Wednesday, May 4, 2011


When it's time to celebrate Spring with flowers, some seed science experiments are exactly what you need. Hands-on plant growing is so much fun for the kids - they will learn by doing and will be so proud of what they accomplish!

Grow something! Pick out some seeds with your child and get ready to get dirty! Make sure that you plant more than you need, to avoid any disappointment if things don't all grow. Sunflower seeds are always popular and easy to handle, but any seeds will do. I used zinnias this time, but have done all different flowers - and vegetables! Noting the differences in the seeds when working with a variety is fun, too!

Try a few different "experiments" with seeds:

1. Grass "Hair" - take a plain paper cup (somewhat sturdy) and draw a face on it - make it silly! Fill about two-thirds full with dirt and then add some grass seed. Water and leave in the sun and in a few days you will have grass "hair" sprouting! (I've also seen these done with character paper cups and with egg shells!) When it grows tall, you can give it a haircut! :)

2. Dirt/No-dirt planting: You will need a few of the same variety of seeds, along with dirt, a paper or plastic cup, a sandwich-sized plastic bag and a good paper towel. Plant two or three seeds in dirt in the cup, give it water and set in the sun. Then, soak the paper towel in some water, squeeze and fold into a square to fit in the plastic bag. Add a few seeds on the towel and seal up. Hang in sunlight in a window. In a few days, you will start to observe the seeds in the bag beginning to grow roots - it's fascinating for the children to observe.

We can't see what's going on in the dirt (unless you have planted a seed close to the edge of a translucent cup!), but soon a sprout or two will come up out of the dirt! Compare the size and growth of the two plantings and, when you have little seedlings in both, replant together into a larger container!

3. Keep a plant diary! Children can make an initial entry, drawing the process of planting and writing or dictating any words. Every day, as new growth or change is noted (or not!), new entries can be made, documenting the process (like a REAL scientist!!) At the end, a picture of the final product will cap it off!

4. To integrate technology into your lesson, take pictures with a digital camera and practice downloading and inserting into a document, where you can make your plant diary digital!

5. Take a few different seed varieties and mount samples on index cards. Cover with clear packing tape and label on the back with your child. Plant each type of seed in a different cup and label (one friend does this in cardboard egg carton cups). As you get plants starting to come up, try to match up the plants with the seeds you have on cards :)  See if the seeds look like the plants in any way! If you're in a classroom, set this up as a science center, updating with pictures of tiny seedlings on cards (again, label on back) as the plants grow bigger. Take new pictures at different stages and soon you will have a sequencing activity, too!

Have fun!!

No comments:

Post a Comment