My grade 1-2 class was out in our school’s courtyard putting out some bird seeds we had collected to set outside our classroom window. In our Science unit we had been working on expectations dealing with Living Things and in talking about showing care and respect for all living we decided to start feeding some local birds. We had examined the seeds from our bird seed bag. Compared and sorted them (math: sorting and classifying objects using one attribute ) and read the instructions and ingredients on the bag it self.
While out in the courtyard one students noticed a plant pod that was growing outside and pointed out.
Since I made such a big deal about him finding these other seeds, this then encouraged the class to go out into the courtyard in small groups and see what other seeds they could find. We had already spoken about how plants use seed to reproduce so there was some background knowledge already taught. After a few moments they had gathered a variety of seeds.
This then lead to the question, “Would these seeds now grow ?”
We took the seeds inside and set up a large planter. We divided the seeds and assigned each seed a stick and letter. Each seed was then planted into out make shift garden. We even planted some of our birdseed along with these courtyard findings. We spoke about what the seeds would need to grow and provided water and a source of light.
I had them make predictions about which plants they thought would grow first, which would grow the tallest, what colours would they see and other related questions. We asked parents to offer ideas in their agendas. The next day we went over our predictions. A parent had written back that birdseed was treated so it would specifically not grow, and we eagerly awaited to see what would happen.
We started a tally chart (math : collect and organize primary data) to keep track of the days.
Under the tally chart we also started to record the days plants started to break through the soil.
Unexpectedly, we also had mushrooms that started to grow out of the solid. Which lead us to the internet to try and understanding how this happened. There were a lot of classroom predictions, but I did need to turn to websites to find some answers.
As some of the plants have started to grow we have now added meter sticks to the soil to help measure growth. 10cm was placed under ground so students must subtract 10 from each measurement but they are very eager to plot their findings. The activity has provided us with a lot of learning opportunities and as we uncover new ones I will add them here.
Over the months the plants started to produce seeds themselves. This brought forth many more questions and opportunities to build on our learning. The decided to go further and plant the seeds that had grown from the originals.
After a few days the seeds, that had grown from our first batch of plants, were already sprouting a second generation of plants.
The lessons and links to the curriculum for this activity have lasted for an entire school year. I am continue to work on the activity with my new class as we repeat the process as well as continue to monitor the work of the past class.