Our first Discovery Studio day this year was devoted to planting the seeds that would start our garden growing!
All of our classes were given coir discs. Coir, a fiber made from coconut husks, makes a great seed starter mix and it provides us with a fairly clean medium to work with… well, as clean as dirt can be!
The coir is dehydrated, and the first step for all of our students was to add water. By adding a little bit of water, you could instantly see the coir rehydrate and see it begin to take it’s shape as a soil substrate. For our smaller students this was a fun experiment in itself! Once the coir was hydrated we filled up a seed tray that the classes used to start seeds in their classrooms.
Starting seeds in their classrooms gave students the opportunity to check on their growth daily. It also provided an opportunity for the teachers to reinforce the concepts and vocabulary we introduced the entire time that the seeds were germinating!
We also looked at different seeds. We compared and contrasted their shapes, size, and what kind of plant they would grow to be.
Then our students took some of the seeds that we talked about and they planted them in their very own ‘green house’. The green houses were made from a ziplock bag that had a small wet paper towel inside of them to create moisture for the seed to begin to grow. These were hung inside their classrooms, so much like the trays the students could track their progress. Unlike the trays though, with these bags we could see the entire seed, root, stem, and leaf through the germination process! It’s definitely a different way to observe what happens and can be very memorable for the kids.
With our older students we ended with an experiment that also went into their classroom. To test what we learned about what seeds need to begin to grow, we took a clear kitchen glove and in each finger we put an experimental/control sample. The fingers contained a seed by itself (a type of control), a seed submerged in water, a seed on a wet paper towel, a seed in wet soil, and a seed on a wet cotton ball. We hypothesized that since seeds needed sun, water, and nutrients… the seed in the soil would grow the best. The students could chart their progress. It was definitely a fun experiment!