Planting Sunflower Seeds


Your Name: Jan Ferry

Class Grade Level(s): First

Class Subject: Science, Writing and Vocabulary

Number of Students in the class: 18

Lesson/Project Name: Planting Sunflower Seeds


A.  Pre-Reflection

1. What are your professional teaching goals going into this?  Please list at least 3.

• Introduce the children to the outdoor classroom.

• Make the children aware of the living things in our school garden.

• Give each student the opportunity to plant sunflower seeds.

• Give each student the opportunity to sketch the outdoor classroom.


2.  What are your goals for students going into this?

a. Process/skill goals

5 Minutes: I want them to observe the garden and notice that each classroom has a section in the garden.

5 Minutes: I want them to find Mrs. Beal’s garden plot.

20 Minutes: I want them to individually dig in the dirt and plant 3 or 4 sunflower seeds.

b.  Subject/content  goals

1. Students will prepare the soil for planting.

2. Each student will plant sunflower seeds.

3. Students will sketch and label the garden.

4. Students will journal about their garden experience.

5. Students will learn the related vocabulary.

Vocabulary words: insects, worms, drainage, compost, sprouting, spade, shovel, rake, trough, blossoms, soil, habitat, seeds, beds, sunflowers and blossoms




How to Grow a School Garden, Sparer and Pringle

Ten Minute Field Trips, Russell

Last Child in the Woods, Louv


1.  Materials:

-garden gloves

-small shovels-

-sunflower seeds






2.  The Class/Project

a.  Prep before going outside: (3 thirty minute sessions)

Description of prep: tools, discussion, academic work, review of any outdoor behavior rules, clothing, etc.

The class has been reading fiction and non-fiction books about gardens, flowers and seeds.  This has been the theme of our work since early  Spring. We have planted seeds inside and discussed the steps involved and the tools needed for planting.

30 Minutes: We have discussed the rules of the outdoor classroom. We made a chart of the rules.

30 Minutes: Read a story to the children in our outdoor garden space. Walk around the garden space.

30 Minutes: After using the outdoor classroom. The students add to their journal.

By Planting Day, the students knew the rules and we had our gardening tools organized and ready to go.

b. Outside: ( 45 minutes)

45 Minutes: We went to our outdoor classroom and sat down and reviewed our tasks.

One small group planted their seeds with me. The other students sketched in the garden with a volunteer supervising the activity.

c. Classroom follow-up: (20 minutes)

Children completed their garden sketches.

The next day, the students reflected on the activity.  Then each child wrote and illustrated a book about our planting activity.

C.  Reflection:

How did it go?

The first time I took the groups outside the children were very excited.  I was glad we went out and used the classroom a few times before we actually planted any seeds.  This helped the children to experience the outside classroom as a place to work, not play

The first time I took the students outside to plant, they had one task- planting seeds.  The students got restless waiting for their turn.  The next time I split the class into groups and had volunteers to help us.  The students had to work on a sketch of the garden when they weren’t planting seeds

  1. A highlight – The students were so excited about finding worms.  They made sure our plot had plenty of worms.
  2. One Barrier – One student had difficulty staying focused on the task.  He wanted to use the stumps for a jumping game.
  3. Great resource – How to Grow a Garden by Andrew Bucklin–Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle

I thought it was wonderful to have an outdoor classroom.  The students were interested and excited about the school garden.  I can envision using the space in the fall and even in the winter.  There are so many possibilities for out side learning expeditions.

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