With various steps to be followed, expectations need to be clear for planting to be successful. To start, I let the students know that part of our learning about plant structures will require us to observe the structures that grow from seeds. To do this we have to actually plant seeds and observe. Students will plant a variety of seeds so that they can compare the structures that grow from them.
The rules I give include what materials they will need and how they will be used. Each student is given a large red plastic cup, cardboard planting liner, soil, and seeds. In order for planting to be successful students need to understand how to fill their cups with dirt and the steps needed to plant. I put the order onto the board. I also model how to fill their cups with dirt in order to keep the mess to a minimum.
Once the steps are written onto the board, they are ready to begin planting. Students will get the cups ready by placing in the liner and then putting in some of the dirt. Next, they will place in the seeds. I given them four types: sunflower, pea, lima bean, and a popping corn seed. More soil will need to be added to the top. I ask that students not pack the dirt too much so that we can see growth faster. Students then need to water their plant. I let them go to the drinking fountain to do this initial watering.
Once the seeds are in and watered, we need to write into our science journals. They need to place the steps they took in planting to remember how it all started. Students then need to draw their initial observations into their journals. This should be a cup and dirt. Some students get creative and in their dirt draw the seeds down inside. I explain that this initial drawing gives us a baseline for the days to come.