If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know teaching is my passion. But not any old teaching – it has to be fun, engaging and purposeful. And if possible, between £0 and virtually nothing in expenses.
I love engaging curious learners and primary science can really spark their imaginations. If you ask me, the main purpose of science for the little ones is not to learn rules and formulae, but to learn a love of enquiry. To make them want to know why, how and basically investigate more.
I am planning on creating a series of posts named “Kitchen Cupboard Science” with the aim of using everyday essentials (with maybe a few additions) that start to ignite questions and excitement about the world around us.
How to grow a bean in a bag.
What will I need?
- A clear plastic bag or clean empty glass jar
- Cotton wool
- A broad bean or lima bean
- Some water
Got it – next?
Line the base of the bag or jar with cotton wool, pop a bean in and add some water. Leave the jar on a windowsill that gets lots of light, or use masking tape to attach the plastic bag to a window. All you have to do after that is wait for it to grow. And make sure that the cotton wool doesn’t dry out…
How else can we use this?
Well, I love a multipurpose thing – especially a lesson. I want to make teaching as pain free as possible for you – so what follows is a whole host of cross-curricular ideas you can use alongside this how to grow a bean in a bag experiment.
This is sorted if you predict what will happen, and record your observations. You can label the parts of the plant (use window pens – so much more fun!) and cover this area of the curriculum too. All these bits and more (such as recording observations, conclusions, evaluation of predictions) are covered here.
If you are able to grow multiple beans (in a classroom, with siblings, in a childcare setting or actually just lots of bags or jars) we have the perfect data collection for maths situation. Practice measuring skills and accuracy, recording measurements with the correct units. Then represent the results in a table and then a graph. Instead of asking the questions to the kids, get them to ask you questions about the data using maths language such as fewer, more, difference, most and more!
Sequence the growing of the seed and relate it to the plant life cycle. Tell the learners they need to write the instructions for how to grow a bean in a bag beanstalk. You could use the hook of a seed packet. Or instructions for Jack and his mum from Jack
and the Beanstalk fame.
Using the seed packet idea, children could look at a variety and then look at what they have grown and design a new cover for a seed packet. It doesn’t matter the medium you use – so go wild! You could also look at artists and sculptors who use natural materials like plants or flowers such as Andy Goldsworthy.
Use the growing and natural world to start a discussion about caring for the environment. If you want a paper outcome use the debate to generate ideas for a poster (use those computing or art skills!) that could be used to promote awareness of a particular issue. Littering, plastic in the oceans, organic farming, buying local food – see where the kids want to go with it! They may even want to raise money for a relevant charity!
Do you have any top lesson ideas you could link to the how to grow a bean in a bag lesson? Put them in the comments below!
PS don’t forget to claim your free printable!
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