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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

How to Grow a Cactus Indoors

Lesson Description:

Students will be able to...

  • identify and describe the similarities and differences among cacti plants as relates to physical structure, growth, change, and movement.
  • explain that all plants have basic needs and identify the specific needs of cacti plants.
  • differentiate between natural and man-made habitats and explain how both can support plant life (dish garden vs. desert habitat).
  • identify and organize events in their proper sequence.

Lesson Type:
  • Experiment
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
30-40 minute class session along with daily cultivation of cactus
Standards Addressed:
  • science standard 5: understand the structure and function of cells and organisms.
    • benchmark # 1: know the basic needs of plants and animals (e.g., air, water, nutrients, sunlight/food shelter).
    • benchmark # 2: know that plants and animals have features that help them live in different environments.
  • science standard 6: understand relationships among organisms and their physical environment.
    • benchmark # 2: know that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and that distinct environments support the life of different types of plants and animals.
  • science standard 12: understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
    • benchmark # 1: know learning can come from careful observation and simple experiments.

Materials Needed:
  • pictures of cacti
  • 10" shallow dish or bowl
  • soil formulated for growing
  • cactus or soil/sand
  • gravel
  • give or six small cacti (Choose varying heights and textures.) 
  • Spoon
  • Copies of How to Grow a Cactus Worksheet (provided below)

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Growacactus.pdf
Located in: Science

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