As Maria Montessori said, “Nothing should be given to the brain that is not first given to the hand”. We embrace hands-on learning in our Montessori homeschool classroom. I use every opportunity to make learning practical. My 4-yo Blossom told me that she would like to plant something in our garden. Truth be told at this stage our garden is non-existent, however, we started looking into the life cycle of the plant and learn about seed germination. The whole Plant Unit I plan contains several topics: seed germination, parts of the seed, parts of a plant, life cycle of a plant, and needs of the plant. Today I am going to share with you hands-on simple science experiments we conducted that included planting seeds, observing the process of seed germination, the life cycle of a plant.
Teaching preschooler sequencing process of seed germination is great for developing their logical thinking. Along with that, they pick up new vocabulary: germination, seed, roots, shoot, seedling. To observe seed germination and to create hands-on science experience we collected various types of seeds – beans, corn, herbs, and flower bulbs. We planted them using different methods to make it more engaging, which also allowed the child to make comparisons, observe, and learn to pay attention to details.
Conducting our experiment, we
- planted bean and corn seeds into a small clear jar by placing a couple of crunched paper towels and pouring some water inside to make it wet. It created a moist environment for the seeds to start germinating. This allowed the perfect opportunity for the child to see clearly every stage of the process.
- planted bean and corn seeds into a jar with soil – Blossom filled a small jar with soil, watered it and planted seeds. There were at least 4-5 bean seeds. Some seeds took longer to germinate. After about 7 days we scooped them out and had a close look. We had one example of each part of the transformation – from seed to a seedling. So cool, ah! This was wonderful to use for match-up hands-on activity later.
- planted Daffodil bulbs into a glass vase. Blossom found shells and marbles to place on the bottom and pushed bulbs to rest on them allowing space for roots to grow.
- planted herbs into an ice-block container. This was to compare sizes of various seeds and practise fine motor skills.
Every aspect of learning process incorporated certain skills for little hands to practice aside of doing an actual job of planting seeds, like
- water pouring – coordination skills
- spreading small seeds along the surface of the soil – fine motor practice
I often emphasise the importance of doing Montessori work that requires a few days for children to complete. It teaches them a very important lesson – quality takes time to achieve. It also teaches them to be patient and takes the excitement of seeing the final result to a whole new level.
It took about 5-7 days for seeds to start to germinate and grow into a seedling. Daffodil bulbs are still in the process of growing and every day there is a significant progress that can be observed. This is a perfect opportunity for children to learn parts of a plant since it takes a while for the plant to grow from bulb to the flower, so the child learns each part in the process by repeating it every time they see it.
I always encourage Blossom to do some form of reflection after we explore a unit. This time we used pantomime to do a “seed dance” – we pretended to be a seed that pushes roots down and little shoot up through the soil and transforms into a little seedling. She also did a recording of her observation in a form of drawing.
After that, we are going to learn about the Lifecycle of a plant using printables I made. You can check them out it here.