ALEX Lesson Plan

Gymnosperms, Cone Bearing Vascular Plants

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Debra Spiller
System: Fayette County
School: Hubbertville School
The event this resource created for:GEMS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 24115


Gymnosperms, Cone Bearing Vascular Plants


Students will research printed encyclopedias, Internet resources ( and their science textbook to gather information to answer questions and draw an assigned portion of the Life Cycle of the Gymnosperms.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):

Local/National Standards:

National Academies of Science, NS.9-12.3

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will learn the characteristics of gymnosperms. Students will use hands-on experience to learn the Life Cycle of Gymnosperms. Students will see how gymnosperms are different from angiosperms.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will learn the biomes where gymnosperms are the most abundant type of trees. (northern biomes)

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Pine tree cross-section or a transparency of a pine tree cross-section, transparency of the Life Cycle of the Gymnosperm, and a transparency of an Angiosperm (for comparison). The transparencies are with the resource material that comes with the science text book or look on the Internet ( to find some pictures. A pine cone, a jar that the pine cone will fit into when wet, (the pine cone will be smaller when wet and will open up when dry), paper plates, and a map or globe of the United States.

Technology Resources Needed:

Overhead projector, or interactive board, computer with Internet and printer.


Teacher should be familiar with the characteristics of the gymnosperm (cone bearing) plants. For the demonstration soak a pine cone in water overnight. The cone will close to protect the seeds. While the cone is closed place the cone in a jar with a small top and place in a window in the sunlight. The cone will open up. The cone will be too large to fall out of the jar.

1.)The teacher will show an open pine cone in a jar. The cone is too big to fall out. Ask, how did I get the pine cone in the jar? The cone will close when wet, to protect the seed, and open when dry.

2.)Explain gymnosperm have naked seeds and are protected by the cones. Angiosperm seed are protected by fruit.
( - a non-reference resource

3.)One way to help students remember the difference in angiosperm and gymnosperm is by this sentence - Gym Cones brings Angi flowers. Gymnosperm have cones, Angiosperm have flowers.

4.)Use a map or globe and ask, In which biome would gymnosperms be most abundant? Explain it would be the northern biomes because they have short summers and gymnosperms are evergreens (stay green all year)and can survive with a short growing season.

5.)Give students a copy of the Life Cycle of Gymnosperms, (this should be with your resource material, or get a copy from (

6.)The teacher will use a transparency on an overhead projector or SMART board to go over and explain the Life Cycle of the Gymnosperm.

7.)Be sure to review meiosis (cell division of the sex cells)as you go over the lesson. Meiosis should have been covered earlier.

8.)When finished with the lesson place the students in groups of two.

9.)Assign each group a part (section or division) of the Gymnosperm Life Cycle to draw, label and color.

10.)10. Monitor the students to keep them on task. Give them about 15 minutes to finish.

11.)Starting at the beginning of the Life Cycle, let the groups explain what is happening in their part of the cycle, then let them hang it on the wall. Continue till all parts are hung on the wall.

12.)The students that finish the assignment first can make a banner saying "The Life Cycle of the Gymnosperm, Conifers". The banner should be hung at the top of the cycle.


Assessment Strategies

The students will be given a grade for their project. A test will be given at the end of the chapter, when the lessons are completed.


The lesson can be extended by assigning a conifer to every student to do research on. Some conifers are: pine (long leaf, short leaf), fir, cypress, redwood, and pacific yew. They can answer these questions: Where do they grow? How big do they get? What are they used for?


Students that need extra assistance should be paired with a student who is able to work more independently. The teacher should monitor the pair more closely than other students.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.