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Year 5 Botany - The Study of Plants

Updated: Nov 18, 2023


This unit helps you to recap and pull together everything that you have learned about plants so far. It will also help you think a little deeper about the role plants play in climate change. You will also go on an adventure with Captain Cook and Joseph Banks, find out a bit about Australia and aboriginal people and dive into the Great Barrier Reef. As with all the units, the work is divided into activities that cover specific topics. If you are looking to just cover a specific topic instead of the whole unit try pushing ctrl + f and typing the words into the box to see if it is covered.

Learning Aims

Learning aims year 5 botany
Download PDF • 2.52MB

Activity 1

A Famous Botanist

Our famous botanist was called Joseph Banks and to understand Bank's adventures we first need to find out about a man named Captain James Cook.

Here is a rather fun cartoon about Captain Cook by NowYouKnowAbout.

Activity 2


Captain Cook and Joseph Banks visited Australia during their expeditions. So we are going to take time to learn a bit about Australia. Firstly, go and print out the lapbook below. This is going to take about a week to finish if you do an hour a day.

Watch this Nat Geo Australia video and then read the instructions for page one and complete it.

Next, watch 'Aboriginal History for Kids' by Schooling Online Kids and then a story by Ozzie, this is for younger children but I want you to be culture detectives looking for clues in the book.

Complete pages 2-3.

Research landmarks you could start here. Then complete page 4.

Watch this history video by Schooling Online Kids.

And another story from Ozzie.

Complete page 5.

Captain Cook's arrival in Australia was not a great experience for the indigenous, aboriginal people who already lived there.

Watch the Behind the News video.

Read this page by Amnesty International that explains a bit about how colonisation was bad for aboriginal people and how it still affects them today. Please DO NOT click on any other article on this page, Amnesty International is a great organisation but deals with difficult subjects that you will learn about as you get older.

Complete pages 6-7.

Go and explore the information and videos on this page and find out about aboriginal music.

Complete pages 8-11

You now need some brown paper, a pencil, some paint and some cotton buds. Watch the video and make some dot art yourself.

Watch this Scishow about one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef.

Go and make the Great Barrier Reef. You could draw it, Art Hub for Kids has a good video for this, and there are also videos on Youtube showing you have to make a diorama or make it out of pasta. You get to choose how you complete this task.

Activity 3

Keeping a Plant Journal

Ask your parent or teacher if you can download Planet Net to a mobile device. This is a citizen science project where you can use your mobile device to take a photo of a plant. The app will then identify the plant for you and scientists all over the world will use the data to improve our knowledge of the natural world.

Try and photograph as many plants as you can this week. Make a note of each plant name and where you found it. You may keep a record as a list, you may choose to sketch each plant or add a label to photographs of the plant

Activity 4

Look at how these sunflowers move!

Most of the plants that you record will have roots, stems and leaves.

Watch this Homeschool Pop video to recap the main parts of a plant and their functions.

Complete the worksheet below.

Download PDF • 488KB

On the bottom of the worksheet write the sentence below filling in the missing information.

The seeds of this plant are found in the ...............

Activity 5

Choose at least three of the plants you found and draw a sketch on one of the journaling pages. Then label the stem and leaves for each plant. Try adding some roots below ground level and any interesting information you find out about the plants.

Download PDF • 504KB

You will probably have noticed that the stems of plants do not all look the same. Some are soft and green while others are hard and woody. Read pages 18-21 of The First Book of Plants.

Go back to your plants and see if you can label them herbaceous (soft and green) or woody.

Activity 6

Little Factories

One amazing fact about plants is that they make their own food. Today we are going to look at how they do this. The process plants use to make food is called photosynthesis. Photo means light and synthesis means putting together, so photosynthesis means putting together with light.

The cells of leaves and some other green parts of plants contain a molecule known as chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is used by plants to trap energy from sunlight which is then used to combine water and carbon dioxide creating sugars that the plant uses for food and oxygen as a waste product. The extra sugar produced by the plant is stored in its’ roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits.

Read pg 9-12 of The First Book of Plants

So the process of photosynthesis can be broken down into three main points that you need to remember.

  1. Plants containing chlorophyll use the energy from the sun to combine water and carbon dioxide to create sugar and oxygen.

  2. The roots soak up water and nutrients from the soil and two tubes called the xylem and phloem transport the water and nutrients around the plant.

  3. Carbon dioxide enters the plant through tiny holes called stomata in the leaves.

Activity 7


Watch the SciShow Vegetation Transformation video to recap photosynthesis.

Read pg 13-17 of The First Book of Plants

You can see water being transported by carrying out the 'The Colour Changing Celery Experiemnt' by SciK. Watch the video then follow the instructions.

You need: celery, scissors, glass jar, dark food colouring, magnifying glass.

  1. Cut the bottom off a stick of celery that has leaves on it.

  2. Place the celery stick into a glass half full of water.

  3. Add two-three drops of black ink to the water.

  4. Leave overnight.

  5. Take the celery stick out and record what you observe.

  6. Try cutting the stick above the water line and having a close look at the ends of the stick. You can use a magnifying glass to help you see better.

  7. Record what you have done on the lab report below.

Download PDF • 38KB

There is one last thing you need to know before you move on; not all plants have roots, stems and leaves! We categorise these types of plants as non-vascular plants. This means that they do not have a vascular system. A vascular system is a system that transports water and nutrients around the plant. So, non-vascular plants do not have xylem and phloem to transport materials around the plant. They are usually small and low to the ground so that they can soak up water more easily, moss is an example of a non-vascular plant. Like vascular plants (plants that have roots, stems and leaves) non-vascular plants rely on photosynthesis to produce the energy that they need.

Activity 8

Big Experiment!

Read pg 18-21 of The First Book of Plants

Today you are going to be carrying out a photosynthesis experiment. Follow the instructions below and complete the lab report. Ask your grown-up to help you get the equipment ready.

You will need: 4 glass jars, bean seeds, compost

  1. Half-fill four jars with compost.

  2. Place a bean into the first two jars, the right way up and then into the second two jars the wrong way up. If you are not sure which way is which just make sure two points one way and two the other!

  3. Fill up the rest of the jars with compost and water the compost.

  4. Place one right-way-up bean jar on a sunny windowsill along with one wrong-way-up bean jar.

  5. Place the remaining two jars into a dark cupboard.

  6. Over the next two weeks water the jars daily and record what happens, you can take photographs of the beans each day or keep a written diary.

You can use the lab report from yesterday or make your own experiment log to record your experiment. Things to think about are: Which bean do you predict will grow best? Why? Do you think placing the bean upside down will have an effect? What variables (conditions) did we keep the same or change? Which plant looks healthy? Why? How could you help the unhealthy plant grow better?

Activity 9


Let’s move on! At the start of the unit, I asked you to record some plants that you found. If you look back at the sketches it is likely that you spent more time drawing the flowers than anything else. We are now going to begin to look at the flower and its purpose.

Read from ‘Making New Plants’ Pg 23 – ‘How Bees Help’ pg 25 of The First Book of Plants.

Now you are going to dissect some flowers!

You will need scissors, tweezers, a craft knife, big flowers, paper plates, camera.

  1. Take your flower and gently separate the different parts using the scissors and tweezers.

  2. Place the different parts on a paper plate or piece of card, label each part and put the name of the flower at the top.

  3. Take a photograph of the plate.

  4. Repeat for the other flowers you have.

  5. Use the photographs to create a display of flowers. Try adding some descriptions about each part to the display.

Parts you can include are leaf, stem, root, sepal, petal, ovules, stamen (anther and filament), pollen and pistil (stigma, style, ovary).

Activity 10


Read from ‘How Bees Help’ pg 25 – ‘Packaged Plants’ pg 33 of The First Book of Plants.

StudyJams Plant Flowers

Pollination is the first process in creating new plants. During pollination, the pollen on the male stamen is transferred by insects or the wind to the sticky tops of the female pistil. If the pollen is transferred to the pistil of the same kind of plant, a long tube will grow out of the grain of pollen. The tube grows all the way down into the ovule. Inside the tube is the male gamete, which then travels all the way down the tube to join with the female egg cell inside the ovule, this is the second process called fertilisation.

The fertilised egg begins to divide and form an embryo, and the seed, and the ovule grows into a seed coat that protects the seed. This is the point at which the petals and sepals start falling off the plant while the ovule begins to grow to cover the seed. This covering, the fruit, is often juicy and nutritious to animals who eat the fruit. The fruit is easily digestible but the seeds are not and so pass through the body of the animal and are eliminated on the ground. If a fruit falls from a plant but is not eaten then the fruit decays and the seeds are left on the ground.

Activity 11

Insects are very important for pollination, without them many of the plants we know would disappear! So we are going to take a break from studying plants themselves and take a closer look at butterflies.

Watch the Pollinators SciShow video.

Go to this Natural Curriculum lesson, read the video description and watch it. You are going to create a word poster on Canva of onomatopoeic words that describe what you can hear in the forest. You could also experiment with adding sounds of the rainforest to your poster. The video below by One Lesson at a Time will help you recap

Activity 12

This activity may take a few sessions to complete. Watch this Synonym video by GrmmarSongs.

Work your way through this BBC Bitesize lesson on 'What is a Thesaurus', then scroll down and go to the next lesson, 'Using a Thesaurus'.

Complete the whiteboard challenge at the Natural Curriculum using your thesaurus. Then print out the worksheet on the final page and complete that.

Activity 13

Listen to the story 'Caterpillar to Butterfly' on Stories for Kids.

Go to the Big Butterfly Count , the Childhoodby Nature page and download these pages to become a great butterfly detective.

Using all you know about butterflies create either an infographic or a short story for a child in year 2 who needs to know what butterflies are, what their lifecycle is and why they are important. Remember to use a thesaurus to help make your work more interesting to read.

Activity 14

Seeds and Fruit

Read from ‘Packaged Plants’ pg 32 – 34 of The First Book of Plants.

Today I want you to look around you and think about the food you eat. We have talked about how plants store sugar to convert to energy in different parts of the plant and how fruit forms. Now I want you to identify different parts of the plant that we eat. Complete the worksheet.

Download PDF • 2.67MB

If you need a recap the BBC's Maddie, The Plants and You is a good video to watch. It won't always be available but worth trying to watch.

Next, I want you to do a short investigation. The food we eat all comes from somewhere. The problem is that some food has to travel a long way before it gets to us. Some of it travels by truck, some by boat and some by plane. All these methods of transportation use a lot of fuel and create pollution that contributes to global warming and the climate crisis. Today you are going to see how far your food has travelled.

Ask your grownup to help you fill up a shopping bag with food from your kitchen, and try to include fresh and tinned foods. Create a table for yourself with the column headings Food, Country, and Distance. Write the name of each of the foods down on your table and the country where it was made. Go to the food miles website and use the calculator to see how far your food has travelled. Write the answer in the distance column.

Create a poster calling people to action. Your poster is to tell people why they need to think about where their food comes from and what they can do to reduce their food miles. You can use the internet to research and the poster below to help you.

Persuasive Leaflet Checklist and help sheets
Download PDF • 259KB

Activity 15

So what happens if an animal does not eat the fruit of a plant? How does the seed become a new plant? Watch this SciShow video How Seeds Travel the World, to find out.

Activity 16


Read pgs 35 – 45 of The First Book of Plants.

Watch the SciShow How Seeds Become Plants.

Today you have been learning about germination, the process of a seed becoming a plant once it has fallen onto the ground and has the right conditions.

How are your beans coming along? By now you should be seeing signs of germination. Eventually, the bean will grow its own leaves and start producing its own food and then seeds.

You have now completed the whole life cycle of a plant!

To round up make sure you have completed these BBC Bitesize learners guides.

Ask your grownup for another bean seed. Pop the bean seed in water overnight.

Activity 17

Inside a Bean

Remove the bean seed from the water. Carefully remove the seed coat with your fingers (it should be nice and soft by now). Then gently separate the two halves of the seed and see if you can find the embryo and the food store. Draw a picture of the inside of your seed and label it.

To help you better understand everything we have covered about a plant's life cycle and to end with a bit of fun, go to this website and see if you can work your way through the cases and solve the Great Plant Escape.

Print out this summary sheet to add to your folder or put on your wall.

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