Life Cycle - Plants (KA)
Post Lab 

  • Exploring the uses of plants.
  • Showing and demonstrating some uses of plants.


  • fiber
  • plant

Students look closely at items made from plants.

Flour is made from wheat.


Plants are very useful in our society. The old saying, "Either you grow it, or mine it," still holds true. Children are not aware of where items they use everyday come from. Plants may be used for decoration, erosion and climate control (wind breaks and shade), foods, beverages, flavoring, medicines, fabrics, rope and other fibers, wood, rubber, dyes, paper, and many other uses.

Many clothes are still made from cotton, which is grown on plants and harvested. Fabric that is made of polyester is synthetic and has a petroleum base. Medicines like aspirin come from a tree. Scientists are discovering new medicines from plants every year. The taste from many soft drinks, even cola, comes from various plants. Plants most important contribution to humans, is the food potential. Grains are used in many food products, especially flour. Even the morning breakfast is from plants. Oatmeal from oat; corn flakes from corn; and bran flakes from wheat. Most societies are based on one grain as their staple. Many parts of Asia use rice; parts of North America and Europe use flour; and Central America uses corn as its staple.

  1. Instruct children to look around the classroom for items made from plants. They might find paper, wood desks, rulers, balloons, rubber bands, erasers, cotton shirts, decorative plants, something made with natural dyes, pencils, twine, baskets, bayberry candles, mint chewing gum (both gum and flavoring come from plants) and many other things. Make a list on a piece of paper. Continue writing new items when students go home and ask their parents if they know anything else that comes from plants.
  2. Most students do not realize that cotton is grown on a plant. If you have a cotton plant with a bud of cotton, show the students that the little ball of cotton is then made into fibers that can be used for spinning. Show students different kinds of cotton fabric. Explain to students the difference between wool and polyester. Wool is from sheep and polyester is from an oil based product. You may want the students to bring one or two products from home that are made from plants. Have a "show and tell," products from plants.
  3. Put a few microscopes out with different types of fabric. Let the students look at the differences in the threads that make up the various fabrics. Cotton fibers, for instance, have a distinct texture composed of flat ribbons. Linen fibers are jointed like bamboo.
  4. You may want to make another list of plant foods that students ate. Instruct them to ask their parents help and read labels of items they eat, to see if plants were involved in making the product.

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