Top 5 K-12 Gardening Activities

Top 5 K-12 Gardening Activities

1. Seed Germination Experiment

Growing seeds in clear containers so that your students can observe the process that usually happens underground is a great way to teach students how a plant begins its journey.

 

What You Need

  • Clear jars or plastic cups
  • Paper towels
  • Bean or pea seeds
  • Water

What To Do

  1. Fold paper towels to fit them into the containers then add water so your paper towels are wet. Do not flood the jar.
  2. Add your seeds along the inside of the jar so that you can see them. Be sure they each have a few inches of space and are securely held in place by the paper towels.
  3. Observe the seeds daily. Add water to the paper towels if they begin to dry out. Seed germination times vary but typically happen around 2 weeks.
  4. Once your seeds begin to grow leaves, they are ready to be planted in the garden!

 

2. Hydroponics in the Classroom

Hydroponics is the agricultural method of growing plants in nutrient rich water without soil and is a unique way to teach students what plants need in order to grow.

 

What You Need

  • Large plastic container, the size depends on available classroom space and desired number of plants
  • A styrofoam sheet that fits in your container, at least ½ inch thick
  • Lettuce seeds
  • Rock wool cubes
  • Hydroponic nutrient solution
  • Hydroponic/aquarium pump with a tube

What To Do

  1. Cut holes in the styrofoam sheet to securely hold rockwool cubes that have soaked in your nutrient solution.
  2. Place the cubes in the holes and place a seed on top of each cube.
  3. Fill your container 1 inch from the top with water and set up your pump so the tube is in the water and held in place by the styrofoam.
  4. Place the styrofoam sheet on the water’s surface and wait for your seeds to germinate.
  5. Replace the water every 2 weeks and add nutrient solution as directed on the packet.

 

3. Forcing Bulbs into Early Bloom

You can force spring blooming bulbs into bloom in the fall by tampering with their environment to teach students how to manipulate plants to maximize the harvest.

 

What You Need

  • Shallow and wide pots, around 5 inches deep
  • Spring blooming bulbs
  • Potting mix

What To Do

  1. Fill the pots with moist potting mix. Place no more than 3 bulbs in each pot. Bury the bulbs completely with the pointy-end up.
  2. Place the pots in a refrigerator or any place between 33-50 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 weeks or until roots begin to show through the drainage holes of the pot
  3. Remove the pots from the refrigerator and place them inside for 2 weeks with no direct sun.
  4. Move them to a windowsill where they get sunlight to bloom. This will take 2-4 weeks.

 

4. From Seed to Salad - Growing Your Own Food

If you are limited on space, growing greens like lettuce and spinach are easy to do indoors and require minimal materials.

 

What You Need

  • Seeds
  • Potting mix
  • Containers or pots with drainage holes

What To Do

  1. Fill the pots with moist potting mix and sprinkle the seeds 1 inch apart from each other. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt.
  2. Place the pots in a windowsill with the most amount of sunlight possible.
  3. Keep the soil moist then water as needed once the seeds germinate.
  4. Harvest the leaves when they are green and a few inches tall. Do this by cutting the outer leaves above the soil every few weeks.

 

5. Observe How Water Travels Through Plants

Using colored water to water your flowers can teach students how plants ‘drink’ water through osmosis.

 

What You Need

  • White or pale colored flowers from your garden (typically done with white carnations)
  • Clear vases or cups
  • Water
  • Food coloring

What To Do

  1. Fill your vases with water and add food color for the desired color.
  2. Cut the stems of your flowers diagonally and place some in each vase.
  3. Observe the plants every few hours for the next 2 days. The students can watch the water travel up through the stem and eventually into the flower petals.

Check out our store for easy school garden kits HERE! Plus, waatch this great video about gardening in schools HERE!

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