I’ve had a lot of fun over the last two weeks putting together this post. The science project over the last two weeks has been about planting beans.
In the first week, we talked about the bean itself. I wanted to do more than just have them start putting them in a bag – it seemed like there was no opportunity for learning, so I was so happy to find the post from this gem of a site, Buggy and Buddy, and used her idea and pictures to create a little display (see the pages I printed and laminated here – bean dissection). After I had soaked a handful of pinto beans for about 15 hours (wished I had soaked them for longer), the parent and child could dissect and talk about the what was inside (Mini-ion #1 thought cheese, and after hearing that, Mini-ion #2 agreed – her language is astounding!). We had magnifying glasses so they could really get close and feel scientific.
Following the dissection, they then had the chance to set up conditions for sprouting them. The site, Mad in Crafts, showed me how to do it. I had cookie sheets set up (the $1 ones are perfect and have been one of the best investments for this playgroup). The children folded a paper towel, sprayed it heavily with water (then themselves, then each other, then the moms…..), placed a bunch of regular pinto beans on the wet paper towel. I put out a piece of masking tape so they could write their name (or random scribbles), while the bean towel went in the bag, then we taped them up to the a piece of foam core (I have two core pieces that I’ve been taping everything to this semester) so they could be in front of a window. What I didn’t love about this part of the science project was it wasn’t something they could go and come back to – it was a do it and it’s done, kind of thing. Although I did get some help on making bean greenhouses for children that missed that class.
On our art day, we painted the pots with the squeeze painting technique that I mentioned in this previous post.
The next science day, the children were pretty excited when they saw that the beans had actually sprouted (I did do a double check the day before and may have made sure there was a sprout in every bag, but that just seems like appropriate due diligence, not taking away magic in any way). I figured they would be too excited about the sprouting beans to look through a display, so instead I created a sheet to have in the area that had pictures so the children could help give direction on what was to happen next (see this document bean sprout instructions), created by the inspiration and artwork from MPM School Supplies website.
I had two tables set up (photo courtesy of playgroup mom, Courtney, because I forgot my phone). When they took their pot over to the first table, they used the instructions to put dirt in their pot, put the bean sprouts in, then cover it with dirt. I liked using the instructions because it empowered the children to guide the activity, and if the child wasn’t quite old enough to figure it out, the mother could do it with her child without me needing to stand by and give directions. That was helpful and gave me a chance to play a bit more with the mini-ions.
After they finished filling their pot with dirt, the directions told them their pot needed rain, so they moved to the rain table (thanks, Courtney, for another picture!). I was super proud of this idea!! I had a bucket filled with water and cotton balls. They squeezed the cotton balls over their dirt pots as if they were literally making it rain. Some rained more than others, but I liked the literal interpretation of it. I asked Mini-ion #1 what he thought it was, and right off he told me it was like raining.