Learning activities/Growing Beans

Notes from Nigeria 5/07

All the children in Primary 4, 5, and 6 were given materials to grow three beans. The idea is to keep a detailed journal of growing methods. Some carry the beans to the school on a daily basis. I saw one girl nursing her beans in her dress pocket..

I took the beans and the cups with a spoon and asked them if they knew what they were for. Since they knew I was going to give [the beans] to them, they paid attention. Some knew that we were going to try to grow them... that they would have to keep a journal of their growing beans... so we can analyze the ones that in a week have survived and those that havenâ€™t. And [the teacher] asked if they had understood and asked questions. Then he repeated the directions and asked for confirmation after every sentence. And the class was over... --Carla Gomez Monroy, Learning Consultant, OLPC

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Commentary: Growing Beans

The Waiting Game - Timelapse of Growing Beans

Once the beans sprout, they get planted and begin to grow. But how fast do they grow? Do plants move on their own and, if so, how ? Let's find out!

But wait! Why not formulate a hypothesis first? Write a description of how you think a bean sprout moves during one day.

On a sunny or partly cloudy day, set the sprouts on window sill or table that receives some direct sunlight. Use Record or Pippy to take one picture every 1, 5, or 15 minutes. A total film time of 3-4 hours shows substantial movement in sunflowers. Two XOs "filming" at right angles to each other (or at least not co-linear) shows the side-to-side movement best. For older students, these "orthogonal" viewpoints could make a great trigonometry lesson about sines, cosines and perspective geometry.

Efficient power use might be achieved by manually trigger each (pair of) photo(s), letting the XO(s) sleep between photos while someone uses stopwatch to keep time. To share the task, use each XO for an hour or less. Before starting, make a chalk, pencil, or tape outline at the corners of the first XOs so the next ones can be positioned identically. The children decide among themselves which XOs to use when, and will need to take notes about the order. When "filming" is finished, the "movie" is made by adding the photographs in the correct order to Cartoon_Builder and then sharing the final result.

Afterwards, write a description of the movie and compare it to the original hypothesis description. Another "integration and creation" activity for the next day could include drawing "flip-book" comics of a growing bean. --Christian Gunning, Albuquerque, NM