As the weather finally starts to look a bit more like spring, we focused on seeds for this week’s Science Storytime. We read the book Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Wallace. It’s a very dense book that is not a perfect fit as a group read aloud, so I abridged it slightly as I went along. What I do like about it is that it talks in detail about features of a seed such as the seed coat, and has some illustrations of the steps of the germination process that I thought would be absorbed by my young audience.
After we read the book we talked for a bit about seeds. Most of the children knew that plants had roots and that seeds need both water and sunlight to grow. I gave the children pea seeds and sunflower seeds to examine with magnifying glasses. I had some leaves for them to look at as well, to help round out the discussion, but in retrospect I should not have brought those out, since I wanted to keep the discussion more focused on seeds and seedlings rather than a broader exploration of plants as a whole.
Once the discussion was over, we planted some seeds of our own. Along with the peas and sunflowers, I also had zinnia seeds. I let the children choose which seeds they wanted (most wanted one of each) and they each got three seeds to plant. I had cut up some egg cartons to plant the seeds in. Egg cartons make decent seedling starters. They are biodegradable, so you can plant them right in the ground like a seed pot. I encouraged the children to make little signs to indicate where they had planted their seeds. I had purposefully not attached the signs to the popsicle sticks that were meant to hold them up because I thought it would make it difficult to draw on an uneven surface, but attaching the signs to the sticks took a surprising amount of parental guidance, so I think if I was doing this again I would attach the signs to the sticks ahead of time, especially if I was going to do it with a large group, or one were there was not a lot of parental involvement. They were all eager to make their own labels, whether that meant drawing a picture for a parent to label or writing the words themselves. The children had a wide range of ages, and it was interesting to see the range from pre-writing to confident labeling.