Venus FlyTrap catching its next meal

Carnivorous Plants

Grade 4

Plants need certain elements to survive, including sunlight, water, nutrients, air, and space. Most plants get their nutrients directly from the soil in which they grow. But there are some parts of the world where plants grow in nutrient-poor soil. So how do these exotic plants get the nutrients they need to survive? We will explore that in this lesson.


Teacher's Guide and Related Standards


I can explain how certain plants are able to live in nutrient-poor soil and how these plants access the nutrients they need to survive.

Essential Questions

  • What do plants need in order to grow and survive?
  • How do exotic and carnivorous plants get their nutrients to survive?


Maryland Farm & Harvest Clip

Thinking questions:

  • What adaptations allow exotic, carnivorous plants to get their nutrients?
  • Why don’t all plants have the same external structures, like carnivorous plants do?


Supplemental Enrichment Activities

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

How the Venus Flytrap Processes Prey

Using the evidence from the infographic, students should summarize how a Venus Flytrap is able to detect flies to eat – without having eyes or the sense of sight in order to see the flies that approach.

» Go to Infographic

Structure and Function

Plant Adaptations - StudyJams Video

After the video, students can complete a graphic organizer in which they will describe the structural adaptations that allow the following plants to function and survive:

  • Underwater plants
  • Floating seeds (coconuts)
  • Floating plants (water lilies)
  • Brightly-colored plants
  • Poisonous plants
  • Plants with huge leaves
  • » Go to Video

    Systems and System Models

    Plant Structure - Think Garden Video

    After playing the video, have a discussion about the different systems that allow plants to function and survive. Discuss the differences in the systems that exotic, carnivorous plants have from the plants shown in the video.

    » Go to Video

    Career Connections


    This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport, in partnership with the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation.

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