Ready-To-Use Teaching Idea: Science
- potting mix (soil substitute), fertilizer
- vegetable seeds
- containers for planting: buckets, basins, cans, milk crates lined with heavyweight plastic bags
- gardening tools and watering can
- chart paper, drawing paper, and markers
- camera and film
Objective: Children will develop science concepts, language, and social skills as they work together to plant a container vegetable garden.
In Advance: Contact families and nurseries for donations for your planting activity. Invite family members with gardening expertise or farmers or nursery owners to talk to the children about planting. Buy vegetable seeds that are conducive for container gardens.
- Explain to children that they will plant a container garden to grow "salad" vegetables. Ask them if they have ever planted in containers. Encourage them to share what they know about planting and caring for plants. Invite children to think of the types of vegetables that are used to make a salad. Ask them to choose several vegetables to grow in their container garden. Begin photographing the process of the activity from the planning stages through the harvest period.
- Prepare charts with children to record what they twill need to plant their container garden and how they will care for their plants. Develop charts during classroom visits with gardening experts. Create observation charts where the children can record daily observations of the plant growth.
- Collect all the necessary materials needed to plant the container garden. Choose a sunny area in your playground to place the garden. Remind families to dress children in old clothing and to send an extra set of clothes. Invite adults to assist so that children can work in small groups.
- Save seed packets to attach to craft or wooden sticks to indicate where the seeds are planted. Provide children with drawing paper and markers to draw and write about their planting experience. Plan a time each day to observe, care for, and record information about the plants. Teach children how to use the camera to take turns photographing the growth of the plants. Invite them to draw the plants as they are growing.
Math/Cooking: How to "dress" a salad. Work with children to develop a questionnaire about the different types of dressing people like on their salads. Ask them to predict what will be the three most popular types of salad dressing. Develop a graph based on the information gathered. Assist children in summarizing the information gathered from their graph. Ask parents to send in favorite salad dressing recipes. Plan a "salad day." Invite family members to share this special day or incorporate it into a potluck family gathering.
A Gardener's Alphabet by Mary Azarian
A Is for Salad by Mike Lester
Rosie Plants a Radish by Kate Petty
This activity originally appeared in the March, 2001 issue of Early Childhood Today.