Monday, May 31, 2010

Time For A Planting Fun Unit Study

Spring is a great time of the year to teach about how things grow. Because my husband and older son are "wanna be" farmers I figured this would be a good unit study for Sam. Of course he would have been much more interested if I had a big ole John Deere tractor and was planting the back 40 but I decided to downsize a bit.

We started with some books about how plants grow. I like to find a book at Sam's reading level and then a few that I can read to him. My trick for finding books is to go on and look up the books because you can usually view a few pages online, then I order them through our local library system. For Sam to read we got the Rookie Read-About Science book, "From Seed to Plant". Lots of pictures, nice size text and at about a level 2 to 3. I chose a Life Science book called "Food from the Sun" and for fun a Cat in the Hat book, "Oh Say Can You Seed" a book about flowering plants.

We also played a game on the computer from the science kids website You have to provide water and heat to help your flower grow. Sam thought it was fun. In Sam's PowerPoint presentations that review his reading words each day we reviewed the parts of a plant as well as what is needed to make a plant grow. We also constructed the parts of the plant with construction paper on the refrigerator and he could match the labels next to each one.

We decided to purchase a lighting unit (the Hydrofarm Jump Start) that we could put in the basement to help grow our plants from seed to a large enough size for planting outdoors. Here is Sam unpacking and helping me to assemble this unit.

After we had it assembled we took it downstairs and headed to the store to pick out our seeds and pick up a seedling tray. Well, getting the seedling tray was easy but once we got to the seed packets and there were probably about a hundred of them Sam's interest began to fade. I really can't blame him, trying to locate the bean seeds and then deciding which of the 8 type was the one we wanted was asking a lot for one of my boys, who are known to have the attention span of a flea. Sam decided it was time to do "meet and greets" with anyone walking into the store while I picked out the packets. We got 6 different types of seeds and I got to meet 4 more members of our community.

We headed home and I quickly read through the directions for the seed tray. My first mistake. This particular tray had the little compressed pellets that you add water to and they expand. Sam was fascinated by them, so much so he tried to feed one to Buddy and then figured out you could throw them. Luckily Buddy wasn't interested in eating the pellet and I located all of the missing ones from the tray. We took the tray outside to add the water since I'm well aware of Sam's ability to aim in more ways than one. He turned on the water and filled his little sprinkling can and after first watering Buddy I encouraged him to put the rest of the water on the pellets. This was when my first mistake came back to haunt me. The pellets appear to have to be in the right position to expand correctly. A few were turned sideways and I quickly learned it was difficult, maybe even somewhat impossible to get those pellets to turn after the expansion process but we managed to soften them up a bit and somewhat correct the problem. Here's Sam watering the pellets and I'm sure you can now see why I chose to do this outside on the driveway, but I do have to comment on how I wish I could bend like that. I later encouraged him to bend at the knees which he promptly bent and then went back to the same position.

We then went on to plant the seeds. I took a few videos for your enjoyment!

And of course, he promptly turned the video off! Ahh, never a dull moment with Sam!!

We took our newly planted seed tray down to the basement to put under the lights. I had to chuckle because I think Sam thought the plants grew as soon as you put them under the lights because I found him sitting by the tray watching and sometimes he would say "Ready".

I went back to one of our books and explained the process again and we had a lot of fun each day going downstairs to turn on the light and check on the progress. When the seeds began to break through Sam said, "Here they come." We even used the tape measure to see how big they were getting.

Sam was so excited and amazed at how big his plants grew. We then prepared one of our Earth Boxes to plant his seedlings outside. This is my first year trying an Earth Box and so far Sam likes to fill the water tube each day. The Earth Box is a maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system that controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden…with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort! I really like the last part, especially after having weeded a garden each summer. For more information on the Earth Box go to

Sam also helped me clean up the flower box and flower beds. As we began to work on one of the flower beds, Sam told me "Bunnies, Mom". I said, "Where do you see bunnies?". He said, "Right there, under". And here is what Sam found under one of my perennials.

Look closer!!! There were actually five bunnies nesting under my plant.

Sam and I checked on them each day and we were lucky enough to see them start to venture out on their own!

I thought the plants and the rabbits were a great way to talk about Spring with Sam. He and I are trying to get a picture of our albino deer that lives in the forest surrounding our house and yes, that will be another unit study!! Have a great Spring!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for gardening! This is something I have been doing with my Aspie daughter and she's been loving it!

    Those bunnies are adorable!