Germinate seeds in a plastic bag for a growing plants bulletin board! It’s easy. First, purchase baggies with flaps and seeds. Second, staple a series of baggies to your board. Then add a few seeds with damp paper towel to one baggie daily. Your students (and colleagues) will be astonished!
Ms. Sneed Wants to Germinate Seeds in a Plastic Bag
Our favorite fourth grade teacher sat in the teachers’ lounge with her colleagues. Before she took a bite of her sandwich, she asked, “I’m looking for a fun idea for my life science curriculum. Did anyone ever try to germinate seeds in a plastic bag?”
Mrs. Abdullah looked up from her soup. “Unfortunately, the seeds we taped to our classroom window shriveled then died.”
“We put sunflower seeds in Ziploc baggies, but they molded,” added Mrs. Cordova.
Ms. Sneed looked thoughtful. “That’s actually helpful,” she said. “It sounds like conditions on the window are too extreme. Additionally, zipper bags don’t allow enough circulation.”
Directions for a Growing Plants Bulletin Board
Later that afternoon, Ms. Sneed searched the Internet for ideas. Several pictures showed growing bulletin boards. “Cool!” Fortunately, on one site, she also found some directions.
- 12-16 plastic sandwich bags with flaps, not zippers
- paper towels
- dried beans or corn
- Staple bags to bulletin board.
- Fold paper towels and place inside plastic bags.
- Starting in the upper left-hand corner, label the baggies (Day 1, Day 2, etc.)
- Starting in the lower left-hand corner, moisten one paper towel per day. Add three seeds to the front of the towel so they can be viewed.
- Watch them grow!
How to Prevent Rotting:
- Staple plastic bags so the tops remain slightly open. This allows air to circulate.
- Keep paper towels damp at all times. However, do not allow water to stand in the bottom of the baggies.
- When you see signs of mold, change to a fresh paper towel.
How to Germinate Seeds in a Plastic Bag:
- If seeds are not germinating (or growing), the paper towel may be too dry. Add more water.
- If the paper towel dries completely, seeds may continue to grow. Just add more water.
- To keep seeds growing on consecutive days, pack two baggies, two paper towels, and six seeds for the weekend. Start one set on Saturday and the other on Sunday. Transfer them to the growing bulletin board on Monday.
That evening, Ms. Sneed headed to the grocery store. She found dried bean seeds in the soup aisle. A few rows down, she added a package of sandwich bags with flaps instead of zippers. Then a little farther down she found a roll of absorbent paper towels.
The next day, she stapled 12 baggies to her black bulletin board. Then she folded paper towels in fourths and slid them inside. Next, she labeled each plastic bag.
Finally, she was ready to germinate the first set of seeds. She moistened the paper towel in the baggie at the lower right. Then she placed three beans in front of it.
Just then, the bell rang. As usual, Ms. Sneed’s students noticed something new right away. They hurried to the plants bulletin board right away. Questions fired away:
- What’s this?
- Will these seeds really grow?
- What kind are they?
- Can we keep them until the end of the year?
Ms. Sneed broke into one of her famous teacher smiles. Yep, this would be fun.
The Seeds Grow
As time went on, plants (and excitement) grew in the classroom. Every morning, the students raced to the growing bulletin board to observe the changes. Ms. Sneed noticed increased engagement in the plant activities she planned for her students.
Key Factors in a Growing Plants Bulletin Board
During this time, Mrs. Cordova visited Ms. Sneed’s classroom. “Hey!” she exclaimed. “You were able to germinate seeds in a plastic bag!” She hurried over to the bulletin board and checked it out.
“I found that a few key factors make this display effective,” responded Ms. Sneed. “First, you need to buy baggies with flaps like this.” She pulled out the box and handed one to her friend. “The top of the baggie must be stapled so it’s slightly open to allow air to circulate. Otherwise, the seeds will rot.”
“Second, the paper towel needs to be wet but not dripping. That allows the seeds to germinate. After the first few days, you need to keep it damp, but not with standing water. I use an eye dropper to water them.” She pointed to a shelf near her desk.
“Third, the baggies must be stapled to a bulletin board. Unfortunately, baggies taped to a window can get too hot or cold. Additionally, remember to start in the lower right-hand corner of your bulletin board. That way, the youngest plants will be at the top of the board.”
“Thanks!” said Mrs. Cordova. “I’ll definitely use this for my hydroponics project.”
Includes flower template and germination sequence posters, as well as corresponding activities.