For your kindergarten biologist, seeds can be a source of huge delight. Each one is different, after all; and they can be categorized into groups. And then, of course, there's the delight of watching them grow. Which ones will mature underground? Which ones above? How fast will they go? There's just one teeny drawback: lots of this drama happens out of sight, underground!
That's where this science craft comes in. With a few simple materials, you can make a “garden view box” for your young scientist to savor.
What You Need:
- Sturdy cardboard shoebox
- Tray for holding water run-off
- Sheet of strong, clear plastic acetate (available at an office supply store or craft store)
- Duct tape
- Potting soil
- Sand or gravel
- Several typical “salad vegetable” seeds: radishes, carrots, lettuce, spinach
What You Do:
- Use the scissors to cut a rectangular window out of one long side of the shoebox. Leave a 1” edge around the entire opening, and cut the acetate sheet so that it covers the area with a good, clear margin of overlap. Tape it securely from the inside of the box with duct tape.
- Have your kindergarten scientist help you place gravel on the bottom of the box, about ½” thick, and then fill the rest of the box with potting soil.
- Now it's time for the really fun part: planting and growing your seeds. It's fun to make a row across the front of your planter where you've just created your acetate “window.” Start with lettuce, which will show you its roots and then sprout upward; then plant some radishes and carrots, which will grow downward; followed by spinach on the right. You can use the rest of the planter for these seeds too, but this front edge will be your special view of the action.
- Place the box in the tray, water thoroughly, and keep the garden well watered for the next several weeks. Day by day, you'll see what happens, as your seeds send out their roots and shoots, and become real salad delicacies, too.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.