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Preschool Science Fun with a Lima Bean: Grow a Plant!

written by: Melissa Elizondo • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 3/2/2012

Few preschoolers would consider a Lima bean a plant, but it is. Turn your classroom into a science lab with these activities. Help your preschoolers learn more about what a plant needs to live using these experiments.

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    These Lima bean experiments would be an excellent addition to any plant unit. They provide hands-on science activities for your preschool classroom.

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    Literary Connection

    How a Seed Grows by Helene J Jordan is a great literature connection for this preschool lesson. Plants and what they need to grow are the topic, and sharing the book will help build prior knowledge before beginning the activities.

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    Materials

    • Lima beans
    • Paper towels
    • Gallon size storage bags
    • Soil
    • Plastic cups (9 oz)
    • Water
    • Cola
    • Manila paper (optional)
    • Hole punch (optional)
    • Yarn or ribbon (optional)

    Before doing these science activities, you can make a science journal for your students. Students can put predictions and observations in the journal. Fold the manila paper in half and punch three holes along the margin. Bind the journal with the yarn or ribbon. You can also bind the journal by stapling it too.

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    Will a Plant Grow Without Soil?

    Give every student a paper towel and a Lima bean. Allow students to wet their paper towels, and then have them place the Lima bean inside of it. After that, pass out a gallon sized storage bag to every student. Write students’ names on the bags. Then, hang them somewhere in the classroom or the hallway.

    Explain to students that the Lima bean will act like a seed. Ask students what they think will happen to the Lima beans. Ask them if they the Lima bean will sprout without soil. Have students draw a picture of what they think is going to happen.

    These usually sprout within a couple of days. Have students check their plants daily. Have them replace the paper towels as they dry out. Have students sketch a drawing of their plants every few days, which they could place in their science journals.

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    Will a Plant Grow Without Water?

    Divide students into groups of two or three. Give every group two cups and a handful of Lima beans. Go around and scoop soil into both cups for every group. Have students place the Lima beans into the cup. Make sure that they place the Lima beans into the soil.

    One cup will be watered with water, and the other cup will be watered with cola. Be sure to mark which cup will be water and which one will be cola. Talk about what students think is going to happen. Talk about if students think the plant watered with cola will grow and if it will grow as fast. Have students make predictions.

    Water the plants every other day with water or cola. Be sure not to over water. Have students check on their plants daily and sketch something every few days.

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    Math Connection

    Pictographs would provide a wonderful way to show students’ predictions. Give every student a sticker and have them place their sticker by the prediction they agree with.

    After finishing these activities, a group measurement project would provide another math connection. Have students measure how much their Lima bean grew in the storage bag. Have students brainstorm ideas that might help their plants grow more next time.

    After the cola activity, simply have students compare the lengths of the plant watered with water and the plant watered with soda. Help students use a basic ruler to measure how big each plant grew.