Lakes and Ponds: Plants

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11446

When you plant plants, don't you usually plant them in soil? Do you know there are plants that live in the water? There are some that just kind of float around, too. Do some research, draw, and learn!


Earth Science, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever seen plants growing in water?
  • Does that seem strange?

lake reeds

Lakes and ponds are found all over the world.

  • Did you know freshwater lakes and ponds cover one-fifth of the earth's surface?

Think about when you saw a lake or a pond.

  • What plants did you see living there?
  • What did you notice about the lake or pond?

water plants

Grab a pencil and paper to create an outline while exploring this lesson. 

When creating an outline, you start with a topic, break that topic into smaller topics, and add details. Outlines are short. This means you do not have to write complete sentences!

Copy the outline below with the information you already know about lakes and ponds.

  1. Lakes
    1. large body of water
    2. types of water in lakes
      1. fresh water (common)
      2. salt water (less common)
    3. water sources
      1. glaciers
      2. streams
      3. rivers and lakes
    4. surroundings that keep water in the lake
      1. mountains
      2. hills
      3. low inclines
  2. Ponds
    1. small body of water
    2. types of water in ponds
      1. fresh water (common)
      2. salt water (less common)
    3. water sources
      1. underground water sources, like freshwater springs
    4. surroundings that keep water in the pond
      1. mountains
      2. hills
      3. low inclines
  3. Four Zones
    1. littoral zone
      1. gets the most light
      2. at the top of the lake or pond
    2. limnetic zone
      1. gets some light
      2. just below the top layer of water
    3. profundal zone
      1. gets little light
      2. towards the bottom of the water
    4. benthic zone
      1. gets no light
      2. the bottom of the water

Great work! Now you can add to your outline as you learn more.

water lilies

Lakes and ponds are home to many plants. (Plants should be the "D." heading for your outline.).

Think about some plants you have seen in the water.

  • What did they look like?

A common plant found in lakes and ponds is a water lily. (Label this "1." on your outline, and any details about lily pads should be labeled with "a.," "b.," etc.)

Water lilies can only grow in water that is not moving or moving very slowly. The leaves and flowers on the water lily grow at the top of the water.

Hardy water lilies are the most common water lily. They come in many different colors.

  • What colors do you see below?

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You should have added more information to your outline, like the one below.

  1. Plants
    1. water lilies
      1. grows in non-moving or slow-moving water
      2. leaves and flowers are on the surface
      3. hardy lilies are most common
      4. come in many different colors

Add the next plant you will learn about, duckweed, to your outline. (2. duckweed)

Duckweed is another common plant found in lakes and ponds. This plant is a free-floating plant. This means the plant is floating at the water's surface and is not attached to anything. Its roots hang in the water beneath the plant.

Duckweed spreads quickly and covers the surface of lakes and ponds. Check out the duckweed below.

  • What is it shaped like?

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Another plant that is frequently found in lakes and ponds is a cattail. (3. cattal)

The average size of a cattail is three feet tall, but some cattails can grow as large as ten feet tall! They have long green leaves and brown flower spikes at the top.

If you look at the cattail below, you will notice it almost looks like it has a hot dog on its stem! Cattails are a great food source for animals living near lakes and ponds.

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  • Did you add duckweed and cattails to your outline?

If not, return to the duckweed and cattail section to finish the rest of your outline.

Once your outline is ready, move on to the Got It? section.

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