The Holidays are over and the weather is now foggy and cold, so it’s time to plan a fun and educational activity for your children. We have planted many seeds with our children, but rarely do we see the root, stem, and leaves forming.

The book, How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan is the inspiration for this activity. A seed is simply a baby plant that has not started to grow. Some seeds grow slowly, such as an oak tree seed. Other seeds grow quickly, like a lima bean seed.

Vocabulary

Seed coat – The “skin” of the seed.
Shoots – The stems of the plant.
Root – The anchor of the plant into the soil so it will not fall over.
Root hairs – The baby roots growing off the main root to bring water and nutrients to the plant.

Supplies

  • 1 egg carton
  • 12 eggshells
  • 12 lima beans
  • Garden or seed soil
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Permanent marker

Let’s get started!

  1. You will need to collect 12 eggshells, breaking them as close to the top of the shell as possible. Discard the smallest part of the shell and wash the biggest part with warm water and soap. Let air dry.
  2. Using a pin or needle, poke a small hole in the bottom of each eggshell.
  3. Put the shells in the carton and gently fill with soil.
  4. Make a finger hole in each eggshell and plant each with 1 lima bean seed and cover with soil.
  5. Spray water on each eggshell.
  6. With a permanent marker, gently number each shell from 1-12.
  7. Set the egg carton near a window that gets lots of sunlight in the afternoon.
  8. Make a journal on 8-1/2 x 11 paper. Number as Day 1, Day 2, etc.

Day-by-day Steps

Usually lima bean seeds will begin growing in three days, but you will not be able to observe this process. Be sure to spray the soil with water daily.

On Day 4, dig up eggshell #1 with a small spoon. It may be soft and fat or may not have changed from the seed you planted. Record your findings under Day 4.

On Day 6, dig up eggshell #2. It should look different. The seedcoat should be loose. Record your findings under Day 6.

On Day 7, dig up eggshell #3. Record your findings under Day 7 (you could see the root).

On Day 8, dig up eggshell #4. You should see roots! Record your findings under Day 8.

On Day 11, dig up eggshell #5. You should see root hairs growing from the big root.
Day after day, the roots keep growing and the bean seed is pushed up through the soil.

Record the days that you see the shoot or stem pushing through the soil and the first leaves on the stem.

Most importantly, have fun with this experiment! What if one of the beans does not grow? No worries, as this does happen often. Sometimes the baby root drops off before the seed can grow. Be sure not to overwater your seeds. The spray bottle works really well.

Once there are two sets of leaves on your lima bean plant, you can transplant (re-plant) it in a small pot. You can place the entire eggshell in the pot and cover with soil. Keep the plant growing until the middle to end of March when you can transplant your lima bean plant in your outside garden!