Who doesn’t love a fun lesson that includes making your own monster, protecting the Earth and growing an easy plant? This lesson lets kids have fun creating silly monsters while learning about recycling and the needs of plants.
This lesson is simple and inexpensive. Kids love to grow plants and chia seeds are perfect for kindergartners because they grow so quickly. Once the seeds begin to sprout, you’ll be able to notice the growth in just a few hours.
As an extension, the chia sprouts can be planted in the ground while still in the peel. Since the peel is a biodegradable container, only the eyes and other embellishments need to be removed before planting and growing a full sized chia plant.
There are lots of great books about monsters. This one works perfectly with this lesson: I Can Save the Earth; One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by Alison Inches. A little monster learns how to reduce his impact on the Earth by doing things like turning off lights, not using as much water and picking up garbage at the beach. The student can make their own little green monster by recycling fruit and veggie peels.
Here’s how the lesson can connect to the Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten.
Earth and Human Activity Standard:
K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air,and/or other living things in the local environment.*
Connection to Lesson: We can reduce waste by starting seeds in organic materials like fruit peels that will break down in the soil instead of plastic or clay pots.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes Standard:
K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Connection to Lesson: Seeds need two things to sprout; warmth and moisture. Once they sprout, they will need light, water, nutrients, and space to grow.
Supplies (per student or group)
½ cup soil
Teaspoon chia seeds (the ones you can buy at the grocery store will work)
Water to moisten the soil
Embellishments to create monster faces (we used pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes, markers and tooth picks)
Cut the top of the fruit off. Scrape out the inside of the peel while trying to keep the peel intact. You might want to work with the cafeteria staff or put in a special request with parents for a snack to get the peels. Kids could also bring in their own peels from home for a variety.
Fill the peel with potting soil. Sprinkle chia seeds on top. Add enough water to moisten the soil.
The seeds need warmth and moisture to sprout. The seeds will sprout in 4-7 days. Once they sprout, they will also need sunlight to continue growing.
After the seeds have sprouted, the root system does a great job of holding the soil together and keeping it intact in the peel. This makes it easier to decorate the outside than trying to do it before the peels are filled.
Add eyes, faces, feet or any other element the kiddos think would be great for their monster.
The sprouts will continue to grow for a couple weeks until they need more space. If planted outside or in a larger container the plant can grow up to 4 feet tall. They will develop a purple flower that attracts honey bees, butterflies and humming birds.
To plant the sprouts outside, you’ll need to remove the embellishments but the sprouts can remain in the peel. The peel will break down and nourish the soil around the plant.