Parts of a Plant (Elementary Age)
We already learned about how to start a butterfly garden, but let’s learn about parts of the plant and how seeds grow!
Every plant is different and not all plants look alike. Plants will often have 3 main parts: roots, stems, and leaves. Roots are underground and have many purposes. They anchor the plant, absorb water, and store food. The stem supports the plant and keeps it upright. Leaves are so important because plants make their food through their leaves. Plants can make food from sunlight, air, and water through a process called photosynthesis (you will learn about this in school!). Some plants will also have flowers and these are called angiosperms. Flowers have colorful petals to attract insects and birds to them. Fruits will sometimes form from flowers too!
Let’s practice what we learned! You will need a clean container (like the bottom of a water bottle), some soil, water, and a seed. Poke some holes in the bottom of your container so water can drain out. Put the soil in the container and plant your seed. Plant the seed at the side of the container so you can see it through the container. You should be able to watch the seed open up and grow roots over a couple of days!
For some fun worksheets to learn more about plants, please visit https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/plant-worksheets.html.
Avocados and Herbs (Middle School Age)
Have you ever eaten an avocado and hated wasting the pit? Well you don’t have to! You can use the avocado pit and grow your own avocado tree.
First, wash off your avocado pit (without cracking it or breaking it) and then insert 3 or 4 toothpicks into it about halfway up the pit. Set the pit on top of a glass or jar filled with water so that the bottom third of the seed is in water. Change the water regularly and keep it out of direct sunlight. After 2 to 6 weeks, you should have roots and a sprout (if not, try again with a new seed!). When the sprout gets to be about 6-12 inches tall, trim it back to 3-6 inches to encourage more root growth. Once the stem grows back, transfer your avocado spout (without the toothpicks) into a pot with rich soil and watch it grow! They like sunny areas and a good amount of water (if the leaves turn yellow, it’s getting too much water).
You can also grow your own herbs for your kitchen! Basil, oregano, and mint are great herbs to start with. You can have your herb garden outside but they also work great sitting on a window sill! Plant your seeds like any other plant. They like nutrient rich soil, so add in any compost materials if you have any. Give your herbs about 2 inches of water a week but be careful to not over water it. Harvesting your herbs frequently will encourage them to grow more and give you lots of herbs to cook with!
Growing an avocado tree:
Growing an herb garden:
Biosphere in a Bottle (High School Age)
A variation to traditional gardening is creating a biosphere in a bottle or a terrarium. These ecosystems are typically closed off from their surrounding environments and maintain symbiotic relationships with each other to survive. For example, if you had worms or fish in the biosphere in the bottle, any plants you have will create oxygen for them and in return the organisms create carbon dioxide for plants. Water runs down from the plants in the top layer to provide them all with water.
There are many different ways of creating these ecosystems and nearly an endless combination of organisms to use. Just make sure that none of the organisms are being mistreated and if they aren’t doing well in their terrarium or bottle, you take them out and give them a new ecosystem to live in.
For ideas and tips on creating the ecosystem, check out these websites: