5 plants for 1st graders' observation

socksJune 25, 2007

Next school year I will be doing an activity with 1st graders which I have not done before. Each small group will be given 5 plants, one at a time, to observe and make notes about each.

I was wondering what plants to include and had a few ideas. What am I missing here, a perennial?

Ivy (vine)



Marigold (annual)

I was wondering if anything with a tap root comes in a small pot so I could uproot a couple of the plants at the end of the activity to show the different roots.

Just brainstorming here...any ideas or help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Many thanks.

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Sweetfolly(Z 5 ME)

Hello! I've just completed an incredible year of working with first and second graders, and plants! Some suggestions I might add are, for vines..use a sweet potato and root it in a glass so that they can see the roots and the vine at the same time. It will grow much faster than an Ivy and those little guys have short attention spans! Coleus root the same way. You could grow radishes in small pots..or grow carrots in an Ant farm type of glass enclosure. This is an awesome way to observe the roots! The marigolds are a great idea because the kids love to see the buds open. Try a quick growing lettuce too..they like the indirect light that most classrooms have, and the kids can actually look forward to a small salad that they've grown themselves! You might also look into starting seeds of "sensitive plants" Mimosa Pudica. They sell the seeds in Walmart or Home Depot, and the plants are amazing! They actually close up when they're touched! The students are so enchanted that you may have to keep them near you so that little fingers aren't making them close too often to get enough light. Also , check on the NASA list of plants that are good for indoor environments. Spider plants and pothos root very well in water, grow fast , and are actually GOOD for your classroom!
Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Thanks much!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 7:57PM
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A couple of comments, I wouldn't use cactus around little kids because they are too dangerous. Also, though sweetfolly has some great ideas, mimosa is an invasive species so for that matter I would not use it. I can remember similar lessons in gardening back in 1947 or 1948, In school we put white petunias or morning glories in a jar with some ink and turned them blue. We also put butterbeans between two sheets of glass standing in a tray of water and sprouted them. It was fascinating to see the leaves open and go up and the roots go down. At home my mother rooted all sorts of things in jar lids of water on the kitchen window: celery, sweet potatoes, carrots and avocado. Maybe that is why I am a gardener today.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:26PM
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The preschool where I sub did a project this spring where each child was given a disposable glove (clear plastic one, not a latex one). A cotton ball was put into each of the 5 fingers, and wet thoroughly. Then into each finger went one kind of seed: tomato, radish, marigold, pumpkin, and zinnia. The gloves were then taped by the top (where your hand goes into the glove) on the window. The children got to watch the seeds sprout and grow, observing the roots as well as the plants. The pumpkins were particularly fascinating.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 1:01AM
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