Our students love problem solving – especially through science experiments! One way we did that was seeing how long it took for our lima beans to sprout!
To start things off, we had circle time discussion related to all things beans! The children took turns observing a bean – what does it taste like? How does it feel? Is it smooth? Is it rough? What color is the bean? Then, I had the children number the pages and label their “Bean Journal”. These were put together during the morning while we waited for everyone to arrive!
Conducting the bean experiement
After we had our journals assembled, I had the children join me around the table. On the table I laid out all the necessary supplies to conduct this experiment. If you’re curious, all we used were small glass jars (any clear container works), cotton balls, pipettes, water, a window, and lima beans!
I loosely guided the children through the steps, they did most of the work on their own following my verbal instruction! First, we picked a jar. Then, we added cotton balls to our jars! You want to fill them no more than halfway.
Once the jars were prepped, we added our beans! I passed around a basket of beans and allowed the children to select around three or four to put in their jar! Then, each child used a pipette to add water to the bean and cotton balls! You want the cotton balls to be saturated, but not soaking in water. We found that those who added too much water ended up not having much growth!
Once our jars were filled and beans were watered, I had the children carefully carry their jar over to the shelf in our science center! This area provided the best light to help our little beans grow.
Observing our beans
What kept the children engaged in this whole process was their hands-on involvement from start to finish. At every step of the experiment they were responsible for doing something. This created a natural curiosity within them! They wanted to complete each step, they wanted to make daily observations, and they wanted to see what would happen to their bean! Each day, the children were given the opportunity to come observe their bean and record the changes in their journal they put together. The children were also responsible for the care of their bean – making sure to water them when the cotton balls seemed to dry.
You might be curious as to how this experiment turned out. Some children saw growth from all their beans, some only had one sprout, and some didn’t have any growth at all! Each result produce a different set of questions as to why the beans did or did not grow. Did we add too much water? Was there not enough water? Did my bean have enough room? That’s the beauty of science experiments! Everyone gets a different result based on certain variables.
I encourage you to try this in your own setting and see what just might happen when you plant a bean!
Links to grow on…
To see an alternative way of setting up this experiment, click here!
To see other ways you can discuss beans and seeds, click here!