Bean Seed Predicting Recording Sheet (included as a PDF with this lesson)
***This lesson is taught at the end of the school year in my class, so I allow the students to assemble the bags for the experiment on their own. If you are short of time, or think your students may have difficulty assembling the bags, you can do this for them. See Photo.
This lesson is inquiry based to help students discover what happens when a seed germinates. It might seem kind of basic, but I was quite surprised by several student lack of understanding about the process. This lesson will definitely show who has had exposure to planting when you look at the predictions made.
I say to the students, Today we are going be learning how bean seeds grow. We do not put the seeds in any opening on our body. They do not go in our mouth, our ears or noses (Can you tell I have had an issue with this in the past?). To do this experiment, you and your partner are going to take a plastic bag and put a folded paper towel inside. Once the paper towel is inside you are going to add some water. You only want the paper towel to be wet; you do not want any water standing inside the bag. After you have the bag prepared, you and your partner are going to come and get four beads to put in the bag. You want the beans to stay on the paper towel and not have them fall to the bottom of the bag.
The students begin prepare their bag for the experiment. I check to make sure the bags do not have too much water in. There should be now standing water in the bags or there is a higher probability that the seeds will rot or mold. After everyone has prepared their bags, we move to the next part of the experiment.
The students return to their seats with their partners. I now pass out the prediction sheet and have them write their name on the top of the paper. I say to the students, Now, that we have our investigation prepared, we need to really think like scientists and make a prediction about what will happen to our bean seeds in 14 days. Who can remind the class what a prediction is? That’s right. A prediction is a really good guess we make, using what we know. So now, I want you to make a prediction about what will happen to the bean seed. First you will write your prediction down, then you will draw a picture of what you think one of the beans will look like in 14 days (I point to the appropriate space on the paper). You don’t need to draw a picture of all four beans. Just pick one and draw a picture of that one.
I give the students time work. I ask them to share their predictions with me. See video. I invite them to share with their partner what they think will happen. I encourage them to tell their partner WHY they think that will happen. I want them to support their prediction with what they already know. This directly supports their grown in Science and Engineering Practice-7, Engaging in Argument from Evidence. The students are building arguments or rationale built on prior experiences. This is a developmentally appropriate way to develop this practice in kindergartners.
After everyone has completed their prediction, I ask the students where they think we should place the bags. There are a number of suggestions, but the majority of the class thinks they should be by the window. Interestingly, the students cannot really rationalize their placement of the beans. We finally decide on a location and the bags are taped on the glass of a sunny window. This small step allows the students to develop skills in Science and Engineering Practices-3, Planning and Carrying Out an Investigation. Even though the students are not ready to plan an entire investigation on their own, this step provides scaffolding to help the students some day plan their own investigation.
The students are then partnered up and asked to share what they hope to learn about plants in our upcoming unit.
You can continue to the learning. Click here for a lesson on logging the seeds’ development.