Home Works Elementary Education Distance Learning Curriculum

Developed by Lindsey C.

Edited by Maggie M. and Miranda C.

Photo of Lindsey C

Essential Question:

What do you need in order to survive?

Background Knowledge:

Students will need to know the characteristics of a living thing vs. a nonliving things. Living things eat, breathe, grow, reproduce. Nonliving things do not eat, breath, grow, or reproduce. Using this information, student will need to determine if an object is living or nonliving.


  • Paper or Index Card
  • Pencil
  • 2 Living Things (example: house plant, family pet)
  • 3 Nonliving Things (example: pencil, computer, journal)
  • Seed from food or item in the home
  • Small plastic zipper storage bag
  • Paper Towel
  • Water

Safety Protocol:

Take precautions when touching animals and certain plants. Ask permission from parents before using or moving an item at home.

Activity Procedures:

Step 1: Gather materials together.

Step 2: Sort your five items into a living group and a nonliving group.

How do your living items differ from your nonliving items?

What are the differences between living and nonliving things?

Step 3: What do the items in your living things category need in order to survive? All living things need food, water, shelter; but also some rely on other living things in order to survive. For example, plants release oxygen which is essential for the survival of human beings. Human beings obtain food from plants and animals.

Do any of your living items you selected rely on other living things for survival?

How do you distinguish between living and nonliving things? Does it grow, reproduce?

Step 4: Now, let’s use our seed. We are going to explore how this seed grows over a period of several days.

What does this seed need in order to survive?

How much water does it need?

Does it need direct sunlight?

Germinate Seeds and Watch Them Grow:

Step 1: Cut a paper towel in half and fold it a few times so it can fit into the zipper storage bag.

Step 2: Soak the paper towel in water and slide it into the bag. Smooth it so that it’s relatively flat.

Step 3: Position two beans or seeds about three centimeters from the bottom of each bag, on one side of the paper towel. Don’t worry if they don’t stay in place, but if necessary, stuff a little piece of paper towel into the bottom of the bag so that the seeds aren’t sitting in water.

Step 4: Seal the bag partway, leaving an opening near the top so the growing plants can get some air.

Step 5: Tape the bag in a window with the beans facing indoors, so that you can watch them as they grow.

These tiny plants need signals to make them “wake up” and emerge from the seed. Germination is the name for the processes the plant goes through in order to sprout from the seed and form leaves. Plants need special signals to germinate, including light, air, and water. Temperature can also play a role, which is why you don’t want to put your seed against a freezing cold window. When a plant first sprouts, it gets nutrients from the seed. You can see the seed shrinking as the plant grows. As a plant matures (gets older), it depends on roots and leaves to collect the energy it needs. Once it reaches a certain size and uses up the nutrients in the seed, your window sprout will have to be transplanted into the soil to survive.

Step 6: Every day for a week, record what you noticed about your seed. Refer to the table under “Resources” and copy the chart on a piece of paper. Record your observations for an entire week. Refer to the questions below to inform your observations.

What did you see over a period of days with your seed?

Did it grow? If so, how much?

How much water did It need?

How long did it get direct sunlight each day?

Step 7: With parent/guardian permission, share the results of your activity on social media using #AUHomeWorks!


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

Last modified: December 3, 2020