Are you planning on finding an outdoor plot for them to plant? If so, you
can get them cranked up in January by choosing seeds from a good online
catalog like www.burpee.com, and starting some of the seeds indoors. If you
don't have a window facing South, maybe you can rig up a fluorescent fixture
over some trays on a counter. And, even without an outdoor plot, perhaps you
could have them plant something rugged that they can take home, like
marigolds. Beans are the all-time favorite in classrooms because they're big
& fat, both in seed and grown form. But, some parents may not want a bean
plant at home.
I agree, some parents don't want bean plants in their home but I can't
think of anyone who doesn't want fresh basil in winter. Mint and
lemon balms are good too, most kids do a double take when they smell
these for the first time. Christmas pepper (get edible ones) and
sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) are impressive too. You can also make
a sprout kit for lentils and alfalfa.
Don't forget vegetative propagation: african violet leaf, potato,
garlic, hens & chicks, etc. If you're really daring, you can start a
Here's some sites:
Thanks for all of your suggestions. Time constraints are another big
problem. We live in a huge school district and "time on task" is closely
monitored, so I'm trying to fit activities into the student's regular
1. Grow coleus or other indoor plants from cuttings.
2. Start sweet potato vines in water.
3. Start grapefruit seeds, avocado pits,
mangoes, any thing that is edible, save the seeds and see if they wil grow.
Make a collection of tree seeds, and start them.
4. Grow a carrot top forest, from the top 2 inch end of a carrot. Just put in
shallow water in a saucer
5. Learn about types of soils.
6. Learn about composting.
7. Grow wheat or other grasses in pots.
8. Do an experiment with potted bean plants by putting one in sunlight, one in
dark, one in a cold place, one in warm to see what plants need to grow. Do this
with seeds also to see what a seed neesd to germinate.
9. Force bulbs in containers.
10. Learn the parts of a plant, parts of a leaf, parts of a flower. A Botany
book will give you the terms, and good diagrams. Use real plants as well as
11.Look at bark and twigs with dormant buds of winter trees and learn to
identify them by these characteristics. Force some spring blooming shrubs like
forsythia into bloom.
12. Put a celery stalk in water that has been colored with dye. Watch the color
rise up in the stalk. How did it do that?
13. Soak lima beans in water. Carefully remove the outer skin,(seed coat) and
then separate the two parts of the seed (cotyledons). Inside you will find the
tiny embryo plant complete with root, stem, and tiny leaves. Kids love this
and find it truly amazing. I do too!
I may think of more..........
dark, one in a cold place, one in warm etc to discover what plants need to
8. Force bulbs in a container.
They can care for house plants they planted in the fall.
They can enjoy winter flowers such as witch hazel and hellebores.
(Caution: hellebores are very poisonous to children)
They can force Paper White Narcissus or Amaryllis Bulbs.
They can dry flowers collected in the fall.
They can enjoy plants with berries in the winter like holly.
They can plant seeds they bring from home from foods they eat.
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