Plants: The life cycle of the saguaro cactus

Presented by: Cynthia Tidd

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


This lesson is designed for 2nd grade to be taught collaboratively with the LMS and the classroom teacher and integrated into the science curriculum particularly the life cycle of plants. The students will interact with the teachers as they listen to a read aloud of the book CACTUS HOTEL. After listening to this non-fiction picture book, students will work in groups to find more information on the giant Saguaro cactus in an encyclopedia, illustrate the plant's life cycle, and graph the growth (height) of cactus . Completed work will be displayed for others to view.

Goals & Objectives:

1. The students will listen attentively to the story.

2. The students will be able to respond to questions posed about the story.

3. The students will work cooperatively with a partner to: extract information from an encyclopedia, illustrate the plant's life cycle, and make a graph of the plant's growth stages.



CACTUS HOTEL by Brenda Guiberson


1. Begin the lesson by asking the students to brainstorm of list of facts that they already know about the desert.

2. Ask the students what non-fiction means and explain that they are going to hear a non-fiction book about a plant in the desert.

3. Read aloud CACTUS HOTEL encouraging the students to interact with questions and answers about the story.

4. Pair the students and explain that they have 3 jobs to do. Have them rotate through 3 centers- one center for each job.

5. Ask the students look up 'cactus or 'saguaro cactus' in the encyclopedia (online or print) and list 3 facts on a sheet of paper. Model this procedure. (Hopefully, the students have already been introduced to the encyclopedia).

6. Ask the students to draw an illustration of the life cycle of the saguaro cactus. Provide the students with pictures of the life cycle or assist them in creating one using the information from the story and/or the encyclopedia.

7. Ask the students to make a graph of the growth stages of the saguaro cactus. Assist the students in making the graph using the information from the story. You may prefer to create a graph template ahead of class time and have the students complete it. Also, you may wish to use software programs such as Math Van or Microsoft Excel to create a graph.

8. Close the lesson by asking the students to share aloud what they have learned. Display their work for others to use -perhaps at a science fair !


1. The teachers and the students will interact with questions and answers throughout the lesson.
2. The teachers will observe the students listening attentively to the story.
3. The teachers will observe and assist the students working cooperatively in groups to: find 3 facts about the saguaro cactus, illustrate its life cycle, and chart its growth on a graph.

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