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Growing Plants for Food

In this worksheet, students will find out what we need to do to ensure that a plant grows well, and why this is important for food crops.

'Growing Plants for Food' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Plants

Curriculum subtopic:   Requirements for Life and Growth

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

We just couldn’t live without plants. Four fifths of the food we eat comes from plants, including cereals, such as oats, rice and wheat, fruits, vegetables and nuts. They provide us with many of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. Almost all of the plants that we use for food are specially grown for this purpose. It is important that farmers look after their crops and help them to grow well. The better the crops we grow, the better the food they produce. 

Rows of vegetables in a field

In this worksheet we’ll be looking at the things a plant needs to grow well and at some of the most important of our food crops.

What are the most important things that a plant needs to grow?

Air, earth, fire and water

Sunlight, fresh air, water, nutrients

Darkness, quiet, cold, dry soil

Sunlight, warmth, fresh air, a flowerpot

What happens to a plant that doesn't get enough light?

It stays short and stubby

It grows tall and spindly

It spreads out over a large area

What happens to a plant that doesn't get enough water?

Wilting sunflower plant

It stays small

It wilts and dies

It closes its leaves

Is it possible to give a plant too much water?

yes

no

Why is it important not to plant crops too close together?

Whole plant including roots and fruit

So the crops are easier to harvest

So insects have further to fly between plants

So the plant's leaves and roots have enough room to spread out and grow

How many different kinds of plants do you think supply three quarters of the food we eat?

12000

1200

120

12

What fraction of the world's population do you think depend on wheat for much of their food?

Ears of wheat

a hundredth

a fifth

a third

half

  • Question 1

What are the most important things that a plant needs to grow?

CORRECT ANSWER
Sunlight, fresh air, water, nutrients
EDDIE SAYS
So, sunlight - that's easy as plants need light to make their (and our food). Then the air provides carbon dioxide and there's also water for supporting their stems and leaves. Finally they need nutrients like minerals to keep them healthy and growing well. If you clicked the last one, you're nearly there but they do need air and they don't need a flowerpot!
  • Question 2

What happens to a plant that doesn't get enough light?

CORRECT ANSWER
It grows tall and spindly
EDDIE SAYS
Plants grow towards the light, and a plant that doesn't get enough light will grow upwards to where the light should be. Because plants use sunlight to make their food if they don't have enough light they wil grow weak and spindly.
  • Question 3

What happens to a plant that doesn't get enough water?

Wilting sunflower plant

CORRECT ANSWER
It wilts and dies
EDDIE SAYS
In fact plants cannot live without water! They are mostly made of water. The water from the soil is used to support their stems and leaves as well as to carry goodies around the plant. If they don't get enough they will eventually die.
  • Question 4

Is it possible to give a plant too much water?

CORRECT ANSWER
yes
EDDIE SAYS
It might surprise you, but YES! If a plant's roots get waterlogged they don't work properly. That means that the plant can't get all the nutrients it needs from the soil and so is no longer healthy and may die (rather like trees in an area that has become permanently flooded).
  • Question 5

Why is it important not to plant crops too close together?

Whole plant including roots and fruit

CORRECT ANSWER
So the plant's leaves and roots have enough room to spread out and grow
EDDIE SAYS
For plants to grow well they prefer lots of room. That means lots of light (no one else shading them) and lots of soil for maximum water and nutrients. If their leaves and roots get tangled together it means that they are having to compete (or fight each other) for the things they need to grow healthily.
  • Question 6

How many different kinds of plants do you think supply three quarters of the food we eat?

CORRECT ANSWER
12
EDDIE SAYS
Well - that was a surprise .... wasn't it?! In fact, amazingly, three quarters of our food supply comes from just 12 plants. That's well-known food plants like wheat, maize and rice. Isn't that a surprisingly small number?!
  • Question 7

What fraction of the world's population do you think depend on wheat for much of their food?

Ears of wheat

CORRECT ANSWER
a third
EDDIE SAYS
Again - what a surprise! A third of the people in the world depend on the health of the wheat crops to ensure that they have enough to eat - that's one in every three people in the world. What an amazing food crop wheat is, to be able to feed so many people!
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