Activity: Macro-nutrient Manipulative

January 09, 2014 | 10:01 am

As students at the secondary level learn about the 17 essential nutrients plants require, it important to emphasize the macronutrients, as they are the nutrient present in a relatively large amount to ensure the health of the plant. This 30 minute paper manipulative activity is a nice way to reinforce Lesson 4 of Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century high school curriculum. Students can review concepts about NPK, how they affect plants, and their deficiency and toxicity symptoms.


  • Two sheets of construction paper per person
  • Glue Sticks
  • Writing Utensil
  • Scissors



  1. Fold one sheet of construction paper in half horizontally.
  2. Then fold the paper three times vertically and then unfold the paper.
  3. Cut the paper on the three folded vertical lines.
  4. Then fold a glue line so once attached to the other sheet of construction paper, the both ‘pages’ can flap (see visual).
  5. Text:
  6. Top flap: Nitrogen

Inside first flap, behind Nitrogen:

  1. –          Component of proteins and nucleic acids.
  2. –          Required for chlorophyll production.

Top Flap: Phosphorus
Inside first flap, behind Phosphorus:

  1. –          Component of nucleic acids and some proteins
  2. –          Required for energy transfer.
  3. –          Important for seed germination and water use.

Top Flap: Potassium
Inside first flap, behind Potassium:

  1. –          Required as a regulator involved in:
  2. –          Efficient use of water
  3. –          Transfer of food
  4. –          Protection against stresses

Next flaps:  See visual: Deficiency and Toxicity on different flaps.