The Life Cycle of a Plant for 4th Grade Science

Written by wanda thibodeaux
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The Life Cycle of a Plant for 4th Grade Science
All plants go through the plant life cycle. (Plant image by Platinum Pictures from

The number of plants in the world is so high that, according to Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the exact number of plant species still is unknown. Because plants are such a huge part of the environment, children need to learn about how and why plants grow. Fourth grade is a popular time to teach children about the plant life cycle because of where students are in their social, intellectual and physical development.

Cycle Steps

Fourth-grade lesson plans on the plant life cycle may show from four to six cycle steps. Simpler plans show only seed germination, plant growth, flowering and seed growth/release. More advanced plans may separate the steps further into seed germination, seedling growth, flowering, fruit production, seed release and distribution, and the death of the original plant.


As fourth grade students learn the plant cycle, the teacher also introduces them to new terminology. Examples of terminology include stamen, ovules, germination, pollination, root, trunk, photosynthesis and stem. Students thus are able to talk about plants in a much more precise way upon completing plant life cycle lessons.


Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert solar energy into food the plant uses for growth and development. The occurrence of photosynthesis determines how the plant goes through the plant cycle. For instance, a plant may not have the energy to flower and produce seeds if it doesn't get enough sunlight. For this reason, teachers like to introduce the concept of photosynthesis along with the plant life cycle.

Other Cycles

The life cycle of a plant is similar to the life cycle of animals and people. For example, the growth of a seedling is comparable to the growth of a toddler. Teachers thus use fourth grade plant life cycle lesson plans to introduce the life cycle of other species. This is useful because students approach puberty between the fourth and sixth grades and need a foundation for understanding what is happening with their own bodies.

Lesson Methods

Teachers occasionally teach the plant life cycle through lecture alone. More commonly, teachers provide the students with diagrams that visually show how the plant cycle works. They supplement the diagrams with lists of plant terms and written explanations or lectures about everything necessary for the plant cycle to occur. If the teacher has the resources available, they may opt to include a hands-on component to the plant life cycle lessons, such as having the students plant some hardy bean or marigold seeds in flower pots and monitoring the plants throughout their entire life cycle. The teachers who use hands-on methods use the lessons to teach additional skills like charting, measurement and making hypotheses.

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