When students at Fiske School in Lexington, MA, finish lunch early, they can choose from a range of vegetable and flower seeds to plant at a special "Grow it Yourself Center" in the hallway. "I set up a plastic tub full of potting soil at one end of the table," says science enrichment consultant, Stephanie Bernstein. "Students can choose from a variety of donated seeds that I've organized by type. We have containers and water bottles available, and a poster and film loop featuring plant growth. A parent staffs the table during lunch periods on certain days."
It's been a great success, reports Stephanie. Students help one another plant, "babysit" for one another's seedlings, and bring their interest (and plants!) back to the classrooms. Some students have sold their plants at the school fair; others have planted them in outdoor gardens. Even the ones who inadvertently left their newly planted seedlings in their lockers learned a thing or two about plant needs when the seedlings germinated.
"When seeds get spilled in the process, they are put into a 'mystery seed' bin," reports Stephanie. "The students love to try distinguishing the different mystery seeds and planting some to predict and observe what sprouts."