Activity Plan 3-4: Planting Magic Beans
Try this activity to "plant the seeds" of early science skills.
- Grades: PreK–K
- book: Jack and the Beanstalk* by Matt Faulkner (Scholastic Inc.; $3.25)
- small plastic cup or milk container
- chart paper and brown craft paper
- plastic scoop (for soil)
- plastic sandwich bags
- dried lima beans
- paper towels
Objective: This lima bean activity will help children develop science skills including prediction, observation, and recording while encouraging language development.
- Read children Jack and the Beanstalk. Then show them a handful of dried lima beans. Invite children to plant the beans two different ways-in a cup with soil and wrapped in paper in a plastic bag-to see if a beanstalk will grow. Prepare a sheet of chart paper listing the two lima bean experiments. Ask children to predict what will happen in each experiment.
- Invite children to work in small groups to prepare the first experiment. Provide them with a plastic cup. Assist them in filling their cups halfway with soil. Place two lima beans in the soil. Cover with more soil. Add water. Write each child's name on a piece of masking tape and attach to the cups. Place the cups in a plastic bin or container to prevent spilling and keep them in a sunny area of the room.
- For the next experiment, provide each child with a plastic sandwich bag, a damp paper towel, and two lima beans. Ask children to carefully wrap their lima beans in the damp paper towel and then place them into the plastic bags. Label bags with children's names and place in a sunny area in the classroom.
- Prepare two five-day observation charts on long sheets of brown craft paper so that children can record their observations for two weeks. List each day of the week and make two columns below each day to record observations for the Planted Beans and the Wrapped Beans.
- Plan a time each day for children to observe the growth of their beans. Remind them to water their beans when the soil feels dry and to dampen the cloth if it becomes dry. Record children's observations daily. Compare the actual growth with their predictions.
Cooking: Succotash-As Much Fun to Say as It Is to Eat. Invite children to assist in preparing this delicious vegetable dish. Use canned, frozen, or freshly prepared lima beans and corn. You can also add finely chopped carrots, red bell peppers, or tomatoes. Place the cut vegetables in a bowl and invite children to stir them together until mixed. Place the mixture into a pot to cook. When finished, add a small amount of butter or margarine and a dash of salt. Ask children to make up words that rhyme with succotash.