Chia Seeds

Chia seeds look like teeny, tiny beans and have some interesting properties. The outside of the Chia seed is covered in tiny hair like fibers. When the seed is wet, these almost-invisible tiny fibers stand on end and begin trapping liquid. A Chia seed can hold 9 times the weight of the seed in water! This action causes a bead of gel to form around the seed.

See this in action by adding 1/4 cup of water with 2 teaspoons of Chia seeds. Stir the mixture and watch it thicken. Let the seeds soak while getting a clay pot or several small clay pots. You will also need a draining dish, cotton balls, and something to spread the seeds on the pot.

Rinse the clay pot in water and then stuff the clay pot with cotton balls and set it in the draining dish.

chiaseeds

Now the pot is ready for the Chia seeds to be “pasted” on its sides. This can get messy because the seeds will stick to everything. Cover the pot, allowing room at the bottom so the water in the draining dish will not touch the seeds and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the seeds will stay put. Add water in the draining dish. The cotton balls will absorb water and keep the pot moist. Then watch for 5 loooooong days. There is still lots to do. Mist the seeds several times a day and make sure there is water in the draining dish.

chiasprouts

Sometimes, as early as 3 days there will be small sprouts visible. Have several magnifying glasses on hand to get a closer look.

chiaseedssproutchiaseedsgrow

Over the next week the sprouts will grow until the pot is covered with tiny green Chia sprouts.

snailterrarium

The snails in the classroom terrarium discovered that Chia sprouts are a good treat.

Theme for April – Beans and Eggs

Springtime! Flowers bloom, gardens grow, and baby critters are found everywhere. What is the science of all of this? Time to investigate beans and eggs!

All school children sooner or later sprout something. Beans, avocado seeds, and Chia seeds are three good starters. Beans and Chia seeds sprout quickly. The avocado seed takes longer, but will produce a bigger plant.

beanswater

Soaking beans in water is the first step. Bottles made it easy to see how a full bottle of beans can hold more water than it looks like. Beans should be moved to a more open container to absorb the water or they will get stuck (We learned that the hard way).

peelbeans

Allow students to peel the beans and look for the bean “germ”. They will be amazed at how small a plant is in the beginning.

beansgerm

This hands on experience can be used as a journaling event. Seeds can be planted in a root farm to let students view their growth. Charts can be kept as the plant grows. Have fun growing beans!

Insect Life

Butterflies and Moths are insects, a spider is not. Spiders has eight legs and eyes which quickly take them out of the insect family.

Butterflies and moths are special insects because they have wings and bodies that are very much alike and yet, very different.

BUTTERFLIES:
Are be colourful.
Are diurnal and the daylight makes their colors showy.
Pupate in a hard chrysalis.
Rest with their wings closed and directly over their backs
Have thinner bodies and antenna.

MOTHS:
Are be drably colored pale colours.
Are be nocturnal and low light levels will show pale colors.
Pupate inside a cocoon, spun out of silk and sometimes nearby materials like leaves
Rest with their wings closed and directly over their backs.
Have fuzzy, stockier bodies and antenna.

While waiting for butterflies and moths in the Science Lab to hatch out, students learn insect body parts by singing a fingerplay with a familiar tune:

Insect Body Parts
(Sung to the tune Head and Shoulder, Knees, and Toes)

Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!
Six legs, two antennae, with eyes and sometimes wings.
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!

insect playdough

They also create insects with playdough.

All of this can be used when the students write in their journals. They can draw pictures about what they see and teachers can take story dictation about what they are thinking as they draw. This hands on with song and actual insects to watch helps students remember what they have learned about the insect’s life.