Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - Botany Lessons

Today’s lesson plan will encourage the kids to experience the best parts of spring, the excitement of new growth. With this lesson we will encourage the skills for later science fairs.

Supplies Needed:
Clear plastic cups
Potting soil
Grass seeds

It is best to use the clear plastic cups in order to allow the children to not only see the growth above ground but the root growth also. First you will dampen your soil and fill your cups about ¾ the way with soil. Sprinkle the grass seed on top and then sprinkle it lightly with additional soil. Put your cup in a bright spot and check the moisture level each day. In about 5-7 days you should see good growth. As the plants grow take the time to point out not only the top growth but the roots that are growing below the ground. Remind your child that all plants have roots that grow underground and that is how the plants get nourishment and grow, much like the veggies and fruits your child eats.

This project will be an excellent opportunity to teach your child all the different parts of a plant. You can go to the University of Minnesota’s website and see illustrations of the different parts of a grass plant. You can draw or print this and label it with your child and as you work on Botany for a bit you could even attach your drawings to a magnetic sheet and cut it out to allow your child to match it up on the refrigerator or if you want to contain the pieces you could use a cookie sheet for them to put the magnets on.

Other activities you can use to teach botany:
A nature walk to collect specimens
Growing flowers and learning the parts of flowers
Creating a collage with collected specimens
Color and label the parts of plants or animals

Quick to grow plants:

All of these plants will grow easily from seeds so you do not have to wait long to see something happen. When sowing directly in the spot the plants will grow at, scatter the seeds and keep the soil moist so they germinate.

Love-in-a-mist: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and is 12 inches tall.
Pot Marigold: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and is 5 inches tall.
Candy tuft: Full sun, germinates in 3 weeks and is 10 inches tall.
Cornflower: Full sun, germinates in 2 weeks and is 12-18 inches tall.
Nasturtium: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and height varies by species.
Shirley Poppy: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and is 24 inches tall.
Annual Mallow: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and is 20 inches tall.
Cosmos: Full sun, germinates in 2 weeks and is about 16-20 inches tall.
Sunflowers: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and height varies by species.
Zinnias: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and height varies by species.

Plants to grow from the grocery store:

Avocado: Remove the pit carefully from the Avocado. Push three toothpicks evenly spaced around the middle of the pit. With the pointed end of the pit facing upward, place the pit over a glass of water resting the toothpicks on the edge of the glass. The bottom of the pit should be submerged in the water. This should germinate in about 6 weeks and once it gets some growth it can be moved to a pot of soil.

Pineapple: Slice the leafy top off of a fresh pineapple, carefully remove all the fruit without damaging the core and strip away a few leaves at the bottom and allow to dry. Plant the bottom of the "plant" in a pot of soil and keep moist. Within 6 weeks the top will start to root but it will be a year or two before you get any fruits.

Carrot: Carrot tops will sprout and grow into bushy plants, but will not grow another carrot. Cut off the top about 2 inches from the crown. If there is any green on your carrot, cut it off. To sprout your carrot fill a shallow bowl with small pebbles or marbles. Push the carrot tops into the pebbles or marbles and fill the bowl with lukewarm water. Place the bowl near a sunny window and in a few days you will see the pretty fern-like sprouts of the carrot. Your carrot plant will last until it out grows it's container. It also makes a fun table decoration.

Garlic: You can plant garlic cloves, pointy side up directly in a pot of soil. Place your garlic plant on a sunny window sill and keep watered. Within a week you should have little green shoots emerging from the soil. You can actually use these shoots in your cooking as a garnish on soups or baked potatoes, or to give a garlicky taste to cooking.

Green Onions: Use green onions with healthy, white roots attached to the bulb. Snip off green tops for cooking with a scissors. Leave a little green top on the onion bulb. Plant the entire onion while leaving the short top above ground in a small pot filled with a loamy, organic potting soil. Make sure your container has drainage holes. Put in a sunny windowsill and water once a week or when soil feels dry to the touch. Harvest new green shoots with scissors to use for cooking or as a tasty garnish. Continue to leave the onion in the soil. With each new growth the onion will taste more potent. After each harvest of onion tops, dress the topsoil with organic compost.

No comments:

Post a Comment