Underground Garden

Underground Garden lesson plan

What plants and animals live above the ground? Which can you find under the soil? Imagine a garden teeming with life!

  • 1.

    Above ground there is light, air, wind, people, sunshine, snow, and more. Below ground, there is darkness, moisture, shelter from some elements, pressure, and what else? Some plants and creatures live only above ground, some only below, and others in both areas. Would a seed grow if it did not have the Earth to protect it and nourish it? Would a plant flower if there were not the sun’s warm rays coaxing it to open? Invite small groups of students to investigate these questions.

  • 2.

    Provide an opportunity for students to share their research with classmates. Discussion to follow.

  • 3.

    Invite students to create a personal above and below ground garden. Children use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to divide a sheet of paper in half lengthwise. Sketch plants and animals that live above and below ground.

  • 4.

    Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola Washable Paint, paint gardens. Air-dry painting.

  • 5.

    Students share their paintings with small groups of classmates. Encourage students to discuss animals, insects and plants included in their artwork.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • LA: Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
  • SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
  • SCI: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of are to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Plants & Animals (World of Wonder) by Linda Trifeldt; Eyewitness Plant (DK Eyewitness Books) by David Burnie; Insect (DK Eyewitness Books) by Laurence Mound; First Nature Encyclopedia (Dk First Reference) by DK Publishing; Explore the Deciduous Forest (Explore the Biomes Series) by Linda Tagliaferro; Many Biomes, One Earth by Sneed B. Collard III
  • Students work in small groups to investigate one plant that grows above the surface and one that grows and thrives below the surface of the soil. Compare and contrast the two. Students prepare a talk for classmates to share their research findings.
  • Students work in small groups to investigate one animal that lives above the surface and one that lives below the surface of the soil. Compare and contrast the two. Students prepare a talk for classmates to share their research findings.
  • Students organize an ant farm to observe how the insects tunnel below the surface of the soil. Students make daily observations of changes in the ant farm environment. Post observations to a class blog.
  • Student groups plant a terrarium and observe the activities above and below the surface of the soil. Student keep written journals of what they observe. At the close of a given period of time, all groups share their observations with classmates. Discuss similarities and differences in group observations.
  • Organize a field trip to a local farm. Have the farmer/tour guide share information with students about how the soil is prepared for crops, which grow below the soil, parts of vegetables that are considered the roots, the flowers, and the stems. Which do we usually eat? Upon returning to the classroom, students post learning to a class blog.