Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Little Seed: planting beans

It's finally springtime and we're learning about plants and weather with my first graders. I figured this was a perfect opportunity for some CLIL in our lessons. I vaguely remembered planting beans on cotton balls back in my school days - mostly that it was super exciting to watch how fast the plants grew - and decided to relive the experience as a teacher.

For introduction, we watched a short cartoon about weather and plants. It's from Playway to English 1 DVD, which I own a copy of, but I also found the video on Youtube.

If you haven't got the DVD or aren't into videos, the I Like the Sun story from Hello, Robby Rabbit course could also work. You can download it here on Macmillan, as it's free and 100 % legal. There's another story that fits this activity perfectly and it's Katie Grows a Bean Plant.

After watching the video and revising weather vocabulary with flashcards, it was finally time to plant the beans. All you need for this experiment is plastic cups (see-through are best, but any plastic cups will do), cotton balls, beans and access to water.

First you stuff the cotton balls into a cup and then you put a bean in the middle. You gently water it until the cotton wool is damp and place the cup somewhere near sunlight. All you have to do now is wait. We did and this is what happened:

In a few days our beans grew a considerable size and we took them home. The plant on the last photo is mine and I have to admit I was almost as proud of my little plant as my students were. Also, I finally figured out what those cup holders were really meant for!

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