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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ECL0118
Submitted by: Jeffrey J. Welk
Endorsed by: Dr. Don Descy, Mankato State University
Date: May 20, 1998

Grade Level(s): 2, 3


  • Science/Ecology

Description: This activity is designed to make each student more aware of the terrarium environment.  In creating a terrarium,  students will benefit from hands-on and learning experiences over a four week period.


Students will learn and gain valuable knowledge about terrariums and the environment around them.


  • Students will keep daily records of what is going on in their terrarium environments.
  • Students will construct their own terrariums.
  • Students will demonstrate their findings about their terrariums to the class.
  • Background Information:

    This activity will demonstrate the importance of plants in the world.  By creating a bottle terrarium, students will observe the and note the occurring process.


    The students will:

    Identify what components are necessary for a bottle terrarium.
    Work with the scientific method or process.


    Two 2-Liters of pop (emptied and clean), markers, and scissors.
    Strawberry begonia (provided).
    Moss fern (provided).
    Sand (provided).
    Mosses (provided).
    Gravel (provided).
    Gardener’s charcoal (provided).
    Distilled water (provided).
    Garden soil (provided).


    1. Remove label from bottle.
    2. Cut the bottle about a 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of bottle one (Label #1).
    3. Cut the second bottle half way, keep the bottom half (Label #2).
    4. Poke 10 air hole in top.  Cut three 3cm-long slits in #2 so it slides into the base.
    5. Add a layer of sand or gravel for drainage.
    6. Then add garden soil.
    7. Sprinkle a little gardener’s charcoal to keep soil in good condition.
    8. Add Strawberry begonia and moss fern (other variations of plants can be used).
    9. Line base with moss.
    10. Water the soil well.
    11. Secure top lid on Terrarium and place in safe spot with students name attached to terrarium.


    1. I will collect each student’s observations and recordings.
    2. I would pass out a page with questions:
       a) What happened over the weeks in your terrarium?
       b) Why didn’t you have to water your terrarium much?
       c) What other observations did you make?


    Bottle Biology
    Department of Plant Pathology
    College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
    University of Wisconsin-Madison.