Earth Day

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Ya'll, Earth Day is seriously my favorite - I've got a Lorax tattoo to prove it. I always look forward to teaching my kiddos about the importance of taking care of our planet... They're never too little to start caring!

First things first, we dove into our unit on plants a few weeks ago. We started things off by doing a little close reading on seeds and even dissected some lima beans. It's a SUPER easy project that always blows them away! All you have to do is soak the lima beans for at least a half hour. The seed coat should start to wrinkle and peel away, and then you can just split the seed in half! Be careful, as the parts inside are very fragile. My students are always amazed to find the first leaves hiding inside the little bean seed.

We also took the opportunity to discuss what seeds need to sprout. After discussing that seeds need air, soil, water, and sunlight, I asked them if a seed could ever sprout without soil. I was glad to see that they were a little confused, so I knew they'd be surprised when the finally started sprouting in the bags!

I've tried this many times, many different ways, but here's what I've found that works the best!

What you'll need:
-a bag of lima beans, uncooked
-ziploc bags (I prefer the easy open tabs)
-paper towels
-a window that gets lots of light

The best thing I've found to make sure these little guys grow, is to add a row of staples to each bag, about one inch up from the bottom. I usually use about 5-6 staples, just make sure they're not too far apart, or the seeds will fall through. Putting the staples in will allow room for water to collect at the bottom of the bag without drowning the seeds, and it will also give space for the roots to grow. Fold a damp paper towel to fit in the bag, add 3 or 4 beans, and boom! I like the ziploc bags with tabs, because they're super easy to tape up in the window. Every few days or so, I also open the bags to allow some fresh air to get in, keeping the seeds from getting moldy. I also recommend making a few extra bags of your own (I made 4 extra) in case some of the seeds don't sprout.
Ya'll, we planted these about a week before Easter break, so the students got to see them sprout, but they went NUTS when they saw their little bean plants growing out the top of the bags! Check out how nice they turned out! I like to reinforce reduce, reuse, recycle by then planting our bean plants in reused milk cartons. The kids were thrilled to actually be able to take their plants home, and couldn't believe that they could even plant them in their gardens at home.

I also whipped up this little Earth Day freebie to use as a summarizer for what we talked about in class. Just print it 2-sided, fold it in half, and boom! One page to write about reduce, reuse, and recycle. Enjoy!

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