- Learn about the growth of weeds
- Learn which weeds are edible
- Practice observation skills
- Develop measuring skills
- Practice recording information
- Chart paper and markers
- Notebook and pencil
Set Up and Prepare
If you and your students do not have daily access to a park, playground, or yard where weeds grow, plant dandelions in pots, plastic containers, or a school garden for students to observe.
Step 1: Take a walk with children in a nearby park, playground, or yard. Explain to children that you will assist them in finding plants known as weeds. Ask children if they recognize any of the weeds they see or if they know what a weed is. Share with children that some people remove weeds from their gardens because the weeds take food away from other plants. NOTE: Remind children that they must not eat any of the weeds they are studying.
Step 2: Ask children to choose a weed for a weed study. Explain that they will begin the study by recording information about the weed. Ask children to look at the weed and describe what they notice about it. Record their comments in a notebook.
Step 3: Use a piece of yarn or string to measure the weed.
Optional: Use a camera to photograph the children with their weeds as another method of documentation.
Step 4: When children return to the classroom, record the weed information on a sheet of chart paper. Record the date and glue the yam onto the chart paper to show the size of the weed.
Step 5: Ask children to predict how much taller their weed will grow by the end of two weeks. What else do they think might happen to their weeds? Record their predictions.
Step 6: Assist children in finding out what type of weed they have chosen to study. Information can be found in an encyclopedia, during a visit to a local library or plant store, or on the Internet.
Step 7: Return to the weed over the next few days or weeks. Measure and record facts each time children visit their weed. Children can bring paper and drawing materials to draw their weeds.
Step 8: Provide children with magnifying glasses to closely observe their weeds. Do they notice any special patterns or designs on the leaves? Have they found any insects on the weeds?
Step 9: Conclude the activity by comparing their predictions with their observations.
Optional: Assist children in preparing a wall exhibit to document their weed study.
For Younger Children
Make weed prints in the classroom. Ask children to collect interesting weeds outdoors. When you return to the classroom, invite children to dip them in paint and press them onto white construction paper.
For Older Children
Provide a collection of books that include illustrations of different kinds of weeds. Encourage children to try and identify where they may have seen some of these weeds.
Read the book Dandelions by Eve Bunting with children. Take a walk to pick dandelion flowers. Place the dandelions in a container with water. Provide children with paper, painting materials, yellow and green tissue paper, and glue. Encourage children to create their own dandelions.