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Home : 2003 : Jan : 6

    Cups of dirt
    By Julianne

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    Yeah, I hate that too! I have used several different kinds of seeds. I like large lima beans best because they are easy for the kids to handle, they sprout fast and grow impressive looking plants. You can just buy a bag of limas from the grocery store, but to be sure you get ones that will sprout you might want to get actual seed packets. (Sometimes grocery store seeds have been treated to prevent them from sprouting.) Be sure to have your kids plant more than one seed in their cup. I usually have them put in three. We use clear plastic cups and plant the seeds against the plastic so we can observe the roots. If I can see that things are not going well (swimming seeds, for example), I slip another seed or two into the cup and try to fix whatever might be causing the trouble. I teach first grade, so I like for them to all meet with success. But if you're in a higher grade one of the reasons you do this experiment is to see what causes the greatest success with their seeds. So you might want to plant a few extra cups. That way you can look at what went wrong in Johnny's cup, then hand him a replacement for the actual study portion of the experiment.

    Some other seeds and things that will grow well:
    grass seed sprinkled on dirt
    grass seed sprinkled on the cut half of a potato
    sunflower seeds
    carrot tops set in a shallow tub of water
    sweet potatoes or yams (hang in a pot of water using toothpicks)
    leaf starts from African violets
    starts from English ivy rooted in water or damp dirt
    popcorn or other corn seeds (Popcorn always impresses them for some reason)



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