Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Science
- alfalfa, mustard, clover, and radish seeds
- spring or filtered water
- chart paper and marker
- camera and film
- measuring spoons
- 4-8 jars
- rubber bands
- 4 large tin pans
Objective: Children will engage in a planting activity to learn about sprouts and gain skill in predicting, observing, and recording new information.
In Advance: Make a graph by gluing each type of seed onto a piece of chart paper and creating four columns. Label each seed. Label the four tin pans with the type of seeds that will be placed in each. Do the same with the jars used for sprouting the seeds. It may be best to do this activity in the afternoon since the sprout seeds must initially soak at least 8-12 hours.
- During group time, write the word sprout on chart paper. Invite children to tell you what this word means to them. Record their responses. Show children the graph with the four different seeds. Encourage children to study the different seeds and discuss their differences and similarities. Record their responses in the corresponding columns.
- Explain to children that they will learn how to grow special plants from each of these sprouts. Divide children into two groups. Provide each group with two different seeds for sprouting. Ask children to measure out three tablespoons of their seeds and place them into separate tin pans. Children can pass the pan around so that each child can have a turn inspecting and cleaning the seeds until they are ready. Place the clean seeds in a strainer and rinse with water. Invite children to photograph the different phases of this project.
- Pour the rinsed seeds into a jar and cover with filtered water, a few inches above the seeds. The seeds can soak overnight. The next morning, invite children to strain the seeds. Provide each group with a sheet of cheesecloth. Assist children in fastening the cheesecloth over the top of the jar with a rubber band. Ask them to strain the water into their tin pans.
- To ensure drainage, have each group place their jars upside down in the tin pan and safely prop them up against a wall or cabinet. Before the end of the day, children will repeat the rinsing process again. This process will be repeated twice a day for about 4-5 days. Engage children in discussions of their growing sprouts. Record their observations on chart paper.
Cooking: Sprout Tasting. Invite children to taste each type of sprout and describe its flavor
Sprout Tea Sandwiches. Sprouts are very good on sandwiches. Remove the crust from the bread and cut it into triangles. Invite children to make peanut butter or cheese sandwiches with sprouts.
Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad, and Other Wild Dishes by Jean Craighead George (HarperCollins juvenile, 1995; $17.95)
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables From A to Z by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt Brace, 1993; $7)
I'm a Seed by Jean Marzollo (Scholastic Inc.; $2.63)