Gardening Science

To illustrate how plants grow in vivid reality, use old fish tanks to grow vegetables. First, choose the vegetables you want to grow; we used carrots, radishes, beans, and potatoes. Consult seed packages for information on soil requirements and mix sand, soil, and potting mix to required soil texture. Next fill 2-3 inches of various size rocks in the bottom of the tank to provide drainage, then fill the tank with soil to the black edge on the top. (Filling the tank to the black edge prevents light from filtering to the roots.) Next allow the children to plant seeds against the side of the tank. (You can also plant the center of the tank) Wrap the bottom of the tank with thick, black paper (use a double fold of butcher paper) and place near a light source. Be sure to leave the front paper so that you can open it fairly easily to see the plant growth. The vegetables will develop against the glass so children can see how they really grow. Check the plants weekly and chart their growth, when mature, have a feast!

Plant seeds in small, clear Solo cups. Add Jell-O, in a thick mixture, like Jell-O Jigglers consistency. Push seed down into the Jell-O after it has hardened. The cup should be about half-way filled. Sunflower seeds work best. Once the seed has started to grow, take Jell-O and seed out of cup and plant into the ground. The seed need not be watered while growing in the cup. It draws its moisture from the Jell-O mixture. It is a fun way to watch a seed sprout and grow!

I first read the story “Surprise Garden” I buy 8 or 9 different seed packs. I empty them in a divided tray. I buy moss planting cups and have the children put potting soil in the cups. Then I ask them to choose what seed they like. When they pick it, I ask them what they think it will become, corn, sunflower, green beans etc. I document this on a tongue depressor along with their name. We leave them at school and monitor their growth. At the end of the school year they take them home and plant them…to become surprised what they actually planted!

Which Water Is Best?

Supplies: Three identical plants in soil; Tap water; Bottled water; Distilled water

What kind of water makes plants grow the best? To find out, water plant #1 with only tap water. Water plant #2 only with distilled water. Water plant #3 with bottled water. Do this for one month and chart any differences that you see.

To explain and demonstrate how flowers need water place a white carnation in a vase with colored water (use a good amount of food coloring) after a day the flower will take on some of the color of the water! Very fun!!

Take a large sponge…get wet and squeeze out excess water. Cover with grass seed and then water. The kids will have fun doing this. I take photos of the children preparing and keep camera on hand to “watch” progress w/ children looking on. Put sponge on a plate (or similar) for water leakage.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.