Jack and the Beanstalk Terrariums and Plants and Seeds


We were busy this week making terrariums out of 2 liter clear bottles. We had a couple of mom helpers cut them in half. (Thanks to Kam’s mom and Nayantara’s mom). It was pretty treacherous with just some scissors!  I pulled some ivy and creeping charlie out of my garden and placed them in water for a week hoping they would grow roots. I should have left them longer according to Mr. Moss. (He’s more of a gardener than I am). But I looked online and ivy will grow pretty much from a cutting. We will see. So far so good! And the bishop’s weed I pulled out from the roots. Everybody chose 2. I had some succulents too. 

Plants and Seeds Unit Activity was Making Terrariums out of a clear, 2 Liter Soda Bottle! 

Last Week we read the Jr. Great Book Jack and the Beanstalk.  And just for fun we read a different rendition of it in the form of a reader’s theater, which is ALWAYS fun! Some retell picture cards to color I found are HERE at Sparklebox. Or you could make up your own titles (Jack and the potato plant,Jack and the Cornstalk, Jack and His Cow, etc.) That would be a hoot to write a creative story using Jack and the Beanstalk as a springboard!

I think they all are proud of their terrarium plantings. 
Some kids added shells to their soda bottle terrariums, to make them look even prettier! 

  Also At Sparklebox.org are some PUPPET FACES for acting out the parts in the reader’s theater. HERE is a cute reader’s theater of J and the B. And HERE is the one we used. This site has lots of reader’s theaters. We will soon do The Little Red Hen in a few weeks  to go with The Bremen Town Musicians. It’s coming up in a few weeks in our Reading Streets Anthology. 

I think the terrariums turned out pretty neat. It was easy thanks to my mom helpers! 
A couple of best friends and their terrariums from a 2 liter bottle. 
I think K loved doing this little science activity more than anybody else. She loved her terrarium! (notice the pride on her face). She would only put in one plant because she added some veggie seeds to hers and wasn’t sure they would have enough room to grow. I hope she isn’t expecting a bean stalk! 🙂

After reading the Jr. Great Book version of Jack and the Beanstalk, We each wrote out a question to ask the class.  We had a big discussion about how honest Jack was, and if the Giant’s wife was nice or not, (lots of argument on that one!) or why nobody comes down the beanstalk? We are trying to write rich, thought provoking questions good for discussions. AND, We are learning to look in the story for “evidence”.

These girls loved making terrariums too. 

I think they were excited to take their terrariums and plant journals home this week! 

We are also trying to learn to find the “main idea” in stories. At Brainpop I found a powerpoint on how to find the main idea. So we looked at that and practiced it on the Scholastic News on “Bats”. They had some questions on Main Idea on the back. It was a pretty easy one and the students all got it. 

My class is so cute. We are all wearing red because it was red ribbon week! 
Alas, even though we had 102 red items we wore, we still didn’t win for class with the most red!! 

Some fun color and sequence cards to go with the story are HERE at Sparklebox. These could also be made into a retelling book to add some sentences to. HERE at Worknotes.com are some easy reader’s theaters to try. 

There is also a crossword puzzle of Jack and the Beanstalk at this link from ABC teach.  It was a fun activity for my kids to do after reading the story and acting out the reader’s theater. My students loved doing it. 

Clear 2 liter bottles make pretty good terrariums. I was thinking if I wanted to really seal them up I could have wrapped the seam in some 2 inch book tape, but all of the kids wanted to water their plants! Oh well. 
Close up of our terrariums 

 A good step by step how to is found at this link to Teaching Tiny Tots HERE. 

We added some rocks to the bottom, then about 3 inches of good potting soil, then the plants, and topped it with rocks again (and a few pellets of plant food). 

TERRARIUMS (using empty 2 liter bottles)

 A good book to read is  From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons to start the plant unit. She is a master of children’s science books.

 2 Liter bottle terrarium instructions HERE

Another fun planting activity I’ve done in the past is doing “Sprout Houses” in a zip lock baggie. That’s what we did last year. I pass out Lima bean seeds that have been soaking overnight. Then I pass out wet cotton balls. A link to a fun lesson plan using Lima beans is HERE at A to Z Teacher Stuff. 

We use the Lima beans as our seeds for our sprout houses which are another kind of terrarium. Tape them up against a window for light. Watch what happens in a week!  I really like the kids to plant radishes when we’ve done plantings in a clear plastic cup because they come up within about 2 to 3 weeks and you can see the roots growing.

Wet Lima Beans and cotton balls in a ziplock baggie make cute Sprout Houses. 

MUSIC  (use percussion instruments) 
A Seed Needs (To the tune of “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay” )  
I see you are a seed,
Tell me what DO you need?
I need some soil to grow,
And then the sun to glow,
Water to make me wet,
Air for my leaves to get,
Space for my roots to spread,
I’ll make your flower bed!

by: Iram Khan


Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Jack in the Beanstalk by Stephen Kellogg
POEMS  I always look for a poem to put on the back of art to sing or read together for shared reading. This is a great one for the backs of our puffy pumpkins we made out of orange butcher paper. Thanks mom helpers for coming to help us cut out our orange pumpkins for stuffing. See them HERE.  .

We made the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin too. Check those out HERE.  The Halloween Jack-o-Lanters stuffed with newspaper. The lifecycles and seed songs were on the back.

Then we wrote the stages of the pumpkin life cycle out as a sequencing writing. 

CELERY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT – We did THIS experiment at teaching tiny tots too. Here are some pictures after the weekend. We added red and blue food coloring (thanks to Brooke’s mom for the food coloring) to 2 stalks of celery in 2 jars and watched to see what would happen. 

Celery and food coloring experiment – you can see the celery turned red (left) and blue (right) at the tips of the leaves! 

We talked about what would happen to plants if people put pollution items in lakes and streams like oil, paint and car fluids and it went downstream and plants used that water to survive.  We decided the plants might get sick. We wrote about it in our plant journals. I also had shrunk down some 8 1/2 x 11 worksheets on all kinds of plant topics and made the kids Plants and Seed Journals. 

Our Plant and Seed Journals had lots of interesting activities in them like labeling plants, writing out what part of the plant we eat, crosswords, fill in the blanks, and this celery experiment.


A fun MATH ACTIVITY designing a garden for Frog and Toad for their 24 plants can be found HERE at birdville.k12. It is a math exemplar which are great math problems to solve that are challenging and fun. I will give the kids a page of clip art plants to color with 6 of each plant and they will choose the number of plants  and their own totals to map out a garden “array”.  The book is called Frog and Toad Together  by Arnold Lobel. The chapter is called The GardenHERE at Virtual Vine  are some other Frog and Toad activities like compound words which are great to print. 

Here are some pictures of multiplication arrays we’ve done after reading Jack and the Beanstalk. 
Making Multiplication Arrays with vegetables in rows and columns. 

 I turned it into a lesson on “arrays” and multiplication. They lined their garden veggies up and multiplied the “rows” times the “columns” of veggies. Here are a few finished ones.  Some did larger arrays and some just did 2 x 4. So it is a great lesson for differentiation with that open ended aspect to it. I also modeled one on the board and wrote in “column 1, column 2 and Row 1, Row 2 etc. So they labeled their columns and rows. Everybody did their totals a little differently.


Parts of the Plant Magnet Center Idea….

This idea was taken from a Red Butte Garden docent that came into my 2nd grade classroom and did this magnetic parts of a plant one year. I loved it so much I made one that very day!  I  have the parts of a yellow sunflower plant I made up and laminated and put magnets on the backs of all the pieces, along with the labels that I place out at the magnet center. Kids love to put the flowers together and label them. The other magnet center (on filing cabinet sides) has pictures of parts of plants we eat and what type it is (root, leaf, flower/fruit, stem etc.)

  I hope you enjoyed my plant and seed unit! It’s been a very popular one with the kiddos! 

Planting Vegetable Gardens

We just got done planting our Vegetable Gardens in “Peat Pots”…
The boys here are showing off their seed choices….in these Peat Pots.

 Springtime in Utah means we actually get a few tulips, daffodils and crocus coming up as soon as the snow melts. So it makes me think about my flower and vegetable gardens. And with the April showers we get, it is the perfect time to plant some seeds.

Flowers made from cupcake liners….the roots are made from string….
Everybody picked out their 2 favorite veggies to plant in their Peat Pots….

We read about Jack and Beanstalk and wrote about him last year. See it HERE.  And this year we read about a special Garden in our Literature Book. So we brainstormed what would happen if we planted some “magic” seeds?

So….. we wrote about our own magical garden where some of our most favorite foods could grow from magical seeds. We had everything from donuts and pancake plants to ice cream and pizza plants. Yummy!

The girls loved planting veggies too.

They really loved Mrs. Adams art using “string” for the roots….so cute!  Everybody labeled the parts of the plant too….

Look at that ride in Adam’s Donut Garden! How fun! A donut bouncy house! 

 We made advertising POSTERS for our AMUSEMENT PARK GARDENS. Then we wrote a persuasive advertisement to go along with our poster enticing people to come to our park.

Peter’s Pizza Park is FREE on Weekends!  Who could pass THAT up? 
Here’s our creative writing….Lots of fun Gardens and Parks…..just like Disneyland!  

Here’s a sampling…but they were all very fun to read about…..

And all these parks are such deals! Only a buck! I wish it was real life and not a fantasy park! 

Leave it to Gavin to think up a Money Garden….where  his money grows on plants!  Yay! 

Nova’s and Zach’s Pizza Gardens had a Pizza ferris wheel and pizza plants all over….yum!  I’d take a  BIG BITE! 

Come One, Come All! Love it! 

 I think I’d be persuaded to go and check some of these wild parks out….wouldn’t you?

Narrated story of Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed…with sound effects…..

We wrote down which seeds we planted on sticks so we don’t forget…..Some cute plant tag printables are HERE at Chart Jungle.

Books in my Plant unit that  I Love:
1. Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
2. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
3. Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
4. From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
5. From Seed to Sunflower by Gerald Legg

I leave these books out on my science center and kids really do get through the whole lot of them….and some of them I read aloud…..

The book Flower Garden has such lovely pictures….one of my favorites….
I found these “Peat pots” for $2.00 for a set of 22…..perfect for my classroom. Then I picked out vegetable seeds I wanted to plant indoors to do some “starts” for my own veggie garden.  The kids got to pick 2 kinds of seeds for their “starter” plants.  
Also Planting a Rainbow and The Tiny Seed…..great books for kids.

I gave them the choice of tomato, cucumber, sugar snap peas, radishes, zuchini or cilantro herb.  Most of them picked tomato or sugar snap peas, but we had quite a variety.  I placed them in this grow tray and put a grow light on them.

Their rotation with Mrs. Adams where they did a Plant Journal

And other assorted activities….

The boys liked the Plant and Seeds art project they did in science rotations.

The girls with their labeled parts of a flower….

Plants and seeds are one of my favorites! 
I hope our seeds sprout up very soon….and I better get my own garden started too!   Happy Spring Gardening!!!