A lazy susan with tactile models representing stages of the life cycle of a plant.

Creating a 3-D Model of a Plant Life Cycle

Students create their own tactile representation of the plant life cycle for life science and biology.


Students create a 3-D model of the germination of a bean seed, providing students with an opportunity to make a symbolic representation of the germination process.




  1. Explain to the students that they will be creating a model of the germination of a bean.
  2. Review the stages of the germination process using the overlays and real plants.
  3. Ask questions about the sequence of the germination process.  Provide a braille and large print copy of the stages of the germination process to each student.
  4. Determine how germination begins.
  5. After examining the various textures available, have students decide which texture should be used to represent each stage. Ex: pipe cleaners were used to represent the roots of the plants.
  6. Allow each student to add something to the model in turn.
  7. Match each stage to labels.
  8. Discuss how symbols are used to represent parts of the germination process. Equate it to other symbols that they use.
  9. Secure model to the top of the Lazy Susan and spin the model to demonstrate the germination cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Creating 3-D model of the germination of a bean is a great culminating activity to do with all students. Each student contributed to the model. We used real bean seeds to start and then added new parts using textured materials to demonstrate the germination process. We started with the bean seed followed by a root, a shoot, leaves, buds and flowers. The students used Wax Strings by Klutz for the arrows to indicate the flow of the process. Braille and large print labels were added for clarification.

There are no specific variations for this activity. Let us know if you think of something!

NGSS Standards:

LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

By Becky S. Hoffman

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