“The Wishing Flower”: Discovering the Magic of Seeds and Plants
As I write this, Calgary has been covered in a phenomenally large dump of spring snow. Everything is white, the roads are a bit icy, but the sun is doing its best to shine through.
It’s days like this that make me want to be outside in my back yard with my bare feet in the grass and my hands in the dirt! However, having spent most of my life in the Canadian prairies, I know that we are at least a month away from even thinking about growing things outside without the risk of frost.
I am excited that Grade 4 Science covers plant growth and development!
A couple of days ago I kicked off this unit with the story, “The Wishing Flower”. It was a great tool to discuss the materials required for seed starting and the basics of germination. What I also like about using this story to connect with plants is that the protagonist in this story talks to her little seed and wishes over it, which I personally believe is an incredibly important part of growing anything.
Seed selection happened months ago
In the fall, I had both daughters help me make choose seeds for what we would like to grow in our garden boxes this year. We consulted seed starting charts for our zone and identified which seeds would need a head start.
Then, we used small peat pots and a flat plastic tray for our seed starting. There are many wildly creative and low cost options from using yogurt containers to milk jugs and even egg shells! No matter which option you choose, try to select a location with good natural lighting, or use a simple growlight. This year we have a new system: growlight strips adhered to an old bakers stand. The newly started seeds will be sharing space with my Kratky method hydroponic lettuce experiment.
We will observe and document growth and changes in a Plant Journal
Our youngest daughter LOVES making notes and tracking things in little books. She made a simple journal and created a system for how she would like to observe her plant project. My requirements were that at minimum, she tracked days to germination, drew each seed, noted sprout dates, and created detailed coloured diagrams of plant growth with measurements every couple of days. As we progress in the unit and identify the various stages of plant growth we will reference back to the sketches.
The “Wishing Flower” sets you up for growing success.
After reading the story, here are the questions that began the discussion with my daughter:
1. What materials did Kyra use to start her sunflower seed?
2. What were Kyra’s to biggest concerns about her little seed?
3. What recommendations did her aunt provide to guide Kyra to ensure her seed had everything it needed to grow?
4. Do you know what germination is? (I describe it as the ideal conditions for the seed to begin the process of growing roots and shoots)
5. How can you ensure that our little seeds have their best start?
I will provide photo updates here on the progress of our little seeds as the season unfolds. I’m optimistic we will be able to harden them off (gradually leaving them outside during the day and back inside at night as the weather warms up) and plant the outside by mid-late May.
TITLE: The Wishing Flower
READ ALOUD TIME: 5 minutes
DESCRIPTION: Kyra learns that patience and trust are the two most important qualities when working with Mother Nature as she nurtures a small seed into a growing, blooming sunflower plant.
GENRE: contemporary life
SUBJECT: agriculture/ science
THEMES/KEYWORDS: gardening, seed growing, planting seeds, sunflower plant, seeds, plants, patience, nature
PROTAGONIST 1: girl
PROTAGONIST 2: plants
WORD COUNT: 1302
AUDIO FILE: Yes