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An amazing world of plants: A harvest assembly

To understand and celebrate the importance of plants.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 1/2

Aims

To understand and celebrate the importance of plants.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly is suitable for a class presentation. Groups of children could research an aspect of the use of plants and briefly present what they have learned.
  • Gather an assortment of everyday items to demonstrate various uses of plant materials, for example, a cabbage and loaf of bread; a balloon; a length of timber and a wooden-handled axe or hammer; a box of matches; a lump of coal or gas camping lamp; a model car and wellington boots; a cotton T-shirt and some cotton wool; an empty box of aspirin tablets; some shampoo or shower gel containing plant extracts; a book, notepad and pencil.
  • A table or raised area on which to make a ‘world of plants’ display.
  • Appropriate pictures of the plants and processes mentioned might be projected in a PowerPoint display.
  • School communities wishing to include a Bible reading in their harvest celebration might adapt verses of Psalm 104 for choral reading. Verses 1, 10–18, 27, 30–31, 33 are positive expressions of gratitude. Search for Psalm 104 at http://bible.oremus.org/

Assembly

  1. Introduce the theme by saying: This harvest-time let’s be thankful for plants. While they may seem rather dull and boring, so much in our world depends upon the world of plants.

    Continuing at a good pace, give a running commentary on the items as you select them, hold them up for the students to see and arrange them to form a harvest ‘world of plants’ display.

    –  At harvest we give thanks for the plants we eat, not only cabbages but grains of wheat that are made into flour and baked into bread.

    – 
    So much comes from plants! Even the air we breathe! (Blow some air into the balloon). Plants provide the oxygen that our lungs and bodies need.

    –  Without plants, how would we build homes and schools? Trees provide the timber that we need for shelter and furniture. And wood is used to fashion many of the tools that are used.

    –  When it’s cold, plants provide us with warmth. Wood is used in the manufacture of matches and for fuel. Coal and gas, found deep below the ground, come from plants that lived some 350 million years ago!

    –  The petrol and oil used in cars and lorries also come from plant material. And bio-diesel is made from the crushed seeds of crops grown today.

    –  When it comes to getting around, other plants are important. Natural rubber is used for some components (parts) of cars. And if you can’t afford a car you’ll maybe need some wellington boots!

    –  Clothes come from the world of plants! T-shirts and jeans are made from cotton. It’s a white fibre that grows around the seed of the cotton plant.

    –  Our health also depends upon plant life. Many medicines were first extracted from flowers, leaves and roots. Aspirin, for instance, comes from a substance found in the bark of willow trees.

    –  Plants add fragrance to our world, and are used in some shampoos and shower gels. Our world would be unpleasantly smelly without the scented life of plants!

    –  Learning would also be very dull. Imagine a school without books! Yet without trees there would be no wood to pulp into paper – and no pencils either!
  2. Conclude by observing that the school community will now see how much our world depends upon the world of plants. At harvest we celebrate the rich resources of the earth and consider how to use them wisely. In caring for plants, we care for the planet and are linked with people across the globe.

Time for reflection

A reading from Psalm 104 (see the ‘Preparation and materials’ section above).

Invite members of the school community to record their sense of wonder and gratitude on leaf-shaped pieces of green paper. Add them to the world of plants harvest display and use them as a focus for reflection and prayer.

Song/music

‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32) to which other verses could be added.
‘Beautiful world’ or ‘We thank you’ (on the CD, A Combined Harvest by Out of the Ark Music).

Publication date: September 2011   (Vol.13 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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