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When Spring approaches, take advantage of the new growth all around and sprout seeds in your classroom! Children will enjoy watching the magic of new plant growth.
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Take clean, brand new sponges and let your students get them nice and wet. Each student puts her sponge on a little plate and sprinkles it with mustard seed. Keep the plates in a window where the sponges will enjoy much sun.
Every day, the students should spray their sponges with a water. (Give them a little spray bottle.) This is a good opportunity for students to learn not to overwater, and not to let the sponge become dry.
If all goes well, mustard seeds will grow on the sponges. You will have a mustard seed garden! You can let the children put their mustard seed sprouts on sandwiches or salads for a spicy crunch.
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Because of their large size, lima beans are great for watching as they sprout. Give each student a plastic baggie, preferably with a ziploc-type top. Each student places a couple of dry lima beans in her bag. She then adds a little water and closes the bag.
Write each child's name on his bag with a permanent marker, and tape the bags to a window that gets a lot of sun. As the days progress, you will observe sprouts emerging from the lima beans. Tell your students that this is what happens when the seeds are planted in the earth. The sprout would eventually poke through the ground, and grow, and become a plant that would produce more lima beans.
An optional step two is to take new, dry lima beans and plant them in soil in cups. Keep those in the window and let your students water them daily. It is exciting to watch the sprouts emerge from the soil, just as they watched sprouts emerge from the seed itself.
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Avocado pits are large seeds whose size make them great for observation. You will need see-through plastic cups and round, sharp wooden toothpicks.
Press the sharp points of several toothpicks into the avocado pits, all the way around. The toothpicks rest on the edge of a clear plastic cup, so the avocado pit is suspended in the cup. Fill cup partially with water and place in window. Replenish water daily as it will evaporate. Watch the submerged portion of the avocado pit change and sprout over time.