The Germination of a Bean Seed
Place of Learning: 
45-60 Min
Grade Level: 

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

This lesson explores what happens below and above ground when a bean seed grows. Students will watch a video of the germination process of a bean and respond to a series of questions. Next, they will write a haiku or short poem about observations. Finally, students will observe the plants and trees close to their home and sketch what they see while imagining the vast root systems below.
Student Learning Goals & Objectives: 

Students will be able to:

  • Identify and label basic root structures with appropriate terminology.
  • Describe the process of germination using a narrative structure
  • Observe and sketch a plant and hypothesize on the root structure of that plant.
Materials & Prep: 
Procedure Steps: 
Before you begin
  • Collect all the materials listed above.
  • Included in a lesson is a downloadable student version of the lesson plan, which details all directions on how to complete the lesson.  
  • This lesson includes worksheets. If you are not able to provide students with paper copies of the lesson or if students do not have printers, please direct them to copy the worksheets onto a sheet of paper.
  • For the worksheets that accompany this video we have provided fillable PDFs.
5 Min
  • Students will watch a time-lapse video about the growth of the bean seed. To view the video, students will go to

20 Min
Watch again and write
  • Students will watch the video again and pause it from as needed to respond to a series of prompts.
10 Min
  • Students will write a haiku or short poem informed by their observations.
15 Min
  • Students will observe the plants and trees close to their home and sketch what they see while imagining the vast root systems below.
  • Germinate: to begin to grow or develop
  • Seedling: a young plant
  • Root: the part of the plant that is usually below ground, affixes the plant to the soil and absorbs water and nutrients
  • Taproot: a straight tapering root growing vertically downward and forming the center from which subsidiary rootlets spring
  • Root hair: a hairlike outgrowth of a plant root
  • Leaf: a flattened structure of a higher plant, typically green and blade-like, that is attached to a stem directly or via a stalk/stem
  • Branch: a part of a tree which grows out from the trunk
  • Trunk: the thick main stem of a tree from which its branches grow
  • Stem: the main body of a stalk of a plant that gives rise to leaves and flowers
  • Syllable:  an interrupted segment of speech (e.g., “gar-den” has two syllables)
  • Time lapse: a type of video or photography that shows a long time period quickly
Teaching Notes: 
  • Extend this lesson by having students show a family member or friend their drawing. Then have them describe the different parts of the tree or plant. Finally, collaborate with that family member or friend to draw another plant together.