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Garden Science Activities!!!

Below you will find several Science activities. There is so much I could put on this page. This is one page you will definitely want to check on often as I will be adding new ideas!

Measure Plant Growth

You will need the following materials:

notebook and pencil ruler soil pots seeds- bean, radish, or pea

  1. Put soil in the pots. Poke holes and put seeds in the soil. Cover the seeds with soil.
  2. Put the pots in the sun. Water the plants.
  3. Every day: Measure how much the plant has grown. Count the number of leaves. Record the information in the notebook. (For younger children, you may want to do this as a class project!)

Plants Need Sunlight

You will need the following:

2 small green plants brown paper bag

  1. Put the plants in a sunny window. Cover one plant with the bag.
  2. Water each plant, but always keep the one plant under its bag.
  3. Watch what happens over the next few weeks.

Plants Need Water

You will need the following materials:

2 small potted plants

  1. Put both plants in a sunny window.
  2. Water one plant when it is dry. DO NOT water the other plant.
  3. Check every day to see what happens to the plants.

Water Moves Up Stems

You will need the following materials:

celery with tops white carnations 2 glasses of water food coloring

  1. Add food coloring to the two glasses of water. Put celery in one glass and a carnation in the other.
  2. Put the glasses in the sunlight. Leave overnight.
  3. Check the celery and carnation. What do you see?
  4. A fresh cut stem will pick up the water better.

The "Inside" Story

You will need the following materials:

soaked lima beans or pinto beans a small knife (for teacher use only) paper plates toothpicks magnifying glasses

  1. In advance, soak beans overnight. Demonstrating with a whole soaked bean, show the children the paper-thin seed coat. By rubbing the bean between your thumb and finger, you can remove the coating. What do the children think the coating is for? (Like skin, it protects the seed.)
  2. Next split the rest of the soaked beans into their two sections. Explain to the children that they are going to have a chance to see what is inside a seed. Then give each student or pair of students both halves of a bean to examine closely under a magnifying glass. (Make sure they understand that a bean is the seed of a bean plant.)
  3. As the children examine the inside of their seeds, ask them if they can see a tiny plant already inside the seed. Explain that this baby plant is called the embryo. The children will be able to see that the baby plant already has tiny leaves and roots. The rest of the seed, called the seed leaves, contains food for the baby plant. You might also point out the spot, where the bean was attached to its stem.

Feeding the Baby

You will need the following materials:

a slice of bread sugar a few drops of milk soaked lima beans or pinto beans iodine medicine dropper

  1. Remind the children that most of a seed (the seed leaves) contains food for the baby plant inside. Ask children what kind of food they think the baby plant eats. Then explain that baby plants need starch. Foods people eat, such as bread, milk, and sugar, contain starch.
  2. Tell the class that scientists have a way to test to see whether foods contain starch. Then demonstrate the test by dropping a little iodine onto the bread, the sugar, and into the milk. Let the children see that all three turn blue or purple. This means the food contains starch.
  3. Ask children what they predict will happen if a little iodine is dropped onto the seed leaves of the pinto or lima beans. Cut open the beans and perform the test. (It will be positive.) Ask the students what the test proves.

Different Ways to Grow Plants

You will need the following materials:

sweet potato sprig of ivy 2 jars of water

  1. Put the end of the potato in the water. (You may need toothpicks to hold it in place.)
  2. Put the ivy sprig in a jar of water.
  3. Watch for roots and leaves to grow.

Wet Seeds, Dry Seeds

You will need the following materials:

lima beans a plant mister twist ties paper toweling plastic bags

  1. Now that the children know where seeds come from and what's inside them, ask them if they have any ideas about what makes seeds start to grow. Why do seeds start growing when we put them in the ground, but not if we leave them in a bag or a jar? Invite the children to do an experiment to find out the answer.
  2. Have the children pair up. Give each pair a handful of lima beans and two sheets of paper toweling. Show the children how to put some of the beans on the towling, rolling each sheet with the seeds inside to make a "seed roll".
  3. Have the pairs of children take turns using a plant mister to thoroughly moisten one of the seed rolls. Then have the children put both rolls in separate plastic bags and close the bags with twist ties. Have the children keep the bags in their desks or another dark, warm place. Make one moist bag to put in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator and another to put in your desk.
  4. Have the children predict what will happen to the seeds in the moist roll, the seeds in the dry roll, and the seeds ion the freezer roll. Record the children's predictions to compare with what actually happens after step 4.
  5. After two or three days, check the wet seed roll in your desk to see if any seeds have germinated. If not, wait a day or two longer. When you can see roots growing out of the seeds, have the children open both of their rolls and compare the wet seeds with the dry ones. The dry seeds will look the same as they did at the beginning of the experiment: the wet seeds will have begun to grow.
  6. Take the moist seed roll out of the freezer compartment and have the children examine it. Why didn't any of the seeds start to grow?
  7. What conclusion can the children draw about what makes seeds start to grow (germinate)? (They need a moist, warm, dark environment.)
  8. Explain that certain chemicals in the seeds make them start to grow. These chemicals can't do their job when they are dry or too cold: they need warmth and water to become active.

Growing Bulbs

You will need the following materials:

One of the following; onion, avacado, sweet potato, gladiola, etc. 3 toothpicks clear glass jar or clear drinking glass water

  1. Stick 3 toothpicks into the bulb.
  2. Place the bulb on top of a clear glass or jar about 3/4 full of water with the pointed end down.
  3. Put the glass in a dark place for 2-4 weeks, or until the bulb sprouts and has roots. The bulb may split slightly.
  4. Add water when necessary, keeping the water level always about the same, 1/2 way up on the bulb.
  5. Once the bulb has sprouted, put it in a sunny place, and watch it grow.
  6. Note: An onion will produce long green leaves and perhaps even a flower, but it may become smelly after a while.
  7. Cut a gladiola bulb open and see the "babies" waiting to come out..

    Other Planting Ideas

    Seeds in pine cones will sprout when pushed into the soil.

    Plant raw shelled peanuts in a large container and keep moist.

    Grow seeds in sponges (natural or man made). Place sponge in a bowl.
    Keep the sponge moist and place in full sun.
    Note: grass seed and bird seed work best.

    Parts of a Plant: Listening Center Activity

    You will need the following materials:

    Homemade tape describing the parts of a plant Felt shapes cut to resemble each plant part (store in a plastic baggie) flannelboard tape player and headphones

      Instruct the child(ren) to listen to the tape.As he listens have him arrange the plant parts on the flannelboard according to the information on the tape.

    Growing Plants in the Classroom

    You will need the following materials:

    a variety of fresh vegetables a knife paper plates

    1. In advance, prepare a variety of vegetables that can be eaten raw to bring to class.
    2. Call the children's attention tto the vegetables on display in the classroom. Talk with the class about their experiences with eating vegetables and which vegetables they like best.
    3. Cut up and pass around some samples for the children to taste. Ask the children to identify what they are eating.
    4. As the children are eating, ask them where they think their snacks came from. Help the children trace the vegetables from the supermarket back to a farm where they were grown.
    5. Discuss with the children that a garden is like a tiny farm where people grow their own vegetables or flowers.

      Where The Wild Things Aren't

      You will need the following materials:

      flowerpots digging tools plastic bags rubber bands a marker potting soil radish seeds

      1. Take the children on a nature walk in the woods, a park, or any area where plants grow wild.
      2. Ask the children if they think someone planted the trees and weeds that they see. If no one planted them, how did they get there? Explain that plants make their own seeds. The seeds fall or are carried by wind or animals and land on the ground where they grow into new plants.
      3. To show the children that there are already seeds in the ground, distribute digging tools and have groups of children fill flowerpots with soil from an area where plenty of wild plants are growing.
      4. Bring the pots back to the classroom and add water. Cover each pot with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band to hold in moisture.
      5. Label each pot with a W for "wild" and put the pots in a sunny place.
      6. Ask the children to predict what will happen.
      7. The next day each group will fill a flowerpot with potting soil and plant radish seeds. Show the class pictures on the seed packets so they will know what is being planted.
      8. Moisten the soil and cover with plastic bags as you did with the wild growth.
      9. Label this pot with P for "planted".
      10. In approximately a week, both pots should show signs of growth. Compare and contrast the growth in the two pots.