Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Just Dig It

Bonnie Kirin
Santa Rosa District Schools


If the shoe fits, wear it. If the plant outgrows its pot, repot it. In this lesson students learn to transfer plants into larger pots.


Apply employability skills in the workplace.

Apply employability skills in the workplace - with guidance and support.


-Plants that are too large for their pots
-Pots larger than the original pots
-Potting soil
-Watering cans, or other means of watering plants
-Containers to soak clay pots
-Steps for Potting Up a Plant Checklist (See Associated File)


1. Gather shoes. (Shoes can be obtained from the local Helping Hands.)
2. Gather plants to be repotted.
3. Gather materials needed by students to repot plants. (See Materials)
4. Make student copies of the Steps for Potting Up a Plant Checklist. (See Associated File)


-This lesson was designed for developmentally delayed adults, however, it would also be applicable for ESOL/ESL students.
-The clients/students should have prior knowledge of the vocabulary used in this lesson--pot, potting soil, spade, root ball, repot, tickling the roots, watering can, clay pots, potting up. If students are not familiar with these words, teach a vocabulary lesson prior to beginning this lesson.

1. Ask the students if they have ever tried to wear a pair of shoes that were too small.

2. Have several pairs of shoes available for students to try on or have students exchange one of their own shoes with a classmate with a size smaller foot. Make sure they try on a pair slightly too small (small enough to be uncomfortable), yet make sure they can get their foot in the shoe. Have the students walk around the room.

3. Encourage students to share how they felt wearing shoes that were too small. Ask the students what they would do if their shoes were too small. (Hopefully the answer will be to buy a larger pair of shoes.) Explain to the students that a pot is like a pair of shoes for a plant. When the plant grows too large for the pot, a larger pot is needed. Explain to the students that if they were to continue to wear shoes that were too small, their feet would become deformed. The same is true for plants. If the pot is too small, the plant will not grow and develop properly. Remind the students of the plants planted earlier in the year. Show them how the plants have grown and need to have a “new pair of shoes.”

4. Distribute the pictorial Steps for Potting Up a Plant Checklist (See Associated File) and discuss the step-by-step procedures.

5. Take students to the garden center (or potting area of your classroom). Distribute plants that need to be repotted.

6. Distribute potting soil, larger pots, spades, and watering cans with water.

7. If using clay pots, soak the pot in water while doing step eight. This keeps the pot from taking water from the soil when it is repotted. (If not using clay pots, skip this step.)

8. Direct students to water the plant in its original pot and wait a few minutes for the water to saturate the roots and drain away.

9. Remove the clay pots from the water they have been soaking in and cover the bottom of the pot with about ˝” of potting soil. Provide corrective verbal feedback to students as they work.

10. Remove the plant from its original container by loosening the soil from the edges of the pot as you gently tap the pot. Gently lift the plant from the smaller pot by grasping the plant as close to the soil as possible and gently tugging on the plant. If the roots are tightly bound together, loosen the roots slightly by gently pulling apart. This is called tickling the roots. Assist students as needed.

11. Place the plant into the larger pot so that the root ball goes deeply into the pot. Assist students as needed.

12. Cover the root ball with more soil until it fills in around the root ball and covers the top of the root ball. Assist students as needed.

13. Water the repotted plant and move to a sunny area.

14. Upon returning to the classroom, have the students refer to the Steps for Potting Up a Plant Checklist. Use the checklist to review and discuss each step, asking students to check off each step they did. Explain to the students how what they’ve done today is similar to activities they may do on a job. They have followed verbal directions to complete a task. They have also monitored their task completion by using a checklist.


In this formative assessment, students have achieved their targeted goal by presenting a correctly repotted plant. In addition, students self-assess their task completion on the checklist. Students who have difficulty with either task should be given extra time and instruction to complete it.


1. Review vocabulary for ESOL/ESL students, as well as those students who have no prior knowledge of gardening vocabulary.
2. There were no participatory benchmarks to correlate to the independent and supported benchmarks; therefore, I have included the following skills for those students. Participatory students should:
a. transport plants from potting area to watering area;
b. water the plants;
c. transport plants from the watering area to a sunny location.
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