES Project’s Learning Cycle (Invitation-> Exploration -> Concept Invention -> Application -> Reflection) and uses their Discussion Routines(Think-Pair-Share, Whip-Around). All are highlighted * with an asterisk for easy identification. See the documents BEETLES Discussion Routines and BEETLES Learning Cycle included in Resources below for more information.

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