This is an experiment I have done with every age I have taught. Preschoolers, as well as Jr. High students, LOVE seeing the development of the plants. This is a great project to begin journaling.
To do this project you will need: dry bean seeds or just a bag of dry beans, a zip top bag, paper towels (if you have access to those brown paper towels, they are best), water, a stapler, and something to hang the bag with (tape, tack, etc)
Years ago, in a teacher supply catalog, I saw “growing bags”. They were quite expensive and had small heat sealed slashes along the bottom half. Being extremely frugal, I was not going to pay the price for those bags and realized I could make one with the supplies listed above. So here we go:
First, gather your supplies. You can see here that I have bags of beans and have used those most of the time over the years. I did have a few extra lima bean seeds from last year, so I chose to use those today.
Then, take your paper towel and fold it (I used three and then folded them so they would fit in the bag). Slide it into your zip top bag.
Next, about two inches from the bottom, staple across the bag. It is important to get the staples with a little space between them, so the root can grow down, but not so far apart the bean call fall through.
Next, put 3 to 4 beans in the bag, allowing them to rest on the staples.
Pour water into the bag. I pour the water slowly and let about 1/2 to 1 inch of water gather in the bottom.
NOTE: MAKE SURE THE BAG STAYS OPEN AT ALL TIMES!! If you notice your paper towel is too wet, it is ok to pour out some of the water. You only want the towel a bit damp. If it is soggy wet, the seeds will rot and mold. That would be a whole new science lesson. So, if it does happen, and it often does, no matter how hard you try, do a lesson on moisture and mold!! Often, researching what went wrong can be more of a learning experience than the experiment itself.
Hang the bag in a well lit, warm location. If you have small children and a well lit kitchen/dining area, you might want to hang it from the counter. It will be eye level and make them feel more ownership of the project.
If the outside temperature is warm, a window would be a great location!
If the weather is not warm, the side of a cabinet with a facing window would be another excellent option. In my classroom, I used to staple the bags to a bulletin board.
You will be very excited in doing this. I have had roots sprout within 24 hours. I have also had some that took about 4 days. Let me know how this project works for you.
Be on the look out for all of my garden activities to go along with this lesson! All of the Garden Thematic Unit activities I present can be done with chidren as young as preschool and will include lessons for every area of learning: Math, science, social studies, Bible, language arts!!
March 26 UPDATE: The weather has turned colder. Yesterday, I put the beans where the warm air vent could hit them. This morning: We have a sprout!
March 27 Update: We have two sprouts today!!
Click HERE for an update on this project.