science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Make a Terrarium - What Plants Need Activity

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Outcomes: The student will be able to:

1) Watch the growth and development of a plant over time and identify the parts of a plant.
2) See how plants change their environment (and witness how the water cycle works).
4) Learn how to care for a plant.

1) Empty 2-liter plastic bottle (used soda bottle with label removed) with cap.
2) Collected pebbles from the yard.
3) Potting soil
4) Small garden trowel (or big spoon)
5) Either start with seeds (seed packets from garden store) OR dig up a small fern with a little moss from the edge of the woods.

1) Cut most of the way around the top of the bottle, leaving a little flap to keep it attached. Keep cap on.
2) Line the bottom inch of plastic bottle with pebbles for drainage.
3) Add 5 inches of soil (more soil if you are just adding seeds).
4) Either plant 3-4 seeds or collect your small plant from outside using the trowel (be careful to dig around the roots of the plant and include that soil.)
5) Plant seeds (or plant) and water gently, but generously, until the soil is very moist.
6) Set the top of litter bottle back on and tape it securely in place. Make sure cap is on.
7) Set in sunny window and watch the plant grow and develop over the next few weeks. Don’t open bottle again.

Do you notice that water coating the inside of the bottle? Why is that happening? Why don’t you have to water your plant?

Make a Terrarium - What Plants Need Activity

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Amsel, Sheri. "Make a Terrarium - What Plants Need Activity" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. March 24, 2023
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.